1st Five Year Plan
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Introduction || APPENDIX (CH-4) || APPENDIX (CH-9) || ANNEXURE (CH-12) || APPENDIX (CH-14) || APPENDIX (CH-24) || APPENDIX (CH-29) || Conclusion
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Chapter 27:

Manganese Ore

31. Manganese is an important material in industry as the metallurgy of iron and steel is dependent upon it for smelting processes. India has fairly large deposits of manganese ore and is one of the chief producers of the mineral. Other important producers are U.S.S.R., Brazil, South Africa and the Gold Coast. Except U.S.S.R., none of the other great industrial countries possess manganese deposits of importance and deposits in India there^e assume special importance.

32. Distribution of deposits—The chief manganese ore deposits are concentrated in a few regions, viz., the districts of Chhindwara, Nagpur, Balaghat and Bhandara in Madhya Pradesh ; Jhabua in Madhya Bharat; Bellary (Sandur) and Visakhapatnam districts in Madras, Shimoga in Mysore ; Panchmahals and certain districts of southern Bombay and a few scattered areas in Bihar and Orissa. Of these, the. largest and the richest are those of Madhya Pradesh yielding ores which are generally high in manganese content.

33. Reserves—The ore bearing region in Madhya Pradesh extends over a length of more than 100 miles from Bhandara through Balaghat and Nagpur to Chhindwara district. The ore bodies are often of large size, but their extension in depth is not known. This lack of information is due to the comparatively small amount of underground mining that has been carried out and the almost complete a lack of drilling to determine the depth. The ores are hard and fine grained and usually high in manganese content, which is over 49 % in most of the ores from Bhandara and Balaghat districts. The phosphorous and iron contents are variable and the latter is usually high—rather too high for the ore to be used straight in blast furnaces for high grade ferro-manganese production. The deposits in Sandur, Mysore and southern Bombay are of low grade and of comparatively small magnitude. The Singhbhum deposits are of small size and irregular nature. Numerous small sized deposits occur in Gangpur, Keonjhar, Bonai, Kalahandi and Koraput areas in Orissa. The quality varies from high to low grade but they possess an advantage in [heir proximity lo [he iron and steel centres Besides, these regions possess a certain amount of luw phosphorous, low iron manganese ore and a certain quantity of ore rich in peroxide for use for chemical ourooses.

There are no reliable estimates of reserves available for any of the deposits. One of the deposits in Madhya Pradesh worked by the Central Provinces Manganese Ore Co. has been proved to contain about 5 million tons of high grade ore. The deposits in Madhya Pradesh were estimated a few years ago to contain about 10 million tons of high grade ore and about 3 million tons of lower grades. On the whole, it may be assumed that the reserves of high grade ore are of the order of 15 to 20 million tons and that of lower grades will amount to about three times the above quantity, -but these figures are only approximate.

34. Production—Mining of manganese began in 1891 and developed rapidly during the early years of the present century. Annual production for the last 40 years has averaged about 600,000 tons and had exceeded the million fon mark in three years. Except for a small fraction of the total production consumed by the Tata Iron and Steel Co., almost the entire production is exported in the raw form. So far, about 30 million tons of ore—much of it high grade—have been exported. Figures of production and export of manganese during the last decade are given in the statement below :

Year Production (tons) Domestic consumption (tons) Exports (tons)
1939-43 average 671,471 74,043 599,616
1944-48 average 362,678 56,495 353,554
[949 645,825 79,264 613,907
1950 882,929 69,325 808,221
1951 1,283,929 88,867 952,000

35. Consumption—Domestic consumption is mostly confined to the steel industry which uses ore for production of ferro-manganese required for steel plants. The table above shows the consumption of manganese ore by the iron and steel industry. A certain amount of manganese ore is consumed in the glass industry and also in the manufacture of dry cells and in the chemical industry. Consumption of manganese ore in industries other than steel are not large. Domestic consumption of manganese ore will go up during the next few years as a result of expansion envisaged in respect of iron and steel production and other industries. It is estimated that domestic requirements will go upto 100,000 tons by 1957-58. There would be no difficulty in meeting the expanded demand.

36. Export policy—As stated above, India occupies a position of importance as a world supplier of this mineral. Taking into account the absence of definite information regarding the extent of reserves and in order to meet the requirements of an expanding iron and steel industry, a policy of strict conservation of reserves is called for. Export control was brought into force late in 1948 and ceiling limits were placed for both high and low grade varieties. Later, for special reasons. Government decided on a policy of export of high grade ores to the extent of i million tons per annum for a temporary period. This policy will be re-examined if it is found by detailed geological investigations that the reserves of high grade ore prove to be smaller than at present estimated.

39. Production and export—The following table gives figures of production and export of chrome ore from India :

  Production tons* Export tons*
1939-43 average 47,524 41,901
1944-48 average 34,552 17,426
1949 19,416 6,382
1950 16,729 3,864
1951 15,802 8,838

It will be noticed that a major part of the production is being exported, practically all of it being high grade ore containing 46 % and above of chromic oxide. Domestic consumption is mostly confined to the manufacture of refractory bricks (chromite bricks) while smaller quantities are used for the manufacture ^of chrome chemicals. There has been no attempt to manufacture ferro-chrome or chromium alloys except on a very small scale by Tatas.

Export of chromite which^was unrestricted till 1948 was brought under control and a ceiling of 10,000 tons was prescribed. In view of the absence of definite information regarding the extent of the reserves, export of high grade ore has been totally banned since June 1951 and low grade ores are being licensed upto a maximum of 10,000 tons a year. Even this policy should be reviewed as soon as more definite information can be gathered about the reserves.

40. Recommendations—A programme ^of detailed mapping (and if necessary, drilling) should be undertaken in the following chromite bearing areas :

  1. Singhbhum (Bihar).
  2. Baula Hills (Orissa).
  3. Ratnagiri (Bombay).
  4. Krishna (Madras).

As reserves of high grade ore available in the country are limited, the Bureau of Mines in conjunction with the National Metallurgical Laboratory should undertake research on the beneficiation of low grade chrome ores from various parts of India.


41. India's r«serves of non-ferrous metals are inadequate with poor resources of copper, lead and zinc and practically no deposit of tin. The following table gives the annual production and consumption in 1950.

  Production tons Consumption tons Percentage of deficiency Value of imports Rs(lakhs)
Copper 6,614 48,391 84% 900
Zinc nil 33,400 100% 523
Lead 629 15,624 96% 20

The cost ot imports ot these three metals amounted in 1950 to Rs. 16 cr res. -The figures include output from Baluchistan up to 1947.

42. Distribution—The most important deposits of copper are found in the Singhbhum copper belt (Singhbhum district, Bihar) about 80 miles in length. Other deposits are in Bhotang near Rangpo (Sikkim), Khetri in Jaipur and Daribo in-Alwar (Rajasthan) ;

Baragunda in Hazaribagh and Barukhi in the Santhal Pargana (Bihar); Belligudda in Chital-drug (Mysore) and in Almora and Tehri-Garhwal (U.P.). There are also smaller deposits like those of Gani in Kurnool, Vinukonda in Guntur and Garimenpenta in Nellore (Madras), Niwar and Sleemanbad in Jubbulpore and Karamsara in Balaghat (Madhya Pradesh) ; in Kangra in the Punjab and in Jammu and Kashmir. No estimates are available of the reserves of copper ore in the deposits mentioned above except in the case of Singhbhum.

There is only one copper producing agency in India, viz.. The Indian Copper Corporation Ltd., with its mines at Mosaboni in the Singhbhum copper belt of Bihar. Chalcopyrite is the chief copper ore worked here.

The following table gives the production of copper ore and copper metal from the Singhbhum deposits during the last ten years :

  Year Copper ore Quantity (Tons) Value Rs. (lakhs) Refined copper (Tons)
1939-43 average 373,244 59-9 6,236
1944-48 average 330,674 70-1 6,066
1949   329,303 40-5 6,390
1950   350 120'2 6,614
1951 308 369,057 194-0 7,083

Lead And Zinc

43. Lead and zinc deposits occur sporadically in several places of which the more promising are those at Zawar in Mewar and Chauthka-Barwara in Jaipur district. Another lead-zinc deposit is in the Riasi district of Kashmir. Of these, the deposits at Zawar were opened up during the last war by the Geological Survey of India and have since been leased to the Metal Corporation of India who began operations in 1945. The total production of lead ore concentrates till 1950 amounted to nearly 6,500 tons. There has also been a small but intermittent production from the deposits in Jaipur, viz., 42 tons from 1945 to 1948 (inclusive). The Metal Corporation of India has recently been granted a loan by the Industrial Finance Corporation to develop the deposits and to make arrangements for stepping up production of lead.

No arrangements have yet been made to smelt and recover the zinc. A committee has recently been set up to examine the question of setting up a zinc spelter industry in the country. The largest use of zinc in the country is in the manufacture of galvanized iron sheets. As the yield from Zawar may be comparatively small, even when the deposits are fully developed, it would be desirable to investigate the possibility of replacing zinc and developing an alternative coating for steel sheets.

44. Recommendations—As the present production of copper barely amounts to 12 to 15% of India's consumption, detailed geological and prospecting operations should be undertaken in the regions indicated below:

  1. The Singhbhum copper belt (Bihar)
  2. Khetri in Jaipur (Rajasthan).
  3. Daribo (Alwar, Rajasthan).
  4. Hazaribagh (Bihar).
  5. Gani (Madras).
  6. Almora and Tehri-Garwal ( U.P.).

Several small occurrences of lead-zinc ores have been noted in several places scattered over the country, and the possibility of some of them containing workable quantities should be investigated. Attention should also be paid to the reported occurrence of tin in the Hazaribagh district of Bihar.


45. Distribution and reserve—Bauxite the chief ore of aluminium is fairly widely distributed in India. The most important occurrences are found in the States of Bombay, Madhya Bharat, Aladhya Pradesh, and Bihar. Some are also found in Orissa, Madras and Kashmir.

No reliable estimates of the reserves are available, though Sir Cyril Fox of the Geological Survey of India considered that the total reserves would be of the order of 250 million tons of all grades. Of this, high grade reserves would probably amount to 35 million tons distributed as follows:—

  million tons
Madhya Pradesh*. 15-10
Eastern States (Orissa) 8.58
Bihar 5-23
Bombay 3-23
Madras 2-00
Kashmir 1-00
Bhopal .25

46. Production and consumption—The following table shows the production of bauxite:—

Year Quantity tons
1939-43 average 14,476
1944-48 average 15.035
1949 42,541
1950 64,399
1951 67,047

In the last two years, the domestic aluminium industry has been consuming annually about 20,000 tons of bauxite which is less than 50% of the country's production. The greater part of the production is being used in the manufacture of alum, high alumina cement, refractories and in the refining of petroleum. Metallic aluminium was first produced in India in 1943 but from imported alumina. Since then two companies have been producing aluminium and the alumina required for its manufacture is now produced from Indian bauxite. The two companies used in 1951 a total of about 19,000 tons for this purpose. The output of metallic aluminium since 1943 is given below:

Year Tons Year Tons
1943 1,272 1948 3,368
1944 1,723 1949 3.491
1945 2,254 1950 3,594
1946 3,248 1951 3,849
1947 3,223

The production meets only a part of the country's demand as will be seen from the fact that during the last three years, imports have averaged 10,000 tons valued at Rs. 2^ crores a year. The consumption indicated by these figures is probably an underestimate of the country's requirements. It is estimated that the demand in the next few years would be of the order of 15,000 to 20,000 tons per annum. Both the manufacturing units have schemes for expansion of their capacity by 3,000 tons and there are proposals for an additional reduction plant with a capacity of 10,000 tons to be located in Orissa. These expansions, when they take place, will mean a demand for 45,000 tons of bauxite by 1955-56; this can be easily met by the industry.

47. Recommendations—(i) The deposits should be carefully investigated so that reliable estimates of reserves can be made, and the characteristics of the ore from each large deposit determined.

(ii) The use of bauxite for the manufacture of refractories and abrasives should be examined in the laboratory by the Bureau of Mines in collaboration with the Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute.


48. Large deposits of magnesite, which is -used in the manufacture of magnesium salts, metallic magnesium and refractory bricks are known to occur in a number of places in Salem (Madras) ; Hassan, Mysore (Mysore) ; Almora (U.P.) ; Coorg ; Idar (Bombay) ; Dungarpur (Rajasthan) ; and Singhbhum (Bihar). Of these, the chief producing areas are Salem, Hassan and Mysore.

The deposits in the Salem district have been estimated to contain over 90 million tons within a depth of 100 ft. from the surface. The Almora deposits are supposed to contain a minimum of 20 million tons. With regard to other deposits no information is available.

The output and export of magnesite during the last few years from Salem and Mysore are given in the following table :

Year Output Export
Quantity tons Value Rs. Quantity tons Value Rs.
1939-43 average 42,885 3,26,958 11,435 9,49,913
1944-48 average 42,983 5,85,330 10,549 9,67,150
1949 90,564 15,53,456 37,099 24,84,012
1950 52,859 10,87,349 16,465 24,37,114
1951 117,071 17,78,134 46,409 43,94,533

Only a part of the output is used in the manufacture of refractory bricks for steel works and a considerable quantity is exported. There is scope for using magnesite in the manufacture of oxychloride cement and as a raw material for the manufacture of metallic magnesium. Research should also be undertaken with a view to utilizing the low grade magnesite and chromite rock for refractories instead of high grade magnesite now used for the purpose.


49. Mica is a mineral of strategic importance because of its perfect cleavage, flexibility, infusibility, high heat and electrical insulation and high di-electric strength, a combination of qualities not possessed by any other natural material. The chief demand for mica comes from the electrical industry, while in powder form after grinding to a suitable size, it is also used as a 'filler' in various industries.

India is one of the important sources of sheet (block) mica producing between 70 and 80% of the total block mica output of the world. The splitting of mica is done by hand and has so fai defied attempts at mechanisation on a commercial scale and India holds a dominant position in the "splittings" trade. The mica industry of the country depends largely on the export market, the domestic consumption being small.

Commercially, two varieties of mica are important—muscovite or potash mica and phlogopite or magnesian mica. Most of the deposits in India produce the muscovite variety ; phlogopite is available in comparatively small quantities from a few places mainly in Travancore. Both the varieties are used for electrical insulation, the best qualities being used for high tension electrical work.

50. Distribution—The principal mica deposits are concentrated in three regions, viz., Bihar, Rajasthan (including Ajmer-Merwara) and Madras, while in recent years, its occurrence has been reported from other parts of India also. In Bihar, which is the largest producer, they are found in the districts of Hazaribagh, Gaya and Monghyr, forming what is called the " Bihar mica belt". This region is about 60 to 80 miles long and about 12 to 16 miles wide and produces the well-known " ruby" mica which is in great demand all over the world. Bihar produces about 60% of the Indian output. Sheet mica from this region is noted for its large size and flatness.

The deposits in Rajasthan occur in Ajmer-Merwara, Udaipur, Kishangarh, Jaipur and Tonk. Most of these deposits are still in an early stage of development and are likely to become more important when intensive prospecting and mining are undertaken. At present, Rajasthan is responsible for about 25% of the Indian production. Most of the production from Rajasthan is sent to Bihar to be split and marketed.

Mica deposits are found in Madras at several places, the most important being those of the Nellore district where there is a " mica belt" about 40 miles long and 5 to 10 miles wide. The greater portion of Madras production is of the variety known as " green" mica. Smaller deposits occur in Visakhapatnam, West Godavari, Salem, Nilgiri, Madura and Coimbatore districts and in the States of Travancore and Mysore.

On account of the irregular disposition of the mineral in the rock, it is not possible to indicate the size of the reserves of mica in any of the above mentioned regions. Most of the workings are either open cast quarries or shallow mines and the deepest mica mines in Bihar and Madras are stated to be only about 600 ft. deep. Judging by present indications, it can be safely stated that there are untapped reserves which will run for many decades at the present rate of production.

51. Production and export—Statistics of mica production are not quite satisfactory and export figures are always in excess of production figures. The reasons for this wide discrepancy between the production and export figures may be explained as due to :

  1. export trade in stolen mica which does not appear in the returns of production ;
  2. export of mica recovered from dumps, scraps and waste which are not reported ; and
  3. sale of crude mica by small producers direct to dealers who do not submit any returns.

Since the bulk of the production is exported, export figures may be taken as a more reliable index of the output.The annual value of the mica exports during the last decade was of the order of Rsi i^ to 3 crores. This has gone up during the last two years as a result of large purchases by the Government of the U.S.A. for stockpiling purposes. The quantity and value of mica exported from India- are given below:

    Blocks Splittings Total (Including waste and scrap)
Average of 1940-41 to 1946-47 'ooo Cwts 26-9 103-9 153-8
Rs. (lakhs) 110-0 149'9 261-0
1947-48 'ooo Cwts 14-9 174-8 255-2
  Rs. (lakhs) 128-0 433-5 565-1
1948-49 'ooo Cwts 12-1 200-r 340-2
  Rs. (lakhs) 83-6 502-8 593-7
1949-50 'ooo Cwts 8-8 207-5 297-7
  Rs. (lakhs) 95-2 584-0 684-5
1950-51 'ooo Cwts 20-6 238-6 383-4
  Rs. (lakhs) 177-4 773-7 958-5

It will be seen from the above table that splittings form the larger part of the export and have during the last two years contributed more.than 80% of the value of exports. This increase in quantity and more especially in the value of exports has been occasioned by the stockpiling by the U. S. A. and cannot be taken as an index of the normal demand.

52. Mining—Mica mining is mostly a small scale operation and as indicated earlier, most of the workings are open cast quarries or shallow mines. Of a total of about 600 mica mining lessees, the majority are people with limited financial resources, who have to sell their mica to middlemen immediately after it is mined in order to obtain money to continue their mining operations. There has, therefore, been no incentive to adopt systematic mining operation or to employ qualified managers and this results in considerable wastage. Steps are being taken by the Ministry of Labour to make compulsory the appointment of qualified managers in mica mines also.

53. Grading and classification—Mica is used in industry practically in its natural form except for trimming, splitting and cuttin.g to shape. Mica splittings and films, are however made into sheets or applied to cloth with a suitable binder and pressed into suitable shapes, the former being known as micanite. The mica thus prepared is graded according to size and classified according to quality. While the measurement of electrical properties and grading of mica can be done mechanically, the quality classification is to a large extent a matter of judgment. Though the mica trade is conducted on the basis of samples, the personal factor involved in quality classification frequently leads to strong difference of opinion between the buyer and the seller. To obviate this a system of international standards and machinery for arbitration would be needed and the Indian Standards Institution have drafted one such, which has to be approved by the International Standards Institution (since the mica industry is almost entirely dependent on export). It is expected that these standards will be finalised shortly at a meeting of the International Standards Organisation.

54. Utilisation—No figures relating to consumption of mica in India are available, but on a rough guess it may be placed at about 7,000 Ibs. a year. This is shared by railways, electric supply undertakings and iron and steel companies. The power projects under construction and those under contemplation will increase the demand for mica splittings and mica blocks if they lead to an extension of the manufacture of electrical machinery and equipment. Even this increased demand will, however, be a small fraction of the total production and there will be no difficulty in meeting it.

Large quantities of micanite or built-up mica are consumed in the electrical equipment industry and the bulk of this has to be imported as domestic production is very negligible. The possibility of setting up an adequate micanite industry which would meet the country's requirements of this material remains to be investigated.

A large quantity of mica is thrown away as waste in the mining and trimming of mica and dumped near the mines and factories. It is possible to reclaim this by grinding it by the wet or dry process and then using the ground mica as a ' filler ' in various industries. The possibilities of setting up a mica grinding industry should be explored.

55. Recommendations—(z) The mica bearing areas in Bihar and Madras are fairly well known, but no detailed geological maps have yet been made. Detailed geological work is likely to bring to light new occurrences particularly in Rajasthan.

  1. The Bureau of Mines in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory should undertake research for studying the properties of mica produced from different areas and also for the classification of mica on its electrical properties. Investigations may also be directed towards devising an economic method for the manufacture of micanite and for grinding mica.
  2. The possibility of setting up a Central Marketing Board for Mica as recommended by the Mica Enquiry Committee (1945) should be explored. This will reduce complaints by foreign purchasers about the quality of mica shipments.


56. Gypsum ranks next to coal and iron as a mineral of great importance in the industrial economy of the country. Before the second world war, it was used mostly as a raw material in the production of cement and plaster of Paris. It has now gained in importance as a raw material in the manufacture of ammonium sulphate, an important fertiliser. It can be used as a source of sulphuric acid. With the setting up of a fertiliser factory at Sindri, increasing attention is being paid to deposits available in India.

57. Distribution—Gypsum deposits are known to exist in several parts of India. The more well-known gypsum-bearing regions are in Rajasthan and in South India, but smaller deposits occur also in Tehri-Garhwal, Himachal Pradesh and parts of western India. The latter have not been fully explored yet.

With few exceptions, gypsum in India occurs mostly in thin beds, veins, lenses and as isolated clusters of crystals in various formations. Anhydrite, a common associate of gypsum has not been noticed in the known gypsum deposits in India.

  1. Rajasthan—The most important deposits are in the Jodhpur, Bikaner and Jaisalmer divisions of the State. They vary in thickness from a few inches to i oft. and over. Reserves have been roughly estimated to exceed 40 million tons. Detailed investigations of the deposits are not yet over.
  2. Madras—Gypsum in thin veins varying in thickness from a fraction of an inch to 6 or 7 inches and associated with clays occurs in the Tiruchirapalli district. The reserves of gypsum in the gypsum-bearing clays in this area have been estimated at 15-3 million tons to a depth of 50 ft. but the working of this gypsum is likely to be attended by a large percentage of loss. Thin beds of gypsum also occur in recent marine silts within a depth of 3 or 4 ft. in an area of over 100 sq. miles near Sulurpet, Nellore district. The total area may contain well over" i million tons.Gypsum in veins and thin beds and as crystals distributed in sedimentary strata is also found in Saurashtra and Kutch. The reserves are estimated at 6-4 million tons.
  3. Northern India—Small deposits of gypsum as pockets and thin beds are also known to occur in the Dehra Dun, Nainital and Tehri-Garhwal regions of Uttar Pradesh. The reserves are estimated at about 200,000 tons. Among the other deposits -are those in the Sirmur district of Himchal Pradesh, which are estimated to contain about i million tons, and small deposits in Bhutan, Kashmir and Rewa (Vindhya Pradesh) for which no estimates of the reserves are available.

The following table gives the reserves of gypsum in different parts of India. It should be noted that in most cases, the total workable depth or the lateral extent of the deposits has not been ascertained. In some deposits all the estimated reserves may not be economically available. The following estimates of reserves by the Geological Survey of India are only approximate:

Area Reserves (Million tons)
Rajasthan :  
(a) Bikaner 20-0
(b) Jodhpur 16-0
(c) Jaisalmer 4-0
Kutch 2-0
Saurashtra 8-5
Madras :  
(a) Tiruchirapalli 15-3
(b) Sulurpct (Nellore) . 0-I
Northern India  
(a) U. P. hill ranges 0'2
(i) Sirmur (Himachal Pradesh) 10
total 67.1

58. Production and consumption—The annual production from Indian deposits from 1939 to 1950 is given below.:—

1939-43 average 60,340
1944-48 average 65,082
1949 139.944
1950 206,366
195l 203,602

At present, the annual estimated consumption of gypsum is about 94,000 tons for cement manufacture and about 2,000 to 3,000 tons for plaster of Paris. When the Sindri Fertiliser Factory comes into full production shortly, it is expected to require annually about 600,000 tons of gypsum. About 37,500 tons of gypsum are required for the manufacture of ammonium sulphate by the Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd., Travancore. In addition, increase in cefnent production envisaged in the Plan will also increase the demand for gypsum. The estimated demand for gypsum in 1.955-56 is given in the table below :

(In thousand tons)

1950-51 1951-52 1955-56
Cement 94 "5 160
Fertilisers 11 12 690
Sulphuric acid 14
total 105 127 870

It will be seen from the above that the demand for gypsum will increase considerably in the next few years. At present gypsum mining is entirely confined to small quarrying operations. But when the Sindri Fertiliser Factory comes into full-scale production, mining will have to be conducted on a larger scale and mechanisation may become necessary both in mining and transport.

59. Recommendations—(i) Search for gypsum in different parts of India will have to be continued. Systematic field investigations aided by drilling should be undertaken in the known gypsum areas of Rajasthan. This will have to be undertaken by the Geological Survey of India in association with other interested agencies, (ii) Attention will also have to be given to the possibility of recovering gypsum from salt pans.


60. Sulphur, a mineral of strategic importance, occurs in nature in the form of native sulphur and also in combination in the form of pyrites (iron sulphide) and other metallic sulphides and as sulphates, e.g., gypsum, anhydrite.

61. Distribution—Native sulphur in deposits of large size is unknown in India, though recently some occurrences have come to light in the hill ranges to the north of India and small deposits of native sulphur produced by bacterial action on sulphates derived from sea-water have been found in the coastal tract of Masulipatam (Krishna district of Madras) and also in the Barren Island. Deposits of pyrites are more widespread and are found in Kashmir, at Taradevi near Simla, at Amjor near Rohtas in Bihar, Karwar in Bombay and in the Chitaldrug area of Mysore. There are substantial quantities of pyrites associated with the gold deposits ofWynad in the Nilagiri district of Madras. Most of the copper deposits, e.g. in Bihar, Sikkim, Rajasthan etc., also occur in the form of copper pyrites. Some of the Indian coals, e.g. Assam coal and Rewa coal are high in sulphur. These coals may be considered as a source of sulphur if it can be economically recovered. The Fuel Research Institute is investigating this. No detailed estimates are available of the quantities of sulphur and pyrites in the deposits mentioned above. Investigations are, however, in progress to assess the quantity and quality of pyrites available at Amjor and Karwar. Quantities of sulphur estimated to be of the order of 5,000 to 6,000 tons per year escape into the air in the roasting of copper ores at the Indian Copper Corporation's works in Bihar. The question of recovery of the sulphur as such- or its conversion into sulphuric acid is under consideration.

62. Consumption of sulphur—As there is no production of sulphur in India, the country's requirements have to be met by imports from abroad. The imports of sulphur during the last few years is given in the table below :

Year Quantity tons Value Rs. (lakhs)
1941 29,400 54-00
1945 9,900 i6-88
1946 52,300 105-73
1947 29,800 44'32
1948 38,300 61-65
1949 41-000 50-00
1950 55,000 110-00
1951 38,507 121-48

It will be seen that during the last three years, the value of imports has averaged about Rs. 100 lakhs.

The present annual requirements of sulphur for all purposes is estimated at 65,000 tons, but actual consumption is limited by scarcity of supplies to 50,000 tons. The major consumer of sulphur is the sulphuric acid industry whose output has increased from about 25,000 tons in 1939 to a little more than 100,000 tons in 1950. The demand for sulphuric acid will, it is estimated, increase to about 215,000 tons by 1955-56. The requirements by 1955-56 of sulphur for sulphuric acid and for other purposes is estimated at about 85,000 tons.

63. Recommendations—(i) In view of the importance of sulphur and the absence in India of deposits of natural sulphur, it is necessary to undertake a thorough examination of the known sources and possible sources. The deposits at Amjor (Bihar), Taradevi (Simla), Chitaldrug (Mysore) and Polur (Madras) should be investigated in detail.

(1) Wherever possible, use of native sulphur should be substituted by pyrites or other alternative raw materials.

(ii') The question of recovery of sulphur from the smelting works of the Indian Copper Corporation, the Metal Corporation of India and of other plants roasting metallic sulphides should also be pursued.

(iii) The question of using gypsum as a raw material for the manufacture of sulphuric add should be considered to the extent possible.

(iv) The Fuel Research Institute should conduct research into desulphurisation of coals pf Assam and other high sulphur coals and imp the commercial recovery of sulphur,mineral development

64. In the foregoing sections an attempt has been made to set out the urgent work remaining to be done in respect of mineral development including exploration, estimation of reserves, improvement of mining, collection and organisation of statistics and research into the beneficiation and utilisation of minerals.

The Government organisations mainly concerned in the execution of this programme are :

  1. The Geological Survey of India ;
  2. The Indian Bureau of Mines ; and
  3. The National Laboratories like the Fuel Research Institute, the National Metallurgical Laboratory and the Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute.

The Geological Survey Of India

65. The Geological Survey of India is mainly concerned with geological mapping and mineral exploration, investigation of groundwater, examination of dam sites and other engineering aspects of geology. The execution of the programme of mineral development would need expansion of this organisation and this has been provided for.

India has obtained the services of three experts under the Point Four Programme. It will be desirable to make every effort to retain the specialists for a minimum period of three years so that full advantage may be taken of their experience in the training of junior officers.

66. Mention has been made in the sections dealing with different minerals of the investigations that have to be undertaken during the five year period. A number of investigations will have to proceed simultaneously to the extent possible with the personnel and resources at command.

The Indian Bureau Of Mines

67. The duties of the Bureau of Mines include the inspection of mines for the improvement of mining methods and conservation of minerals, the proving and estimation of reserves by detailed prospecting and drilling, collection and dissemination of detailed statistics of the mineral industry, advising Government on all matters relating to development of minerals and grant of mineral concessions, undertaking research for the utilisation of low grade minerals, recovery of useful constituents and upgrading of minerals.

For the discharge of these functions the Bureau of Mines should be strengthened adequately and provision has been made for this.

68. In addition to inspection of mines for enforcing systematic working, ensuring conservation and adoption of suitable processes for upgrading of low grade ores, the Bureau of Mines will have to undertake during the five year period the following work :

(i) Drilling for coal, iron ore, manganese ore, chromite, bauxite, copper and lead and zinc in connection with the proving of resources in collaboration with the Geological Survey of India.

(ii) Collection of statistics and data on the present status and requirements of the mining industry, and specially of :

  1. production of different minerals by grades,
  2. stocks at the beginning of each year,
  3. distribution according to regions within the country and according to destination of export,
  4. cost of production for comparison of the economics of mining in different areas ;
  5. mineral markets in India and abroad,
  6. trends in international mineral trade,
  7. consumption of minerals, both domestic and imported, in various industries ;
  8. productivity of mining labour, and
  9. mineral tariffs and taxes and their effect on the mining industry.

The National Research Laboratories

69. Three National Laboratories, the Fuel Research Institue, the National Metallurgical Laboratory and the Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute are closely connected with research >on minerals and they have to undertake the following lines of research ,

(2) The Fuel Research Institute

  1. Physical and chemical survey of all coal seams which are now being worked. This work is already under way and three regional coal survey stations have been established and funds have been allotted both for capital and recurring expenditure ;
  2. Coal washing and blending—The blending work is being done by the coal blending and coking sub-committee at Jamshedpur with 50% contribution from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research ;
  3. Production of coke from weakly coking coals ;
  4. Low temperature carbonisation, hydrogenation and desulphurisation of Assam and other high sulphur coals
  5. Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and gasification of coals , and (/) Briquetting methods.

Practically all this work has to be carried out on a semi-pilot plant scale. It is suggested that the Fuel Research Institute should be financed adequately from the proposed consolidated cess on coal production.

(ii) The National Metallurgical Laboratory

  1. Beneficiation of metallic ores (in collaboration with the Bureau of Mines). An ore dressing section has already been organised and work is in progress ;
  2. Manufacture of zirconium, titanium, magnesium etc., and investigation of their alloys. (This work is already included in the Metallurgical Laboratory's programme.)

(iii) The Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute

  1. Investigation of .available raw materials for the manufacture of high grade and optical glasses and refractories. Work on the availability of sands and clays of suitable quality is in progress ;
  2. Investigation of the properties and suitability of available raw materials in relation to the production of ceramic wares, glazes etc. This work is also in progress in collaboration with the Geological Survey of India ; and
  3. Manufacture of alumina and zirconia refractories and insulators ; the Institute has to be equipped for the testing of insulators.

Co-ordination OF mineral development AND research

70. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Scientific Research have on the recommendations of the Planning Commission set up a Technical Co-ordination Committee (with representatives from all these organisations) to co-ordinate the work of these organisations. The Committee will meet from time to time to review the progress of the work of these organisations and advise the Ministry to adopt their activities towards the achievement of the objects of the Five Year Plan outlined above.

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