“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers…

An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.

“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers……….
An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.

The Knowledge Library

INDIAN MINES AND MINERAL WEALTH

Mineral Belts of India

    • The Chotanagpur Belt:
      • This region contains almost 100% of kyanite reserves, 93% of iron ore, 84% coal, and 70% of chromite of the country.
    • The Midland Belt:
      • This belt sprawls over the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra. This belt is rich in manganese, bauxite, mica, copper, graphite, limestone, lignite, marble, and limestone.
    • The Southern Belt:
      • It stretches over the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. This belt is rich in gold, iron ore, chromite, manganese, lignite, mica, bauxite” gypsum, asbestos, dolomite, china-clay, and limestone.
    • The Western Belt:
      • This belt stretches over the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat,and Maharashtra. The belt is rich in non-ferrous metals.
    • The South – Western Belt:
      • This belt sprawls over Goa, Karnataka, and Kerala. It contains the deposits of iron ore.
    • The Himalayan Belt:
      • In general, the Himalayan belt is poor in metallic minerals.
    • The Indian Ocean:
      • The continental shelf of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal are rich in mineral oil and natural gas.
      • The seabed also contains high-grade nodules (polymetallic nodules) of manganese, phosphate, barium, aluminum, silicon, and iron. The best quality nodules are found at a depth of about 4000 meters.

Introduction

  Indian metallic and non-metallic mineral wealth:

  1.  Iron
  2.  Manganese
  3.  Copper
  4.  Mica
  5.  Chromite

    Energy reserves:

  1.  Coal
  2.  Petroleum
  3.  Uranium
  4.  Thorium

Correlation between shield regions and metallic mineral regions:

  1.  Shield region: Aravalli, Singhbhum, Dharwad

Metal mines: Chotanagpur and Dharwad plateau

Coal reserves are located around the rift valleys like Damodar, Mahanadi, and Godavari.

Petroleum reserves are located along the Saurashtra shelf, KG basin, Bengal Bangladesh shelf, and Brahmaputra shelf.

India has 22 refineries 17 are public sector, 3 are private and 2 are a joint ventures. India imports crude oil and exports petroleum products. India’s refining capacity is more than the demand.

Mineral regions:

  1.  Peninsula – bauxite
  2.  Himalayas – anthracite coals, limestone
  3.  Coastal areas – salt, thorium

The mineral-rich belt in India has five locations:

  1.  Chotanagpur plateau
  •  Kyanite, iron, chromium, mica, and coal.
  •  Assam petroleum reserve.
  1. Chattisgarh region
  •  Iron, limestone, and coalfield in Godavari – Wardha belt
  1. Southern belt – East Karnatak + AP
  •  Iron – Bellary
  •  Lignite – Neyveli
  •  Mica, lignite, coal – Nellore
  1. Southwest belt
  •  Iron – Ratnagiri, Goa, Dharwad
  1. Northwest belt
  •  Petroleum – Rajasthan, and Gujarat
  •  Pyala lake – depression in the desert filled with water. When water dries salt and minerals are left.

Types of Iron ore:

  1. Magnetite : electronic industries [70% – iron]
  2.  Hematite : iron and steel industries [2nd largest producer after Russia] [ 65% – iron]
  3.  Limonite : pigment for manufacture of paints [50% – iron]
  4.  Siderite : source of manganese and magnesium

Iron reserves are located in:

  1.  Jharkhand – Hazaribag, Singhbhum
  2.  Odessa
  3.  Maharashtra – Ratnagiri
  4.  Goa
  5.  Karnataka- Bellary, Chitradurga
  6.  Chattisgarh – Bailadila

Manganese:

  1. Jharkhand – all iron-producing regions, Chaibasa – biggest
  2. MP – Balaghat

Mica:

 Odessa – Kodarma [largest in the world]

Uranium:

NPCIL extracts uranium and processes it to get a yellow cake which is magnesium diurnate. Yellowcake is then processed to uranium dioxide in Hyderabad [nuclear fuel complex]. NFC sends it to all reactors.

India’s three-step nuclear program:

Nuclear reactions:

  1.  Fission: U-235 is hit by a neutron and it breaks into barium, krypton, and energy also neutrons are released. This is the reaction of nuclear reactors, and atom bombs.

Natural uranium is 99.3% fertile i.e. U-238 and 0.7% fissile i.e. U-235. The fissile element has the ability to fission in an excited state. The fertile has to be converted to fissile by adding neutron i.e. Pl-239.

TABLE 1: INDIAN REACTORS

Heavy water reactor Light water reactors

 

Natural uranium as fuel Fissile uranium as a fuel
Coolant is deuterium oxide

[collides neutrons and hydrogen and slows them down, this induces future fission’s]

Coolant is distilled water

[absorbs more neutrons than needed and so enrichment of uranium necessary frequently]

By product is plutonium, tritium By product is plutonium, tritium
Frequent refueling, less heat generated More energy/unit; expensive enrichment

Criticality of Reactions:

If more than one neutron is available for collision then the reactor is super-critical; if only one is available then critical and less than one means sub-critical. To reduce the rate of reaction a neutron absorbent like boron or cadmium is inserted.

Thorium is present in the largest quantities in India. It is used in thorium-based reactors to get energy.

India’s three-step nuclear program:

        Step 1: P.H.W.R use uranium + D2O to get plutonium + energy

        Step 2: Fast Breedor Reactors use plutonium + uranium oxide to get U-233 + energy

        Step 3: Thorium based reactors use Thorium+U-233 to get energy

BARC processes used fuel in P.H.W.R to get reactor-grade plutonium for fast breeder reactors. FBR use liquid sodium as a coolant and produce more fuel than they consume. FBR to be at kalpakkam.

Thorium-based reactors can be constructed only after the successful operation of  FBR for 30-40 years.

Nuclear liability law in India:

  1. Required for US companies to get insurance in their countries.
  2. Supplier of defective parts can be sued for damages by the operator [N.P.C.I.L]
  3. The problem with the law in India is a signatory to the international convention for supplementary compensation [I.C.S.C] that doesn’t allow this. Private parties may not have the capacity to bear such damages. But this shall save taxpayers money in case of nuclear calamities.
  4. To counter this deadlock the nuclear insurance pool was created with Rs.1500 crore by government and state-owned insurance. Now suppliers need to pay the premium. The pool will cater to operators and suppliers.
  5. In case of damage, the pool will be used to cater to victims, the government will bear the additional liability of Rs.1100 crore and additional liability shall be borne by I.C.S.C.

Fusion:

Hydrogen atoms merge to form helium and enormous energy is released. This is the principle for hydrogen bombs and energy from the sun.

Indian coal:

  1. It is the Gondwana formation. Not coking coal or metallurgical coal
  2. It has high ash fusion temperature
  3. It has low sulfur content and high ash content.
  4. It has a low calorific value.

Problems:

  1. Low and good-quality coal is found together. this leads to selective mining which is wasteful
  2. Not enough high-grade coking coal and imports are needed
  3. Washing, dressing, and blending of coal are needed as by washing the ash content goes down and transportation is easier.
  4. Opencast mining leads to pollution and smuggling
  5. Deep mining techniques are primitive so high casualty
  6. Coalfields contain coal bed methane but no policy for allowing joint exploration of both. Hence methane allowed to escape is wasteful.
  7. Poor connectivity of coal to consumer locations. The productivity of mines is less as the output per man shift is less than that of developed countries.

Coal Gasification:

It is a technique of extracting coal from deep, unrecoverable mines where manual mining is costly or impossible.

Two wells are dug:

  1. Injection well: water + oxygen + gasification agent pumped from one well.
  2. Production well: Synthetic gas comes out.

Advantages:

  1. Synthetic gas is used for generating electricity, making fertilizers and hydrogen
  2. Toxic wastes remain underground
  3. Less water is needed than in conventional mining and hydraulic fracking.

Natural Gas

  • It is found in sedimentary rocks where other hydrocarbons are trapped. It is either found alongside other hydrocarbons like crude oil or alone.
  • Constituents:
  • 1.      Methane – major constituent
  • 2.      Propane
  • 3.      Butane
  • 4.      Ethane
  • 5.      Hydrogen sulfide – waste
  • Propane and butane are used in LPG.
  • It needs airtight trucks for storage and leak-proof pipes for transport. This increases capital costs. Natural gas occupies four times the space of a gasoline-equivalent substance. In India, natural gas exists alongside oil. No exclusive reserves are found and sometimes natural gas has to be re-injected into the field to get the oil to come to the surface.
  •  LNG terminals – NG is liquefied and then transported long distances. Liquefaction plant is in exporting country and re-gasification in importing countries.
  • Tight gas sands:
  • They are present in the deep sedimentary sands. The reservoirs have no natural fractures so the hydraulic fracturing technique is used to extract gas. Initially, drilling is done where a fluid is injected by which the gas comes to the wells.  Gas requires an expensive transport network in terms of pipes.
  • Cross border pipelines:
  • 1. Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India [TAPI] – the pipeline passes through hostile regions. The international agency is not willing to take responsibility to lay the pipeline. Since Turkmen law doesn’t allow that agency to get a stake in the gas field that shall feed the pipeline.
  •  2. Iran Pakistan India [IPI] – Iran constructed a pipeline on its part and gave a loan to Pakistan for the construction of the pipeline. But due to US sanctions on Iran, the loan was canceled. This pipeline passes through the hostile region of Baluchistan and the supply of gas can be cut off by Pakistan anytime.
  • 3. A deep-sea pipeline from India to Iran is also being discussed. Another gas pipeline via Russia and Central Asia via the TAPI line to India is in the discussion.

                                            

 

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KAUSIK CHAKRABORTY

KAUSIK CHAKRABORTY

Founder Director

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