Mineral Resources and Associated Problems

Mineral resources are the one , from which usable material are extracted economically from the concentrated elements, compounds, minerals or rocks from the earth. Minerals are site specific  and finite. Minerals are naturally occurring chemical compounds formed through inorganic processes under the crust of the earth. Their presence in the Earth’s crust is the result of geological processes operating over a long period of time. The distribution of these minerals resources is uneven throughout the Earth. India is rich in 35 minerals such as iron, aluminum, manganese, chromium, limestone, mica, etc. Minerals have important contributions in the economic & industrial development of a country.

Types of Minerals

  • Metallic Minerals – Pure Metals are obtained by chemical process. 11 metallic minerals are available in India. Ex. Iron, copper, gold, bauxite, manganese, etc.
  • Non-Metallic Minerals – Used in their naturally occurring state. 52 non metallic minerals are found in India. Ex. limestone, manganese, mica, gypsum, coal, dolomite, phosphate, salt, granite, etc.
  • Fuel Minerals – Are utilized as fuel. Ex Coal, Petroleum, Natural Gas, etc.

Types of Mining

Surface Mining

  • A mine in which ore lies near the surface & can be extracted by removing the covering layers of the rock & soil.
  • Almost all surface mining operations are exposed to the elements & require no roof support.
  • EX. Coal, Copper, Iron, Crushed Stone, Aluminum etc.

Sub Surface mining

  • Digging tunnels or shafts into the Earth to reach ore deposits.
  • Ore, for processing, & waste rock, for disposal, are brought to the surface through the tunnels & shafts.
  • EX. Natural Gas, Petroleum


  • Mining is hazardous occupation
  • Rapid depletion of high grade minerals
  • Wastage of upper soil layer and vegetation
  • Environmental problems
  • Productive land into mining and industrial areas.
  • Air, water and land pollution.
  • Consumption of energy resources like coal, petroleum, natural gas etc.
  • Directly degrades the fertile soil surface thus effect ecology and climate.


  • Deforestation and desertification
  • Extinction of species
  • Rapid depletion of high grade minerals
  • Forced migration
  • Wastage of upper soil layer and vegetation
  • Soil erosion and oil depletion
  • Ozone depletion
  • Greenhouse gas increase
  • Environmental pollution
  • Natural hazards


India produces as many as 86 metals & minerals. u80 % of mining in India is for coal. India has over 3500 legal mines. Illegal mines is the major problem in the country. i.e.180000. Over 1 million people are employed in this industry. Mining has adversely affected biodiversity, ecosystem, local culture, and community.

CASE STUDY : Bauxite deposits of Kolhapur

It was started in 1968 by Kolkata based Indian Aluminum Company, later became HINDALCO. Bauxite and laterite from aquifers in ground water thus change the ground water conditions. It cause loss of vegetation. Rehabilitation and afforestation is essential.


  • Afforestation on mining site.
  • Formation of contour trenches in mining site.
  • Formation of green belt along the roads.
  • Parks & gardens in the township area & green belt around it is developed.