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Metallic Minerals – Definition, Types, Ores, Examples

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  • Last Updated : 29 Mar, 2022
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Minerals are inorganic compounds found naturally on the soil as well as components in food required for healthy living. They feature an organized internal structure, crystalline formations, and distinct chemical compositions. They are necessary for humans for a variety of reasons, including immune system health, bone, brain, heart, and muscle function, hormone synthesis, glucose management, and nervous system signal transmission. They help us go through our daily tasks more quickly and use other nutrients by collaborating with them, and they are found in everyday products such as pottery, jewellery and cosmetics.

There are around 2,000 minerals are known elements on Earth, yet this figure is debatable since some believe there are more, while others believe there may be less owing to research concerns. 

Types of Minerals

  • Non-Metallic Minerals: Non-metallic minerals include limestone, mica, coal, gypsum, dolomite, phosphate, salt, manganese, granite, and others. They are utilised in a number of sectors to manufacture a wide range of goods. They are most commonly found in sedimentary rocks, which arise as a result of the aggregation of diverse components such as minerals, biological remnants, rock particles, and so on. Non-metals are minerals (Non-metallic minerals) that are not often used as a raw materials for metal extraction. The category of non-metals, which is found in a wide range of minerals, is economically significant. Non-metallic minerals have no gloss or sparkle. Non-metallic minerals are excellent electrical and thermal insulators. For example, mica in the electrical industry and limestone in the cement business. They are also utilised in the manufacture of fertilizers and refractory materials.
  • Metallic Minerals: Metallic minerals are those containing one or more metals. In general, they exist as mineral deposits and are excellent conductors of heat and electricity, such as iron, copper, gold, bauxite, and manganese. They are malleable and ductile, they may readily be hammered into thin sheets or stretched into wires to create new items. They are most commonly found in igneous rocks generated by the cooling and solidification of lava or magma. Because metallic minerals are often hard and have a gleaming surface, certain of them can be utilised as jewels in jewellery. They are also utilised in a variety of sectors for diverse reasons, such as silicon, which is obtained from quartz, is widely used in the computer business; and aluminium, which is obtained from bauxite, is used in the car and bottling industries.
  • Energy Minerals: Energy is used in almost all activities, from cooking to the providence of light and heat, vehicles and machinery. Classified as conventional and non-conventional sources of energy; of which conventional includes firewood, cattle dung cake, coal, petroleum, natural gas and electricity and non-conventional sources are wind, tidal, geothermal, biogas and atomic energy.

Metallic Minerals

We obtain metal by extraction of these minerals. It is considered very valuable as we obtain the metal in its purest form. Metallic minerals further classified into two types

  • Ferrous Minerals
  • Non-Ferrous Minerals 

Ferrous Minerals

Ferrous minerals are those minerals that exhibit magnetic characteristics due to the presence of iron in the form of hydroxides, carbonates, or sulphides. These minerals are critical for the growth of a country’s metallurgical industry. Hematite, magnetite, manganese, and other ferrous minerals are examples.

India exports a significant amount of ferrous minerals. These minerals provide a solid foundation for the growth of metallurgical enterprises. These minerals account for around three-fourths of the overall value of metallic mineral output. 

Following are some of the Ferrous Minerals:

Iron Ore

They are rocks and minerals that are commercially mined for metallic iron. Iron oxides  in the ores in multitude, which range in color from dark grey to brilliant yellow to deep purple to rusty red. Magnetite, hematite, goethite, limonite, and siderite are all examples of iron minerals. “Natural ore” or “straight shipping ore” refers to ore that has a high percentage of hematite or magnetite (more than roughly 60% iron) and may be fed directly into blast furnaces to produce iron.

Iron ore as raw material is required to manufacture pig iron, a key raw materials used to make steel—steel accounts for 98 percent of all mined iron ore. 

India’s Iron Ore Belts:

  • Odisha – Jharkhand Belt: Badampahar mines in the Mayurbhanj and Kendujhar districts of Odisha contain high-grade hematite ore. Hematite iron ore is mined at Gua and Noamundi in the neighboring Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. This belt is India’s biggest producer of iron ore, accounting for 52 percent of total production in 2016-2017. Jharkhand’s Palamau and Singhbhum districts are major hematite iron ore producers.
  • Durg-Bastar-Chandrapur Belt: Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra are the states that make up the Belt. This belt is noted for its high-grade hematite, which can be found in the Bailadila range of hills in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district. There are 14 occurrences of ultra high grade hematite iron ore in the range of hills. It possesses the finest physical qualities required for steel production. The Vishakhapatnam port is mostly used to export to Japan and South Korea. 
  • Ballari – Chitradurga – Chikkamagaluru – Takakura Belt: Karnataka has significant iron ore deposits. The Kudremukh mines in Karnataka’s western Ghats are a 100 percent export operation. The Kudremukh deposits are known to be among the world’s biggest. The ore is delivered as a slurry to a port near Mangalore through a pipeline. 
  • Maharashtra – Goa Belt: The state of Goa and the Maharashtra district of Ratnagiri are included in this belt, however the ore in this belt is not of great quality, but it is efficiently utilised. The port of Marmagao is used to export iron ore. 

 Manganese

The oxides pyrolusite, romanechite, manganite, and hausmannite, as well as the carbonate mineral rhodochrosite, are the most significant manganese ores. The oxides are usually found with rhodizite and braunite, both silicate ores.

Only ores with a manganese content of more than 35% are deemed economically viable. When iron ore (an iron and oxygen combination) is transformed into iron, manganese eliminates oxygen and Sulphur. It’s also an important alloy for converting iron to steel. It makes steel less brittle and offers it more strength as an alloy.

Steel and ferro-manganese alloys are made from this metal. In order to make one tonne of steel, around 10% manganese is used. Insecticides, bleaching powder, and paints are among the products made from it.

In 2016-2017, Madhya Pradesh has the highest proportion of manganese output in India, accounting for 27% .

Non-Ferrous Minerals

Non-ferrous metals are alloys or metals that are free of iron. Except for iron (Fe), which is sometimes known as ferrite after the Latin word ferrum, which means “iron,” other non-ferrous elements are non-ferrous. Nonferrous metals are more expensive than ferrous metals, but they have desired features such as light weight (aluminium), high conductivity (copper), non-magnetic properties, and corrosion resistance (zinc). Bauxite, which is used as flux in blast furnaces, is an example of a non-ferrous mineral utilised in the iron and steel industry.

Ferrous alloys may also be made using non-ferrous metals such as chromite, pyrolusite, and wolframite. Many non- ferrous metals, on the other hand, have low melting points, rendering them unsuitable for high-temperature applications.

Following are some of the non-ferrous minerals:

Copper

Copper is commercially produced primarily by smelting or leaching, with electrodeposition from sulphides solutions commonly following. The bulk of copper produced is used in the electrical industry; the rest is blended with other metals to make alloys. (As an electroplated coating, it’s also important in terms of technology.)  Brasses (copper and zinc), bronzes (copper and tin), and nickel silvers are all important series of alloys in which copper is a major component (copper, zinc, and nickel, no silver).

The Khetri mines in Rajasthan, the Balaghat mines in Madhya Pradesh, and the Singhbhum area of Jharkhand are the leading copper producers in India. 

Bauxite

Surface weathering of clay rocks in the tropical zone produces bauxite, which is composed of aluminium oxide. It contains 15–25 percent aluminium and is the sole ore utilised for commercial aluminium extraction. Bauxite is found near the surface, frequently combined with clay minerals, iron oxide, and titanium dioxide. Bauxite is the principal source of aluminium needed to create building cement.

Aluminium is utilised in a variety of applications, including transportation, consumer durables, packaging, electrical, mechanical equipment, refractory bricks, and abrasives.  Aluminium is recognized for its lightness and strength. It is frequently utilised in the production of cutlery, electrical products, and other items.

The Amarkantak plateau, Maikal hills, and the Bilaspur-Katni plateau region are the key bauxite deposit areas in Madhya Pradesh. Odisha is India’s largest bauxite producer, accounting for 49% of the country’s total. 

Sample Questions

Question1: India has a lot of natural resources, however the distribution isn’t even. What are your thoughts on this?

Answer: 

India has a lot of natural resources, however their distribution is unequal for a variety of reasons:

  •  Oil is discovered in sedimentary rocks on the peninsula’s western and eastern flanks, hence Gujarat and Assam have petroleum resources.
  • However, there are no oil resources in the rest of India.
  • Mineral deposits are usually found in Chotanagpur’s peninsular plateau region and Rajasthan’s rock systems.
  • There are no mineral reserves in the vast alluvial plains of North India, mountainous regions, or coastal plains. 

Question 2: Name three elements that influence a reserve’s economic viability.

Answer: 

  •  Mineral concentration in the ore, both in terms of quality and quantity.
  • Magnetite, for example, is preferable to hematite because it has a higher iron content.
  • Extraction expenses. Mining is unprofitable if the cost of extraction is too high.
  • Mines in close proximity to enterprises .

Question 3: Explain how bauxite is formed and what metal is derived from it.

Answer: 

Surface rocks are weathered to produce bauxite. The breakdown of a wide variety of rocks rich in aluminium silicates produces bauxite deposits.

Bauxite is used to extract aluminium. 

Question 4: What is one property of Magnetite and Hematite?

Answer: 

Magnetite: This is the highest quality iron ore, with a 72 percent iron content.

It possesses outstanding magnetic properties, which make it very useful in the electric sector.

Hematite:  In terms of amount consumed, it is the most significant industrial iron ore.

It has a pure iron content of 60 to 70 percent. 

Question 5: What role does mineral oil have in the Indian economy?

Answer: 

India’s second most important energy source is mineral oil.

It offers heat and lightning fuel, as well as lubricants for machinery and raw materials for a variety of manufacturing industries.

Petroleum refineries serve as a “nodal industry” producing synthetic textiles, fertilizers, and a variety of chemical products. 


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