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Following article on”Metals wealth of India” is part of our series on general awareness:
Metals constitute an important role in the countries development. They constitute the vital raw materials for many basic industries and are a major resource for development. Iron and steel is a basic industry to develop a country’s basic infrastructure without which ship building, automobiles, construction industries etc cannot grow. Similarly, copper wealth is essential for the dissemination of electricity, aluminum is significant for development of aviation sector. When India ushered a planned development in the post independence period, development of its metallic resources was given a significant place as a result of which, today it is a huge industry with a turnover of Rs 41828.44 crore in 2010-11.
Haematite and magnetite are the two important iron ores from which iron is extracted. Of these, haematite is considered to be superior owing to its high grade. It is the basic raw material for iron and steel industry. Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Iron is extracted from ore by removing oxygen and combining the ore with a preferred chemical partner such as carbon. This process is known as smelting.
Iron and steel together form the largest manufactured products in the world and each of them enters into every branch of industry and is a necessary factor in every phase of our modern civilization. It is used widely in the construction of roads, railways, other infrastructure, appliances, and buildings. Most large modern structures, such as stadiums and skyscrapers, bridges, and airports, are supported by a steel skeleton. Even those with a concrete structure will employ steel for reinforcing. In addition to widespread use in major appliances and cars, despite growth in usage of aluminum, it is still the main material for car bodies. Steel is used in a variety of other construction materials, such as bolts, nails, and screws. Other common applications include shipbuilding, pipeline transport, mining, offshore construction, aerospace, heavy equipment such as bulldozers, office furniture, steel wool, tools, and armour in the form of personal vests or vehicle armour.
Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal, Jharkhand are the major iron ore producing states of the country. Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan also produce ore.
Currently Aluminium is also the second most used metal in the world after steel. Due to the consistent growth of Indian economy at a rate of 8%, the demand for metals, used for various sectors, is also on the higher side. As a result, the Indian aluminium industry is also growing consistently. India is world's fifth largest aluminium producer accounting almost 5% of the total aluminium production in the world.
India is also a huge reservoir of Bauxite with a Bauxite reserve of 3 billion tones. Bauxite deposits are found in western Bihar, southwest Kashmir, Central Tamil Nadu, and parts of Kerala, U.P, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
1) In transport, aluminium is used in cars (engine blocks, cylinder heads, transmission housings and body panels), trucks and buses (sheet and plate for bodies), in railway stock and in aircraft.
2) In construction, aluminium is used in sheet products for roofing and wall cladding, in extrusions for windows and doors, and in castings for builders' hardware.
3) In packaging, aluminium is used in the form of alloy sheet for beverage can bodies and tops, as foil for household and commercial wrap, and in manufactured packaging products such as cartons for fruit juice and packaging for pharmaceuticals.
4) In the electrical sector, aluminium is used in the form of wire, normally reinforced with steel to form cables.
Copper is broadly used in the manufacturing of electrical machinery, brass, coins, utensils and other alloys. Copper ore bearing areas are Agnigundala in Andhra, Singhbum in Bihar, Khetri and Dartiba in Rajasthan and parts of Sikkim and Karnataka.
Zinc is bluish-white to silvery-grayhard and brittle metal. Zinc is mostly used as an anti-corrosive agent in other metal products. It is used in the process of galvanization. Galvanization is the coating of other metals with iron or steel, which zinc is used in, is what 50% of the worlds zinc is used for. Galvanization is used on chain-link fencing, guard rails, suspension bridges, light posts, metal roofs, heat exchangers, and car bodies. It is also used as an anode material in batteries. A sheet of metal is used as the case in zinc-carbon batteries. Zinc is alloyed with copper to create brass. Bass is used a wide variety of item such as pipes, instruments, communication equipment, hardware and water valves. It is also used in sunscreens and baby diaper rash products as a barrier protector. It is used in toothpaste to prevent bad breath and in shampoos to stop dandruff.
Sphalerite or zinc blende is the most important zinc ore as it contains 64.06% zinc. Important zinc-lead deposits mostly localized within. Zinc production in India initially was done by government through a public sector company i.e. Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL). It was the biggest company in India, which took care of mining to extraction of zinc. HZL’s operations include three lead-zinc mines (Agucha in Bhilwara district, Zawar in Udaipur district and Rajpura-Dariba in Rajsamand district in Rajasthan), three zinc smelters (Debari and Chanderiya in Rajasthan; Vizag in A.P.).
Nickel ore is found in Cuttack and Mayurbanj in Odisha. Nickel is used in many products some of you may use everyday including electric guitar strings, magnets and rechargeable batteries. The magnetic properties of nickel actually make it very important for use in computer hard drives. Nickel is also added to a very important metal alloy- stainless steel. Stainless steel has numerous applications. It is used in cookware, cutlery, kitchen appliances, hardware, surgical instruments, storage tanks, firearms, car headlights, jewelery and watches.
Apart from other mentioned metal, numerous other metals are also found in India in varying quantities in various regions. India also produces third quarters of the world's mica. The manganese mining areas are Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar-Odisha area. Chromites deposits are found in Bihar, Cuttack district in Odisha, Krishna district in Andhra and Mysore and Hassan in Karnataka. The Ramagiri field in Andhra, Kolar and Hutti in Karnataka are the important gold mines. The Panna diamond belt is the only diamond producing area in the country, which covers the districts of Panna, Chatarpur and Satna in Madhya Pradesh, as well as some parts of Banda in Uttar Pradesh. India also possesses the all-too valuable nuclear uranium as well as some varieties of rare earth elements
Thus India posses a huge wealth in form of metals which are the basic prerequisite for the development of host of industries.
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