Aluminum ore mining in India
- March 29, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Aluminum ore mining in India
Section: Economic Geography
A committee of India’s parliament has recently India is yet to fully explore over 80 percent of its reserves of bauxite (an aluminium ore)
- At present Aluminum is limited primarily to the electric and electronic sectors in India. Multiple initiatives of the Indian government, such as 100 percent rural electrification, Housing for All, Smart Cities, national infrastructure pipeline, renewable energy and scheme for electric vehicles will boost the consumption of the metal (aluminium) in the country.
- In its report on the development of aluminium and copper industries in the country, the committee observed that only 17 percent (656 million tonnes) of bauxite is under ‘proven and probable’ category while the remaining 3,240 million tonnes are yet to be fully explored. There are a total of 3,896 million tonnes of bauxite resources across the country.
- According to the report, aluminium represents the second-largest metals market in the world after iron and steel. The total domestic production of aluminium metal during 2020-21 stayed at about the same level of 3.61 million tonnes (nearly 5.5 percent of global production) as in 2019-20.
- The import of aluminium, however, has remained “consistently high” as the panel noted that the total aluminium imports including scrap during FY 2020-21 stood at 2.06 million tonnes compared to 2.15 million tonnes in the previous financial year.
- India’s primary aluminium industry consists of three major players – National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO), Hindalco Industries and Vedanta Ltd. – that together have a total production capacity of about four million tonnes. The committee asked the government to make extra efforts for overall improvement in the sector to make India self-reliant for aluminium metal.
- Bauxite is basically an aluminous rock containing hydrated aluminium oxide as the main constituent and iron oxide, silica and titania in varying proportions.
- Hydrated aluminium oxides present in the bauxite ore are diaspore and boehmite, Al2o3, H2O, (Al2O3 -85%; Al -45%); gibbsite or hydrargillite, Al2O3, 3H2O (Al2O3 -65.4%; Al -34.6%) , and bauxite (containing colloidal alumina hydrogel), Al2O3, Al2O3, 2H2O (Al2O3 -73.9%; Al -39.1%). The iron Oxide in bauxite ore is present as hematite or goethite, silica as clay and free quartz, and titania as leucoxene or ruthile.
- Bauxite is an essential ore of aluminium which is one of the most important non ferrous metals used in the modern industry.
- It is also an essential ore for refractory and Chemical industries. The country has abundant resources of bauxite which can meet both domestic and export demand
- Bauxite is a sedimentary rock with relatively high aluminium content.
- It is the world’s main source of aluminium and gallium.
- Bauxite is primarily used to produce alumina through the Bayer process.
- It is an oxide of aluminium. It is not a specific mineral but a rock consisting mainly of hydrated aluminium oxides.
- Bauxite appears dull in luster and is reddish-brown, white, or tan in color.
- Australia is the largest producer of bauxite, followed by China.
Aluminium is the third most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, but does not occur as a metal naturally. The first step in producing aluminium is mining its ore bauxite.
Bauxite is generally extracted by open cast mining, being almost always found near the surface
Bauxite occurs mainly in tropical and sub-tropical areas, like Africa, the West Indies, South America, Australia & India there are some small deposits located in Europe.