India is blessed with abundant natural resources and the Indian soil is consecrated with a plethora of various kinds of minerals. Among the most important minerals found in the country, iron ore occupies a prominent place. This mineral comes in different types and different geological formations. Here, we will discuss the various types of iron ore in India, the location of the iron ore fields and the distribution of the mineral all across the country for different uses.
Different types of iron ore in India
India has some of the largest iron ore reserves in the world. India’s iron ore production value in 2022 is estimated to be approximately INR 869 billion, which is more than double the value in 2021.
Iron ores are available in different forms. The colours of the ores vary depending on the concentration of iron oxide in the ores. Iron is extracted from iron ores, which are found deep in iron ore mines. The amount of iron that can be extracted from an ore varies from one another. As per experts, a nation’s growth can be measured by the amount of iron that it consumes. The most common forms of iron ores include:
Hematite is the best quality iron ore in India. It is also known as red ochre for its distinct red colour. The iron content found in this variety of iron ore is almost 60-70%. Along with being the best quality iron ore in India, hematite is also the main iron ore of India. These iron ores are large and lumpy with an extremely rugged surface. The ores are reddish to ochre red. This variety of iron ore is mainly found in the Cuddapah and Dharwad rocks.
Hematite comes in different varieties like micaceous hematite, laminated hematite, hematite quartz-schist, and hematite-breccia. One of the most valuable iron ores in the world, this ore is abundantly found on the Earth’s surface and its shallow crust. You can trace this mineral in both sedimentary and igneous rocks.
Hematite iron ore fields in India are mostly located in the states of Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Goa.
Also referred to as black ore, this is one of the commonest types of iron ore in India. This ore contains magnetic properties and it comes in a 3-D crystal structure. This iron ore variant belongs to the hexoctahedral crystal class. While the iron atoms in the ore appear purple, the oxygen atoms are red.
Magnetite plays a crucial role in steel production. Along with this, magnetite iron ore acts as a catalyst for ammonia production and as pigment for ceramics and paints. The magnetic nano and microparticles of this ore are used in various techniques. Though in variable amounts, magnetite iron core contains traces of vanadium, titanium, and chromium.
The prominent magnetite iron ore fields in India are located in Tamil Nadu (Trichchirappalli and Salem districts), Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala.
Though not the best quality iron ore in India, limonite has a ferrous concentration of almost 35% to 50%. The formation of limonite is very interesting as these iron ores might have biological or inorganic sources. These iron-ore oxides are yellowish to yellowish-brown in colour and are generated from the weathering of iron-containing rocks. They are also found as sediments in shallow marine areas, bogs, or even lakes.
One of the greatest advantages of this variety of iron ore is that it is highly resistant to deterioration. It forms residual deposits quite frequently. It is a primary form of iron in lateritic soils and is often used as a colouring agent too.
When it comes to the distribution of iron ore in India of the limonite variant, it can be found in the Garhwal and Mirzapur districts of Uttar Pradesh, the Raniganj coalfield, and the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh.
Siderite iron ore is often known as iron carbon. It has almost 10% to 48% iron content and is brown in colour. Among the different types of iron ore in India, siderite iron ore is a less desirable variant.
Leading Iron Ore Fields in India – Distribution of Iron Ore in India
A wide variety of iron ore is found in different parts of India. However, the majority of the reserves and iron ore fields in India are concentrated in a few selected states in the country, namely Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, and Karnataka. Apart from these, Rajasthan, Assam, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh also have some iron ore mines.
When it comes to global exporters of iron ore, India ranks 5th on the list. Approximately 50% to 60% of iron ore production in the country is exported to different countries like Korea, Japan, and the countries of the Gulf. Japan is the largest purchaser of iron ore from India, amounting to almost 3/4th of the total production.
When it comes to quality iron ores, the one supplier you can trust is Sree Metaliks Limited (SML). SML is not only the leading iron ore supplier in the country, but the company is well renowned for its ethical mining practices as well. Visit Sree Metaliks for more information on their iron ore products and other details.
Frequently Asked Questions
The 4 common types of iron ores found in India are hematite, magnetite, siderite, and limonite. Among these four Hematite is the best quality of iron ore in India and siderite is the least purchased variant.
Yes, the ‘ferrous’ or iron content varies from one type to another in the iron ores available in India. Hematite has almost 60% to 70% of iron content, while magnetite has approximately 60% to 65% iron content. Limonite has around 35% to 50% of iron content and siderite has about 10% to 48% iron content.
Iron ore production is mainly concentrated in a few selected states in India including Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, and Goa. Some other states Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, and Rajasthan also produce iron ore in little quantities.