Mineral Based Industries


Iron and Steel Industry:


  • Pig Iron
  • Pig iron is the intermediate product of smelting of iron ore with a high-carbon fuel such as coke and charcoal and is the basic raw material in Foundry and Casting Industry for the manufacture of various types of castings required for engineering sector. Pig iron usually has very high carbon content of 3.5% to 4.5%. The main sources of pig iron have traditionally been the integrated steel plants of SAIL besides plants of Tata Steel and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. The domestic production of pig iron did not keep pace with the demand. Efforts were, therefore, made to increase pig iron manufacturing facilities in the secondary sector
  • As a result of various policy initiatives taken by the Government, Private Sector did show considerable interest in setting up new pig iron units, specially in the post-liberalised period. Of the total 6.87 million tonnes production in 2012-13, the Private Sector accounted for over 90% of the total production for sale of pig iron in the country.
  • In 2012-13, 6.87 million tonnes pig iron was produced against 5.37 million tonnes in 2011-12. Location and capacity of principal pig iron units in Private Sector are furnished in Table-2. M/s Usha Martin Industries Ltd, M/s Jindal Steel & Power Ltd have integrated mini-blast furnaces (MBF) for manufacture of steel through Electric Arc Furnace (EAF). M/s Hospet Steel (a joint venture of Kalyani and Mukand) and M/s Southern Iron & Steel Co. Ltd had integrated their MBF with energy optimising furnace to produce steel.
  • Sponge Iron
  • Commercial production of sponge iron in India commenced in 1980. Sponge Iron India Ltd was first to set up a plant in 1980 at Palwancha of Khammam district in Andhra Pradesh with a capacity of 0.039 million tonnes/year.
  • In the last few years, combined use of hot metal and sponge iron in electric arc furnace have been in practice for production of liquid steel, consequently production of sponge iron too went up substantially to meet the demands. The installed capacity of sponge iron increased from 1.52 million tonnes per annum in 1990-91 to 37.30 million tonnes per annum in 2012-13. The production also increased from 0.9 million tonnes in 1990-91 to 23.01 million tonnes in 2012-13


  • Iron and steel is a basic industry and is the backbone of industrial development of any country.
  • The first unit, which was able to produce pig iron successfully, in the country came up at Kulti in 1874 and was named the Bengal Iron Work Country. Another plant came up at Sakchi (now Jamshedpur) in 1907, set up by the Tatas and called the Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO). In 1919, the Indian Iron and Steel Company (IISCO) plant was set up at Burnpur. In 1923, another plant came up, called the Mysore Steel Works (later named the Visveshwaraiya Iron and Steel Limited—VISL)
  • The plant at Durgapur, in Bardhman district of West Bengal started operating in 1962. It was set up with help from the United Kingdom. The alloy steel plant at Durgapur produces ingot steel. Iron ore for the Durgapur steel plant comes from Bolani mines in Kendujhar; coal from Jharia, and power is supplied by the DVC. Limestone comes from Sundergarh and manganese from Kendujhar. Durgapur steel plant is situated on the Kolkata- Asansol rail line. This way, it is connected with Kolkata port and the major markets.
  • The Bokaro steel plant is situated in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand at the confluence of Bokaro and Damodar rivers. It was established during the Third Plan, but started operating in 1972. It was set up with Soviet help. Iron ore for the plant comes from Kiriburu in Kendujhar district of Orissa and partly from Salem, Mangalore and Ratnagiri by sea route.
  • Coal comes from Jharia and power is supplied by the DVC. Limestone supplies are drawn from Bhavantpur and Daltonganj in the Palamau district, and dolomite from Bilaspur in Madhya Pradesh. The location of the steel plant is favourable, as it is nearest to the industrial region of southern Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi, Kanpur, Ferozabad, Mugalserai) and also has access to Delhi and Amritsar.
  • The plant at Salem in Tamil Nadu was planned during the Fourth Plan, but it could come into operation only in 1982. Earlier, due to lack of suitable raw materials in the area for making iron by the conventional blast furnace process, the proposal for a steel plant could not get materialised. Salem area is rich in iron ore and this iron ore is beneficiated to a higher grade concentrate, agglomerated and then smelted in electric furnace. The Salem plant produces stainless steel.
  • The Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, which came into operation in 1992, is the first plant in the shore region. It is also the most sophisticated modern integrated steel plant in the country. A number of modern technological features have been incorporated in the plant. Being located at a port site, the plant has the flexibility to opt for imported coking coal, thereby relieving the pressure on Indian coal mines.
  • Also, its products can be easily exported. Visakhapatnam is well connected with the coalfields of Damodar Valley. The iron ore deposits are obtained from Bailadila in Chhattisgarh. Fluxes like limestone, refractories and ferroalloys can be obtained from the adjacent areas.
  • Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd. and government agencies have set up Orissa’s second integrated iron and steel plant at Kalinganagar, in Jajpur district

Mini Steel Plants:

  • Apart from the integrated steel plants, steel is also produced by electric arc furnace units which are popularly known as mini steel plants, from steel scrap/sponge iron. The integrated steel plants mainly produce mild steel and alloy steel, including stainless steel. These plants are located in areas away from the integrated steel plants to meet the demand there. Their period of construction and gestation is short and they offer greater flexibility in operation.


v  Copper Smelting Industry:

  • It was in the year 1857 that the Singhbhum Copper Company was formed to undertake mining operations at Saraikela. In 1924, the Indian Copper Corporation (ICC) was set up with concentration plant and smelter which produced copper at Ghatsila in Jharkhand (then in Bihar). In 1972, the ICC was taken over by the Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL), and now, the HCL is the sole producer of primary copper in India.
  • The Khetri Copper Complex at the foothills of Aravallis in Rajasthan erected by the HCL was formed to exploit the Khetri-Singhbhum ores. The unit consists of Khetri and Kolihan mines, a matching concentrator plant, smelter, electrolytic refinery and wire bar casting plants. The Khetri Copper Complex is an integrated copper mining- cum-metallurgical unit—by-product is sulphuric acid and fertiliser triple superphosphate is also manufactured.
  • The Malanjkhand copper project in Madhya Pradesh is the first large sized open cast mine and has been developed mainly to supply copper concentrates to Khetri to enable the plant to achieve the target capacity.
  • Other copper smelting projects include the Rakha copper project (Singhbhum-Maubhandar), Dariba Copper Project (Alwar) and Chandmari Copper Project (Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan).


  • Aluminium Industry:


  • Alumina


  • The production of alumina was 36.10 lakh tonnes in 2012-13. NALCO, accredited as one of the largest producers of alumina in Asia, has expanded its alumina refinery capacity to 1.575 million tpy. With further addition of capacity undertaken in the second phase by another 5,25,000 tonnes, the total capacity now stands at 2.1 million tpy. By 2014-15, after the 3 rd phase of expansion, the total capacity is expected to touch 2.975 million tonnes.


  • It was in the year 1938 that the country saw, for the first time, aluminium production at Alupuram Reduction Works of the Indian Aluminium Company. Later, this company was converted into a public sector company in 1944. By 1967, there were five smelters, one each at Jaykaynagar, Alupuram, Hirakud, Renukoot and Mettur
  • Besides mining of ore, the aluminium industry has four distinct stages, viz. production of alumina and aluminium; fabrication of aluminium ingots into sheets, circles, foils and various other types of structurals, and the production of articles from aluminium, like kitchenware’s, articles used in electrical transportation, building and construction, canning and packing material, furniture, etc.


  • The location of the aluminium industry is governed mainly by the availability of bauxite. It has been found that to produce – one tonne of aluminium of 50 per cent or more content, nine tonnes of bauxite, 0.44 tonne of petroleum coke, 0.26 tonne of caustic soda, 0.09 tonne of lime, very small quantities of cryolite, aluminium fluoride, soda ash and about 18,750 KW of electricity are required. Hence, the aluminium industry is mostly located in areas producing bauxite and having relatively cheap availability of hydro-electricity as in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu.
  • The Hindustan Aluminium Company (HINDALCO), a private sector company has its aluminium plant at Renukoot, Uttar Pradesh. In order to achieve the economics of scale, a second smelter was set up at Hirakud, Orissa.
  • HINDALCO, and the Bharat Aluminium Company (BALCO) set up two units at Korba and Ratnagiri to utilise bauxite ores of Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh and of Udaigiri-Dhangarvadi region in Maharashtra, respectively.
  • A huge public sector aluminium company, the National Aluminium Company (NALCO) was set up with assistance from a French company at Damanjodi near Jaipur (Koraput district in Orissa). It also has a smelter at Angul, Orissa.
  • Cement Industry:
  • Cement, an important infrastructure core industry, is one of the most advanced industries in the country. The country was deficient in cement and it had to resort to imports to fill the gaps in supplies until the complete decontrol of price and distribution on March 1, 1989 and introduction of other policy reforms; since then, the cement industry has made rapid strides.
  • Cement is made mainly from limestone and clay. Other raw materials include shale, coal and gypsum. Thus, cement factories are located near limestone deposits. Since coal and gypsum are brought generally from long distances and cement has to be dispatched to far-off consuming centres, the cement plants are located close to rail routes. Sludge from fertiliser plants, blast furnace slag and sea-shells are used instead of limestone in some cement plants.
  • For instance, the cement plants at Bhadravati (Karnataka) and Chaibasa (Jharkhand) use slag and the plant at Sindri uses sludge. Limestone is available at a number of places in most of the states of India, but basalt covered areas of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, and the northern alluvial plains are without limestone based cement manufacturing plants. At Dalmia Dadri in Haryana, there is a cement plant based on kanker (limestone nodules).
  • The major producer states of cement and major cement producing centres are given below.
  • Tamil Nadu:
  • TiruneFveli, Ramanathpuram, Tiruchchirappalli, Salem and Coimbatore.
  • Chhattisgarh:
  • Durg and Raipur.
  • Madhya Pradesh:
  • Jabalpur and Gwalior.
  • Gujarat:
  • Ahmedabad, Sikka, Sewree, Dwarka, Porbandar, Sewalia and Ankaleshwar.
  • Jharkhand:
  • Sindri, Ranchi, Palamau, Japla and Chaibasa.
  • Bihar:
  • Dalmianagar
  • Rajasthan:
  • Bundi, Sawai Madhopur, Chittor- garh, Udaipur.
  • Andhra Pradesh:
  • Karimnagar, Kurnool, Vijaywada, Krishna, Sullurpet and Anantpur.
  • Karnataka:
  • Shahbad, Wadi, Kurkunta, Bagalkot, Bhadravati and Tumkur.
  • The Indian cement industry not only ranks high in the production of cement in the world but also produces quality cement to meet global standards. The induction of advanced technology has helped the industry immensely to conserve energy and fuel and to save materials substantially. Apart from meeting the entire domestic demand, the industry is also exporting cement and clinker.
  • The working group on cement industry for the formulation of Tenth Five Year Plan and other studies on global competitiveness of the Indian cement industry highlighted constraints such as high cost of power, high freight cost, inadequate infrastructure and poor quality of coal. Additional capacity creation is hampered by the lack of long- term coal linkages.

In order to utilise the excess production capacity available with the cement industry, the government has identified the following thrust areas for increasing demand:

  • Further push to housing development programmes;
  • Promotion of concrete highways and roads;
  • Use of ready-mix concrete in large infrastructure projects; and
  • Construction of concrete roads in rural areas under Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana.


  • Lead arid Zinc Smelting Industry:
  • Lead
  • The total installed capacity of lead smelting was 1,85,000 tpy excluding secondary lead which was 24,000 tpy. Primary lead was produced entirely by HZL at lead-zinc smelter at Chanderiya, Chittorgarh district, and Rajpura-Dariba Plant, Udaipur district, Rajasthan. Tundoo lead smelter, Dhanbad district, Jharkhand with capacity of 8,000 tpy was decommissioned by HZL in May 2003 due to economic non-viability.
  • Secondary lead capacity is held by the Indian Lead Pvt. Ltd at its two units at Thane in Maharashtra and Kalipark in West Bengal. The installed capacity of these two plants is 24,000 tpy. There are a number of other secondary producing units in the Organised and Unorganised Sector. As per the estimates made in the recently published Market Survey on lead & zinc by IBM, production of 88,000 tonnes of lead has been estimated in 2010-11 as secondary lead.
  • Zinc
  • India has a total installed zinc capacity of 9,17,000 tpy distributed between HZL smelters at Debari, Visakhapatnam, Chanderiya, Dariba and Binani Zinc Ltd’s (BZL) plant at Aluva in Kerala. HZL’s Dariba hydro-zinc smelter with 2,10,000 tpy capacity was commissioned in March 2010. BZL has an annual installed capacity of 38,000 tonnes zinc along with 80 tonnes cadmium and about 53,000 tonnes sulphuric acid.
  • In India the main source of lead and zinc ores is the Zawar deposits of Rajasthan. The paucity of ore supplies has been largely responsible for the rather late and slow development of the lead-zinc smelting industry in the country.
  • The mines under production other than the Zawar mines are Agnigundla lead mines of Andhra Pradesh, Rajpura-Dariba mines in Udaipur, Rajasthan and Sargipalli lead mines of Orissa. Two smelters are under production: the Debari zinc smelters of Udaipur and the Vizag lead smelter plant at Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh). The Debari plant was erected by the Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL) with technical assistance from Krebspenarroya of France and Lurgi of Germany.


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