In this article, You will read Bauxite Distribution in India – for UPSC IAS.
- Bauxite is an important ore that is used for making aluminium. It is an oxide of aluminium. It is not a specific mineral but a rock consisting mainly of hydrated aluminium oxides.
- The deposits of Bauxite are mainly associated with laterites and occur as capping on hills and plateaus, except in coastal areas of Gujarat and Goa.
- Production of Aluminum from Bauxite: This industry is divided into 2 segments. The plants for obtaining alumina from bauxite ore, such plants are located near bauxite mines and plants for reduction of Alumina into Aluminum, such plants are located near the cheap source of electricity.
- For producing 1 ton of aluminum, 6 tons of bauxite is required (which produces 2 tons of alumina).
- In this process, aluminium ore is treated with concentrated sodium hydroxide. Soluble sodium aluminate is formed which is filtered off. The filtrate on heating with water gives aluminium hydroxide which gives alumina on strong heating.
Bauxite Distribution (Mining Centres) in India
- Orissa is the largest producer, which produces about 50% of the total bauxite production of the country.
- The main bauxite belt is in Kalahandi, Koraput, and Baragarh districts. This is the largest bauxite-bearing region of the country.
- This 300 km long, 40 to 100 km wide and 950 to 1300 metre thick belt is the largest bauxite bearing region of the country. The main deposits occur in Kalahandi, Koraput, Sundargarh, Bolangir, and Sambalpur districts.
- In this belt, there are two very large high grade bauxites deposits (in Orissa). The one at Panchpatmali (Koraput district) is considered as the largest in India. The second known as Gandha mardan deposits(Baragarh district).
- Gujarat is the second-largest producer and produces over 15 percent of the total bauxite of India.
- The most important deposits occur in a belt which is 48 km long and 3 to 4.5 km wide lying between the Gulf of Kachchh and the Arabian Sea through Bhavnagar, Junagadh, and Amreli districts.
- The reserves of all grades of recoverable bauxite in Jharkhand have been estimated at 63.5 million tonnes
- These reserves are found in extensive areas of Ranchi, Lohardaga, Palamu, and Gumla districts
- Some bauxite is also found in Dumka and Munger districts.
- High-grade ore occurs in Lohardaga and adjoining areas.
Other areas of bauxite production –
- Maharashtra: The largest deposits occur in the Kolhapur district capping the plateau basalts.
- Chhattisgarh: The Maikala range in Bilaspur, Durg districts, and the Amarkantak plateau regions of Surguja, Raigarh, and Bilaspur are some of the areas having rich deposits of bauxite.
- Tamil Nadu: Nilgiri and Salem are the main bauxite producing districts enabling Tamil Nadu to contribute slightly more than 2 percent of India’s bauxite.
- Madhya Pradesh: Amarkantak plateau area, the Maikala range in Shahdol, Mandla, and Balaghat districts, and the Kotni area of Jabalpur district are the main producers.
- Some bauxite is also found in Andhra Pradesh, (Vishakhapatnam, East Godavari, and West Godavari), Kerala (Kannur, Kollam, and Thiruvananthapuram), Rajasthan (Kota), Uttar Pradesh (Banda, Lalitpur, and Varanasi), Jammu and Kashmir (Jammu, Poonch, Udhampur) and Goa.
Export of Bauxite
- As much as 80 percent of the bauxite is used for producing aluminium.
- India’s exports of bauxite have been reduced considerably due to increasing demand in the home market. Still, India manages to export small quantities of bauxite. The main buyers of Indian bauxite are Italy (60%), U.K. (25%), Germany (9%), and Japan (4%).
Aluminium Plants in India
- Hindalco has its largest aluminium plant located in Renukoot in Uttar Pradesh.
- Hirakud plant is located on the bank of Hirakud Dam (longest earthen dam in the world), 320 km away from Bhubaneswar in Orissa.
- Initially established by Indal in 1959, it’s the second aluminium smelter in India operating on grid power.
- This smelter of Hindalco, located in the Ernakulam district of the state of Kerala, was shut down a long time back. However, the extrusion unit in this plant is still running.
- It’s the plant where aluminium ingot was produced for the first time in this country.
- National Aluminium Company Ltd. (Nalco) Aluminium Plants
- The Angul plant of National Aluminium Company Ltd. (Nalco) is located in the state of Orissa.
- Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd. (Balco) Aluminium Plants
- The Korba plant of Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd. (Balco) is set to be the largest aluminium plant in the world with a capacity of 1 million tpa from a single location.
- Located in Chhattisgarh,
- Madras Aluminium Company Ltd (Malco) Aluminium Plant
- The Mettur plant of the Madras Aluminium Company Ltd (Malco) is located at the Mettur Dam complex in the state of Tamil Nadu.