India possesses over 20 percent of the world’s total reserves.
The quality of Indian ore is very high with iron content of above 60 percent.
Most of iron ore found in the country is of three types :- Haematite, magnetite and limonite.
Haematite ore contains up to 68 percent of iron.
It is red in color and is often referred to as ‘red ore’.
Next to haematite in quantity and richness is the magnetite ore.
It contains up to 60 percent of the iron.
Magnetite is dark brown to blackish in colour, and is often referred as ‘black ores’,
Limonite is the third type of ore which has iron content of 35-50 percent.
It is yellow in colour.
Since India has large reserves of haematite and magnetite ores, inferior quality ore like limonite is rarely exploited.
The total estimated reserves of iron ore in the country are placed at about 12,857 million tonnes of which 12, 317 million tonnes are haematite ore and about 540 miillion tonnes of magnetite ore.
This is roughly about one fourth of the world reserves.
Iron ore deposits are found practically in every state of India.
However, 96 percent of the total reserves are in Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Goa.
These states also account for 96 percent to the total production of iron ore in the country.
About 3 percent of the country’s total production comes from Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
Orissa and Jharkhand together possess about 50 percent of India’s reserves of high-grade iron ore.
The principal deposits are located in Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts of Orissa and Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.
Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh contributed about 25 percent of country’s total iron ore reserves and about 20-25 percent of country’s production of iron ore.
The reserves are located in Bailadila range, Raoghat area near Aridongri in Bastar district and Dhalli Rajhara range in Durg district.
Goa possesses inferior quality ore but its contribution to the country’s total production is impressive.
Most of the mines are open cast and mechanized. Almost the entire production of iron from Goa is exported from Marmagao Port to Japan.
In Karnataka, the most important deposits are found in the Sandur-Hospet area of Bellary district; Babaudan hills of Chikmagalur district and in Simoga and Chitradurga district.
Iron ore deposits of Andhra Pradesh are scattered in the Anantpur, Khammam, Krishna, Kurnool, Cuddapah and Nellore districts.
India contributes about 7 to 8 percent of the total world trade.
Now deposits are being worked out especially for export purpose.
For example, Bailadila and Rajhara mines of Chhatisgarh and Kiruburu mines in Orissa are being worked for this purpose.
Japan, Romania, the former Czechoslovakia and Poland are important importing countries.
Iron ore is exported from Haldia, Paradip, Marmagao, Mangalore and Visakhapatnam ports.