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Conservation of Mineral Resources

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  • Last Updated : 25 Mar, 2022
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Mineral resources are being depleted at an alarming rate, despite the fact that they take millions of years to generate and concentrate. Mineral resources are limited and cannot be replenished. Continued ore extraction leads to rising prices as minerals are extracted from higher depths with deteriorating quality. 

Metallic minerals 

Metallic minerals have one or more metals in them. Iron, copper, gold, bauxite, and manganese are examples of minerals that occur as mineral deposits and are great conductors of heat and electricity. 

Ferrous Minerals: Ferrous minerals account for almost three-fourths of the overall value of metallic mineral output.

  • Iron Ore: Iron ore deposits are quite rich in India. Magnetite is the purest iron ore, having a high iron concentration of up to 70%. It possesses exceptional magnetic properties. The most significant industrial iron ore is hematite ore. It contains between 50 and 60 percent iron.  Some of the major iron ore belts in India are:
  • Manganese: It is primarily utilized in the production of steel and ferromanganese alloys. One tonne of steel requires around ten kilograms of manganese. It’s also used to make bleaching powder, pesticides, and paints. 

Non-ferrous Minerals: Copper, bauxite, lead, zinc, and gold are examples of nonferrous minerals. These minerals are essential in a variety of metallurgical, engineering, and electrical applications.

  •  Copper: Malleable, ductile, and excellent heat and electrical conductor. Electrical cables, electronics, and chemical industries are the primary applications for this material. Copper is produced in large quantities in the Balaghat mines in Madhya Pradesh, the Khetri mines in Rajasthan, and the Singhbhum area of Jharkhand. 
  •  Bauxite: Bauxite deposits arise as a result of the breakdown of a wide range of rocks rich in aluminum silicates. Bauxite is the source of aluminum. Aluminum has high conductivity and is quite malleable. Deposits are mostly found in the Amarkantak plateau, the Maikal hills, and the Bilaspur-Katni plateau region. 

Non-Metallic Minerals

 Non-metals are minerals (non-metallic minerals) that are rarely utilized as raw materials in the extraction of metals. Non-metals, which are present in a broad variety of minerals, are commercially significant. Non-metallic minerals have no luster or glimmer. Minerals that are not metallic are good electrical and thermal insulators.

  • Mica: Mica is a mineral composed of plates or leaves. It is available in clear, black, green, red, yellow, and brown. Mica is a vital material in the electrical and electronic industries. It possesses great dielectric strength, a low power loss factor, insulating qualities, and high voltage resistance. Mica deposits may be found on the Chota Nagpur plateau’s northern border. 
  • Rock Minerals: Limestone can be found in rocks made up of calcium carbonates or calcium and magnesium carbonates. It is the primary raw material used in the cement industry and is required for the blast furnace to smelt iron ore.

Conservation of Minerals 

The importance of minerals in the economy and in daily life may be seen in the fact that the substances and objects made from them have become an integral part of human life. Minerals are also frequently used in industry and agriculture, either directly or indirectly. Because of the nature of minerals, their scarcity, and rising demand, human civilization is being forced to discover solutions to conserve minerals.

They are non-renewable and dispersed unevenly. We have a very limited amount of mineral resources accessible to us. It accounts for only 1% of the earth’s crust. Minerals are nonrenewable, and we are fast depleting them. If it becomes depleted, it may take millions of years to reform or it may never reform. Ore extraction continues to increase in cost as they are taken from higher depths, and the quality of the ores degrades as extraction continues. Minerals are an essential component of our daily existence. Minerals are found in almost everything we use. Minerals have a critical role in the transportation industry since they are utilized in both manufacturing and locomotive operations.

If they are misused, they will quickly deplete and become unavailable to future generations.  Mineral exploration has frequently resulted in the relocation of marginalized populations, such as local tribes, with few examples of sufficient compensation.  Mineral resources must be protected since they are a country’s most precious asset.

Minerals are also extremely important to all living things. Every biological cell contains iron. It is required for the formation of hemoglobin, the main component of red blood cells.
Other minerals, such as zinc, manganese, copper, and fluoride, are also essential in our diet in very modest levels. Minerals are a finite resource that cannot be replenished. Controlling their usage and conserving minerals is critical for the future.

Mineral conservation may be accomplished in three ways: reduce, recycle, and reuse.

  • You may cut down on the amount of garbage you produce by being selective about what you toss out.
  • Returning a waste product to a location where it is converted into the same or a different product is referred to as recycling.
  • The recycling of metals will also assist to reduce demand. 

Minerals can be conserved in a variety of ways, including

  • Minerals should be utilised in a strategic and long-term manner.
  • Technology should be improved so that poor-grade ore may be used at a reasonable cost.
  • Metal recycling also contributes to the conservation of mineral resources.
  • Non-conventional sources of energy should be used to generate power.
  • Every individual should take little efforts, such as taking public transportation, carpooling, and turning off lights and fans when not in use.(This is due to the fact that coal is used to create 70% of India’s power.) 
  • Using energy-saving equipment also helps to save minerals and energy resources. 

Sample Questions

Question 1: Explain natural gas and what are its benefits?

Answer: 

Natural gas is a significant energy source. It is a significant clean energy resource that may be found in conjunction with or without petroleum. It is also employed in the petrochemical sector as an industrial raw material.

Its benefits are : 

  • Natural gas is a clean-burning fuel.
  • It emits less carbon dioxide during operation.
  • It is increasingly being used to replace polluting fuels.

Natural gas deposits of significant size have been identified in the Krishna-Godavari basin.  

Question 2: Why does India have the potential for wind energy development? Which locations in India are wind energy sources?

Answer:  

India has a large coastline with potential for wind energy development. Windy locations near the beach can be developed with wind turbines.

Wind energy or wind mills may be found at the following locations in India: 

  • Wind Farm Cluster in Tamil Nadu, stretching from Nagercoil to Madurai.
  • Wind Power Plants in Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Jaisalmer Wind Farm .

Question 3: Is there a compelling need in India to use renewable energy sources? Explain?

Answer:

 Because of the following reasons, there is a rising need to increase the usage of renewable energy sources:

  • Conventional or nonrenewable energy sources are rapidly depleting, and we are more reliant on petroleum and natural gas imports to satisfy our demands.
  • Because renewable energy sources do not pollute the environment when used, we must shift to using more of them in order to protect our ecosystem.
  • Non-traditional sources of energy are less expensive to utilize than conventional ones, hence we should adopt renewable energy sources to save money. 

Question 4: “The discovery and usage of iron brought about a fundamental alteration in human life.” Give three instances to back up your claim.

Answer: 

  •  Agrarian revolution—the invention of various instruments such as the axe, hook, plough, and so on.
  • Industrial revolution—new tools and machinery such as spinning
  • Transportation revolution- bullock carts, ships, boats, etc. 

Question 5: Why is mining commonly referred to as a “Killer Industry?” Provide three reasons.

Answer: 

  • There is a high danger involved.
  • Because of the hazardous gases, mine employees are at risk of developing lung ailments.
  • The risk of falling mine roofs and coal mine fires.
  • Contamination of water sources 

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