Mineral Resources of West Bengal
West Bengal stands third in the country in terms of mineral production.
The state contributes about one-fifth to the total production of
minerals in the country. Coal constitutes 99% of the minerals extracted in West Bengal; fireclay, china clay, limestone , copper , iron , wolfram , manganese and dolomite are mined in small quantities.
The state has rich deposits of coal, rock phosphate, granite, manganese, silica, fire clay, road metal, quartz, apatite, dolomite, feldspar, limestone and others.
There are good possibilities of obtaining mineral oil and natural gas in the areas near the Bay of Bengal , in Purba Medinipur ,Sundarbans , South 24 Parganas and North Bengal plains. Research is undergoing for finding
natural gas in various places.
Mining work in West
Fine Quartz in West Bengal
West Bengal is the third largest state for coal production, accounting
for about half of India's total. Coal is extracted from about 228 mines in the Raniganj and
Asansol region of Bardhaman district High garde bituminous coal is mined at Raniganj, Dishergarh , Santaldih, Kulti , Barakar , Ghushik , Kajora . Coalfields stretch over an area of about 1,550 km^2 (598
sq mi). The coalfields of Raniganj support the Asansol-Durgapur industrial belt by providing fuel to the industries as well as
generation of thermal power. Lignite mined in Darjeeling is used to make briquettes . Coal deposits are also found along the Ajoy river in Birbhum district
.The Raniganj coal belt alone accounts for more than 30,147 million metric tonnes of best quality
An alternative source of
natural gas, Coal Bed methane (CBD) reserves in West Bengal is estimated as 1.64 million cubic feet.
West Bengal ranks next to Bihar and Madhya Pradesh in production of fireclay
Most of this mineral is extracted in the Raniganj region along with few amount is also extracted from Birbhum and Purulia . China clay used in the pottery , paper , textile
, rubber and paint industries are unearthed at Mohammad Bazar in Birbhum and Mejia in Bankura . Rest of the
production comes from Purulia, Bardhaman, Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri
In 1993-94 1.24 lakh metric tonnes of fireclay were fireclay were produced in West Bengal.
Limestone which is used in cement industry is mined in Bankura , Purulia, Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri
Rock phosphate deposits are found in Beldih, Chirugora and Kutni regions of Purulia district.
Granite: The deposits of granite are
found to abound the districts of Purulia, Bankura & Birbhum.
medium to low plasticity & firing index is used as fireclay, which is found in the regions of Birbhum,
Burdwan, Purulia & Minnapore district.
There are copper mines in Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. Small quantities of
low quality iron-ore are mined in Bardhaman, Purulia, Birbhum and Darjeeling. There are manganese in the Jhargram region of Paschim
Medinipur , Purulia and Bardhaman. Wolfram is mined at Jhilimili in Bankura.
The stateís production of dolomite comes from the Dooars region of Jalpaiguri . 38.5 thousand tonnes of dolomite were raised in 1993-94.
West Bengal is well endowed with thick and extensive deposits of basaltic
trap rocks in Birbhum district, which are used for preparing road metals.
Good quality pegmatilic vein quartz is available at Mirmi in Purulia district.
West Bengal also has a prosperous hinterland of some extremely mineral rich
states like Jharkhand, Bihar and
Orissa producing coal,
Iron-ore, manganese, bauxite, chromites,
dolomite, graphite, kainite, copper, gold,
silver, mica, gypsum in enormous quantities which is an added
benefit for the industries of West Bengal. .