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  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 Bengal                      Quartz in West Bengal
                Mining work in West Bengal                          Fine Quartz in West Bengal
 
Coal Belt
  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 coal. 
   An alternative source  of  natural gas, Coal Bed methane (CBD) reserves in  West Bengal is estimated as 1.64 million cubic feet.
 
Fireclay mines
  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.
   Kaolinite   with   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. .    

 

  West Bengal Mineral Policy, 2002
  Keeping pace with the liberalised Mineral Policy being adopted by the Government of India, Government of West Bengal has formulated its Mineral Policy in 2002. Among the basic objectives of the West Bengal Mineral Policy, 2002 following are worth mentioning: 
1. To review the existing State monopolies over mineral exploration and wherever required, go in for selective  dereservation.
2. To invite private capital, resources and technology, both foreign and domestic, for better exploration and exploitation;
3. To promote necessary linkages for smooth and uninterrupted development of mineral based industries to meet the needs of the State.
4. To ensure proper vigilance and supervision of mining activities with particular emphasis on simplification of procedures and greater generation of revenues from mineral resources.
5. To develop industry friendly facilities in specific minerals like, Coal, Granite and China Clay and in Natural gas like Coalbed Methane. 
   In the said Mineral Policy new initiatives in the following manner have been declared to promote particularly granite industry: 
1. Granite (Conservation & development) Rules, 1999 has been implemented in West Bengal,
2. Lease applications will be disposed of within six months,
3. Self assessment of granite will be introduced and this would be the basis for issue of transport permits. This measure is aimed at reducing the delays in grant of transport permits.
4. Priority will be given to Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe applications while granting mining leases.
5. M/s.West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corporation Limited, a State Govt. undertaking, will be advised to develop a granite mine in suitable location in the State in collaboration with other industries engaged in granite quarrying and trade. This mine would deploy latest mining equipments and would serve as a model for others. It can be used for training purpose also.
6. Waste generated from granite quarries will be charged at a lower or equivalent to ordinary building materials. 
 
Statutory Provision
  West Bengal Government has framed West Bengal Minor Mineral Rules, 2002  replacing the said Rules of 1973 in order to accommodate the policies laid down in the State Mineral Policy. In the new rules, stipulation have been made to ensure exploration of Granite through the process of auction/bid and detailed procedure of auction/bid and subsequent grant of Mining Lease have been provided in one of the schedules of the said Rules. It has also been stipulated in the said Rules that exploitation of Granite should be conducted in the manner prescribed in the Granite
Conservation and Development Rules, 1999 with the exceptions made in the West Bengal Minor Mineral Rules, 2002.
 
Mining Dues
  Royalty of granite in the State of West Bengal is also very- attractive. For Black, Grey and Coloured varieties royalties per cubic metre are Rs.650/-, Rs.400/- and Rs.525/- respectively. In addition to the above cess @ Rs.2.50/metric tonne is charged. Annual surface rent and water rate per acre @Rs.45/- and Rs.54/-are also charged on the lease hold area. Dead Rents per hectare per annum applicable in the State are for the First Year Rs.2000 for the second year Rs.3000/- and for the third year and onwards Rs.5,000/- respectively.
 
Present Status of Exploitation
  West Bengal Government has already allotted six blocks for exploration of granite by bidding process as per the new West Bengal Minor Mineral Rules, 2002 and fresh auctions for few more blocks would be held soon.
  Granite deposits in West Bengal are comparatively little known to the Industry but the market of Granite in West Bengal is wide open with the demand increasing day to day as a result of booming building industry in the State. West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corporation Limited is exploiting a few granite deposits in the State and is running a small Cutting and Polishing Unit on an experimental basis mainly to explore the market potential of such granite blocks and the result is quite encouraging for both domestic and export market.
     

 
 
   

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