MINING: A GUIDE TO INDIA’S WEALTH, ITS RESOURCE CURSE
 
 
 
  Map: Hotspots  
 
 
 
State
 
 KARNATAKA   
 
     
  bullet Karnataka has the largest iron ore reserves in India, accounting for 41% of the country's total reserves.

The state is the only producer of felsite in India, and leads in the production of gold (accounting for 99%) and dunite (43%).

Just four minerals - iron ore, limestone, gold and manganese - occupy more than 75% of the state’s mined area.

The key mineral districts include Bellary, which accounts for 18% of mine leases, followed by North Kanara and Kolar (11%), Chitradurga (10 %), and Chikamagualur (9%).

Bellary district is witnessing frenzied mining activity due to the soaring demand from China.

Kollegal forests, made famous by the brigand Veerappan, are also abundant in black granite and a variety of biota (including elephants), besides sandalwood.

The other hotspots in the state include the Western Ghats (iron ore), Gulbarga (limestone), Tunghabhadra (sand mining).
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
     
 
Bellary
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gulbarga
 
 
 
BELLARY
 
It is the poster boy of globalised Indian mining industry, feeding China’s insatiable hunger for iron-ore. The region took the proportions of a mining giant when the global prices for Indian iron-ore multiplied from US $17 to US $55 a tonne in 2005-06. Today the district accounts for 84% of the iron ore produced in the state.

bullet The district, despite having the largest number of private aircrafts in the country, still has 45% of its population below the poverty line. The district is ranked 17th out of 20 districts of the state on human development index (HDI). Only 41% of its household have access to power and less than 50% are literate.

bullet Officially, the district has some 99 mines, of which 58 are functioning. The region is plagued by illegal mining activity, with more than 12,000 cases reported since the year 2000, due to which the state Government lost Rs.3000 crore between 2004-06.

Private mining companies control almost 80% of the land under lease for iron ore operations. Small farmers have cashed in on the boom by mining their agricultural farms.

Many of these small miners are responsible for some of the most egregious violations of labour and environmental laws, including child labour and failure to manage waste or soil erosion.

Mining has also negatively impacted the Vysankere forest and the Bellary reserve forest by fragmenting them. The dumping of waste material has caused a loss of topsoil in Bellary forest.
 
 
GULBARGA
 
Predominantly agricultural, Gulburga is also the country’s limestone hotspot. The region has three large limestone mines operated by Wadi Cement Works, Rajashree Cement and Vasavadatta Cement and several small quarries and crushing units dot the landscape.

The area epitomizes the things that could go wrong and is already a problem area with mineral industry i.e. mining reclamation.

Most of these mines propose to reclaim the lands, which were earlier being used for agriculture, by making water reservoirs. Rajashree Cement has already created 60 mt-deep water pits, on more than 80 ha of land since it started mining in 1984.

Only Rajashree Cement and Wadi Cement Works plan to create reservoirs over 1013 ha. However, none of these companies has consulted the community in developing the mine closure plan and are unclear whether the area requires so many reservoirs.

Limestone mines in addition to many stone quarries have already had a massive impact on the landscape and land use pattern of the area.