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Minerals are naturally occurring substances which have definite physical properties and chemical composition. Geologists define mineral as a homogenous, naturally occurring substance with a definable internal structure. Minerals are found in various forms ranging from the hardest diamond to the softest talc.
Minerals are basically found in rocks in the earth’s crust as ores. Ore is an accumulation of any mineral along with other elements. The factors that favoured the concentration of Iron and Steel industry in the Chhotanagpur region are:
• Proximity to production centres- Most of the metallic minerals are formed in the old crystalline rocks. In India, it is mainly found in the peninsular plateau. Over 97% of coal reserves of the country occur in the valleys of Damodar, Sone, Mahanadi and Godavari. Most of the major mineral resources are deposited to the east of Mangaluru and Kanpur. This forms the North-Eastern Plateau Region that covers Chhotanagpur (Jharkhand), Odisha Plateau, West Bengal and parts of Chhattisgarh making it an ideal spot or the concentration of iron and steel industries.
• Transportation- The area is highly connected with all forms of transportation. It has an inexpensive water transport network, reinforced by a good network of railways, roadways and waterways. This helps in the easy and cheap movement of raw material to the industries.
• Availability of resources- The extraction and the processing of the raw minerals extracted requires huge water resources. The Chhotanagpur plateau region is bestowed with huge river systems like the Narmada, Tapi, Mahanadi, Godavari and its tributaries. Thus the availability of water and other resources for extraction makes it ideal for the establishment of industries.
• Labour- Labour is another factor that has to be considered while establishing industries. Cheap labour can be obtained from West Bengal and adjoining states of Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.
• Allied services- Kolkata, Mangaluru, Bengaluru and other cities provide adequate banking, insurance and port facilities for the export and production of the goods. Many people are associated with the industry directly and indirectly.
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