What are Limestone’s?
Limestone’s is a term used to describe any calcareous rocks which are sedimentary in nature. These rocks, being calcareous contains mainly of carbonates. In fact, of all sedimentary rocks on earth, 10 percent comprises of limestone.
Limestone usually consists of a composition of Magnesium Carbonate in various forms. When Limestone’s get altered due to metamorphism, they are called Marbles. Limestone is a kind of sedimentary rock; therefore, it mostly has the properties and appearance of sedimentary rocks. Therefore, most limestone’s, like sedimentary rocks have a grain like composition.
These ‘grains’ are mostly remains of skeletons of aquatic plants and animals. But, not all lime stones comprises of these granular molecules and are formed by pure chemical precipitation of matter such as calcite. In fact, limestone’s can be of four forms, crystalline, clastic, granular, or massive.
The form that the mineral will take depends on the conditions it was subjected to when it was being formed. Other than Magnesium Carbonate in various forms, limestone’s also contain other materials such as silica in its chert form, sand, silt, clay, etc.
Other kinds of limestone’s include Travertine limestone’s, coral limestone’s, marl limestone’s, onyx limestone’s, etc. Limestone’s are important building materials and support a lot of industries and are therefore important for a nation’s prosperity.
Uses of Limestone’s
There are many uses of limestone’s. As said earlier, it is a great building and construction material and has been used throughout the centuries as a key material used in construction of buildings all over the world.
Besides its usage as a construction material, limestone is also used in the production and manufacturing of many important materials such as cement, slaked lime, mortar, etc. Limestone’s are also sometimes used in blast furnaces and glass making and cutting.
Limestone is cheaper than its alternatives, and therefore many manufactures prefer it. Therefore, some manufacturers add limestone as a white pigment to products such as toothpaste, paint, etc.
Limestone Production in India
According to the Indian Minerals Yearbook 2013 by the Bureau of Indian Mines under the Indian Ministry of minerals, “The total resources of limestone of all categories and grades as per UNFC system as on 1.4.2010 are estimated at 184,935 million tonnes, of which 14,926 million tonnes (8%) are under reserves category and 170,009 million tonnes (92%) are under remaining resources category.”
Limestone industry is a growing one, showing exponential increase production as well as consumption and profits. In fact, the total production of limestone in India increased from 2.96 million tons in 1951 to the staggering number of 145.55 million tons in 2003.
The value of production also showed increase from approximately Rupees 10 million in 1951 to Rupees 15,249 million by 2003. Therefore, there is a lot of potential in the limestone industry, and India has a developed and economically sound industry for the manufacturing and consumption of limestone minerals.
There are many limestone reserves in India that contribute to the total limestone mined and manufactured in India for its use in other industries. In fact, there were reported 723 mines in 2013 according to a recent survey.
Also, according to that survey, more than 95 percent of total limestone manufactured in India was the one suitable for cement. Therefore, cement industry is the most important consumer of the limestone manufacturing industry.
These reserves are spread all over the country and almost all states in India contribute in some way or the other in the production and consumption of limestone in India. However, the top contributing states are Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh which together account for more than half of the limestone production in India.
State wise Distribution of Limestone Reserves in India
Limestone reserves in Himachal Pradesh are present in Gumma Rohana area in Shimla and Dhara Badhu are in Mandi.
Limestone reserves in Chhattisgarh are situated in Raipur at the Kesla and Tekapar areas and the Birsatpal area in Sukma. In this area, limestone that are found are hard, grey, pink and stromatolites. Limestone suitable for cement industry was also found.
In this area, there are about 54.88 million tonnes of limestone reserves present. Limestone reserves are also present at the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh where limestone was found embedded in small molds.
Chhattisgarh is rich in Limestone resources and contributes around 26 per cent of India’s over all limestone production and manufacturing.
Limestone reserves are found in Nagaur district near Harima area. The limestone minerals found here are of superior quality and is called dolomite limestone. Besides Dolomite limestone, limestone suitable for manufacturing for the cement industry is also present.
Limestone reserves are also found in Jathera Kharat and Surpalia areas in the Nagaur district which have huge quantities of Dolomite limestone minerals. In Rajasthan, limestone reserves are also found in Jaisalmer.
According to a recent survey in 2013 by the Indian Minerals Yearbook 2013, amongst all states, Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of limestone in India and accounts for about 22% of the overall production of limestone in India.
The districts in Andhra Pradesh with limestone producing reserves are Mahbubnagar, Cuddappah, Karimnagar Vishakhapatnam, Kurnool, Guntur, Nalgonda, Adilabad, etc.
In Gujarat, limestone reserves are located at Banas kantha district, Junagarh district, etc. They are of good quality and quite economical. Gujarat is one of the top producers of limestone in India.
In Karnataka, limestone reserves are located near Bijapur, Belgaum, Shimoga and Gulbarga districts. Karnataka is also a huge contributor to the production of limestone in India.
There are many other states in India that have limestone reserves which produce a considerable quantity of limestone but they contribute less than the states mentioned above. Their share in the total production of limestone in India is less.
Limestone is an important mineral resource and the study and survey of its production, consumption and manufacture is extremely important. In fact, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Pyramid of Egypt has limestone as its primary building material.
Limestone today is used in a variety of industries in a variety of ways. These industries are the cement industry, the steel industry, the glass industry, etc. India has huge reserves of limestone all over the country that produce this mineral in considerable quantity.
Limestone industry in India is huge and flourishing. In ways that are direct and indirect, limestone industry is a major player in the Indian economy and its development. Hence, limestone reserves in India need to be properly studied and researched so that they are used and mined in the most efficient and economical way possible.