17.5: Mineral Resources - Geosciences

17.5: Mineral Resources - Geosciences

Sea salts are generated from from seawater evaporated in ponds. Other economically significant mineral derivative from seawater evaporation operations include gypsum and salts of potassium, magnesium, iodine, and bromine.

Iron-manganese nodules are hydrogenous rocks that precipitated from seawater. They form very slowing (taking millions of years to form fist-size nodules, Figure 17.5). However, large regions of abyssal plains in the deep ocean are covered with them, particularly in the southern Pacific Ocean.. Samples collected show that they are rich in iron, manganese, copper, nickel, and cobalt. Mining manganese nodules from the deep sea bed is not considered economically feasible at this time. Similarly, deposits around deep sea vents (black smokers) are also rich in valuable metals but mining them is not economically feasible. However, ancient back smoker and manganese nodule deposits have been discovered and mined on land.

Figure 17.5. Iron-manganese nodules on the seafloor on an abyssal plain in the South Pacific Ocean.

17.5: Mineral Resources - Geosciences

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Report 2016-17

During the 2016-17 academic year, the Museum hosted more than 9900 visitors, including many community members, pK-12 school groups, 4-H groups, families, and Virginia Tech faculty and students. Twelve different courses in three Colleges used the Museum for academic purposes.

Academic use: 1911 students from 56 course sections, representing 13 different courses, from 2 Colleges.

Programmatic use (education and public outreach): 3600 people total. 498 adults, 1674 pK-12 youth, 153 educators, 1273 VT students/faculty/staff, 46 loans of teaching kits or materials. The GeoFair and Mineral sale had over 500 attendees.

The VT MoGs is a favorite study and review space for students in Geoscience labs, providing access to course-specific materials as well as a wide range of high quality minerals, rocks, and fossils on exhibit to help students develop identification skills and an appreciation for these remarkable natural forms. Other exhibits clarify complex geoscience topics and highlight Departmental research programs.

Most programs are free and open to the public, with the suggested audience noted. VT Parking passes are needed only during 8-5, M-F, available free at the VT Visitor Center. Parking lots and garage nearby.
Handicap spaces are located immediately next to the building on both N and S sides.
No parking pass needed after 5 or weekends.
For more info see other parts of this website, call 540-231-6894, or email [email protected]

Virginia Tech Science Festival. Sept. 27, 2016, Saturday. Several VT Geoscience groups had exhibits at Moss Art Center.

Earth Science Week: Our Shared Geoheritage. October 9-15, 2016
Oct. 9, Sunday- EarthCache Day.
Oct. 10, Monday - Earth Science Literacy Day: follow @hokiesaurus on Twitter.
Oct. 11, Tuesday - No Child Left Inside Day. Go outside and find a rock!
Oct. 12, Wednesday - National Fossil Day: come visit the Hokiesaurus and follow @VTmeetsPaleo.
Oct. 13, Thursday - Geosciences for Everyone Day. Bring a friend.
Oct. 14, Friday - Geologic Map Day: see the second floor hallway display showing the geology of some of the famous hiking spots and landmarks around
Oct. 15, Saturday - GeoFair and Mineral Sale. Fundraiser for Museum of Geosciences Education and Public Outreach Programming.
Join us during Earth Science Week for the GeoFair and Mineral Sale on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 from 10-4pm at the Museum of Geosciences, 2062 Derring Hall, 1405 Perry St. on the VT Campus. Family-friendly activity stations presented by geoscience students and faculty, as well as affordable teaching samples and collector-quality items for sale.a mineral sale by alumni dealers who donate their proceeds to support Education and Public Outreach. VT alums Don Dalton, Frank Smith, and the Geology Club host this mineral sale to benefit the Museum. There will be specimens appropriate for gifts, teachers, kids, and serious collectors. Bring in your "unknowns" to the Mineral Identification station.

This is the same day as the Hokie BugFest: bring the family over to campus for a day of science fun!

Virginia Volcanoes. Sarah Mazza, Geosciences
Geosciences Research a la Mode
October 19, 2016, Wednesday, from 5:30-6:30 pm in the Museum, 2062 Derring
Research A La Mode continues with presentations by grad students for grad students (and others!) to practice communicating their science with the public. Also appropriate for K-12 teachers. Free, enjoy social time over ice cream.

The Great ShakeOut! Oct. 20 at 10:20. Earthquake Safety Drill. Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

Geology of the Mt. Everest Massif: a Tour of the World's Highest Rocks.
Dr. Rick Law, VT Geosciences.

Museum Public Lecture
Nov. 3, 2016, Thursday, 7:00-8:30 pm at the Museum, 2062 Derring.
Join us for this free lecture in 4069 Derring, followed by a hands-on, meet the scientists session in the Museum where we will see maps, rocks, and thin sections from Everest!
Dr. Law is a structural geologist who has worked in present day and ancient mountain belts around the world, ranging from Alaska to Argentina and from Europe to SE Asia. One of the most spectacular places he studies is Mt. Everest in the Himalayan mountain belt between Tibet and Nepal. The summit of Mt. Everest is the highest elevation above sea level on Earth, at 8848 m, almost 5.5 miles. The Himalaya formed when the Indian plate collided with the Asian plate about 50 million years ago, pushing up above sea level sedimentary rocks originally deposited in the ancient Tethys sea between India and Asia. The collision between the Indian and Asian plates is still ongoing, as most recently highlighted by the April 2015 earthquakes in Nepal that killed nearly 9000 people. Dr. Law's studies have taken him in the footsteps of some of the great 20th century explorers, including Lawrence Wager and Sir Edmund Hillary. Wager's rock samples collected from the NE Ridge of Mt Everest in 1933 are curated at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in England, while Hillary's samples collected from the summit of Everest during the first successful ascent in 1953 are kept in the Harker Collection at Cambridge University. Law's collections from Mount Everest reside at VT! (36, 1 kid)

Fear Love, Greed, and Bubbles: a brief introduction to volcanoes and volatile information in the geologic record.
Presenter Lowell Moore, VT Geosciences.
Research A La Mode Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016 from 5:30-6:30 in the Museum, 2062 Derring.

Volcanoes are a physical expression of one of the most important, oldest, and most exciting geologic processes: degassing. Volcanic degassing gives us the air we breathe, the materials we extract from the ground, and hazards that threaten our existence. Thus how gas is transferred from the deep earth to the atmosphere, what it does on the way there, and how this information is encoded in the geologic record are mysteries worth solving. Free, and ice cream! (8 VT)

Upcoming Activities Winter-Spring 2016-17

Women in (Geo)Sciences WinGs Meetings Jan 25 (4), Feb 8 (10), Mar 1, April 5.

Virginia Geology for Elementary Teachers. Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, from 4-7pm. Preservice teacher workshop with EDCI 5204. Hands-on resources and Virginia-specific information related to the Virginia Standards of Learning. Presenters are Llyn Sharp, Emma Tulsky, and Lisa Whalen. (33)

Geoscience Student Research Symposium GSRS Feb. 23-24, 2017 at ICTAS. Banquet in the Museum.

Museum Volunteer Training/Refresher for Tour Leaders. March 1, 2017. Wednesday. 2:30-3:30. preregister with [email protected]

Crab and Lobster Exoskeletons: What functions do minerals fulfill in animals? Sebastian Mergelsberg, Geosciences
Research a la Mode Public Seminar
March 13, 2017, Monday, from 5:30-6:30 pm in the Museum, 2062 Derring (12 VT)
Research A La Mode continues with presentations by grad students for grad students (and others!) to practice communicating their science with the public. Also appropriate for K-12 teachers. Free, enjoy social time over ice cream

Relevance of Museums in the 21st Century

Dr. Joe Keiper, Director, Virginia Museum of Natural History
Museum Public Lecture
March 23 ,2017, Thursday 7:00-8:30.
Public lecture in 4069 Derring Hall starts at 7. Also join us afterwards for a reception in the Museum of Geosciences, 2062 Derring, for a chance to speak with Dr. Keiper and some of the curators of Virginia Tech's collections.

Joe Keiper, Director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History, will discuss museums' changing roles over time. In the past, museums were sacred places to gather and to conduct studies of the natural world. Museums, as collections-based institutions, still act as a unique resource for scientific inquiry often storing specimens and artifacts collected in past centuries. Modern methods allow specimens collected over time to yield new information. However, today's museums play new roles in communities as economic and tourism engines, and as a public connection to science.
Dr. Keiper has been Director of VMNH since 2010, and prior to that, he was curator of invertebrates and Director of Science at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. He received his PhD from Kent State University studying tiny insects, and held a postdoctoral position at the University of California-Riverside from 1998-2000. Keiper serves on the governing councils for the Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society, the Virginia Association of Museums, and the Association of Science Museum Directors. Hist Virginia Tech connection is that he serves on the Advisory Board for Reynolds Homestead in Patrick County. He has a 10 year old son, AJ, two cats, and a snake.

Kindergarten to College: a program bringing 5th grade students to campus for a day of STEM learning and inspiration. The Museum of Geosciences offers programs lead by student volunteers over a 6 week period. March 17, 24, 31, April 7, 10.

Stormwater Education Field Day. April 12, 2017, Wednesday, 9-2pm. Christiansburg Middle School at the IWLA Outdoor Classroom. Hands-on activities about watersheds and water quality. Presenters Emma Tulsky, Rae Kuprenas.

Colors from the Past Vertebrate Paleo Title TBA. Caitlin Colleary, Geosciences
Research a la Mode Public Seminar
April 10 2017, Monday, from 5:30-6:30 pm in the Museum, 2062 Derring
Research A La Mode continues with presentations by grad students for grad students (and others!) to practice communicating their science with the public. Also appropriate for K-12 teachers. Free, enjoy social time over ice cream.

Geosciences Alumni Exhibit Open House for Alumni weekend. April 28, 2017.

International Potluck May 4, 2017, Reading Day, 12:00.

Summer 2017
The Museum of Geosciences has restricted hours during summer.

Programme profile

Top reasons to study Mineral Resources and Sustainable Mining

  • A rare opportunity to study high level education covering the whole mining value chain.
  • University of Oulu ranks in the top 76–100 universities in Mining & Mineral Engineering category in Shanghai Ranking´s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2021.
  • Excellent, cutting-edge infrastructure available for research and education - the latest software and machinery.
  • Shared courses in geosciences and engineering, including both theory and practice.
  • Work-life related studies in close cooperation with the mining industry. Internship and thesis opportunities offered to students.

Mineral Resources and Sustainable Mining is one of the few programmes in the world which cover the whole mining value chain from exploration to mining, concentration, refining and closure.

The faculty has close collaboration with the industry and teaching is provided by highly experienced and internationally well-regarded teachers. The Oulu Mining School is involved with many high-level EU projects which focus on innovation, developing new methods and refining existing processes.

The unit also has a unique, fully operational small-scale refinery for teaching purposes.

Core skills and competence

Excellent skills in and understanding of sustainable use of mineral resources and principles of sustainable mining and beneficiation, including:

  • Theoretical studies in geosciences and engineering
  • Economical and environmental aspects of mining
  • Hands-on practice in the well-equipped Oulu Mining School Research Centre and in the field
  • The latest modelling and simulation education related to the topics
  • Instrumental skills in mineral analytics.

Five specialisation options to choose from

Two in Geosciences

Economic Geology focuses on characterisation of mineral deposits and geological processes behind their genesis, forming a basis for mineral exploration.

Quaternary Geology covers a wide range of sub-disciplines including glacial geology, sedimentology, ore prospecting techniques, and hydrogeology.

Three in Mining Engineering and Mineral Processing

Mining Engineering covers a wide range of topics, including geotechnique, mining technologies, analysis of production capacity, and financing.

Mineral Processing deals with the processes to economically separate valuable minerals from the ores.

Applied Geophysics concentrates on the basic phenomena in geophysics and how to apply the knowledge, for example in mineral exploration, mapping and management of natural resources, and in environmental and engineering studies.

17.5: Mineral Resources - Geosciences

Minerals Resources

Kerala State is endowed with a number of occurrences/deposits of minerals such as Heavy Mineral Sands ( Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon, Monazite, Sillimanite) ,Gold, Iron ore, Bauxite, Graphite, China Clay, Fire Clay, Tile and Brick Clay, Silica Sand, Lignite, Limestone, Limeshell, Dimension Stone (Granite), Gemstones, Magnesite, Steatite etc. However, mining activities on large scale are confined mainly to a few minerals - Heavy Mineral Sands, China Clay and to a lesser extent Limestone/Limeshell, Silica Sand and Granite. In fact, Heavy mineral sand and China Clay contribute more than 90% of the total value of mineral production in the State.


The State owns mineral deposits like placers, china clay (kaolin), limestone, limeshell, silica sand, bauxite, graphite, iron ore, granite etc. The major mineral based industries like Indian Rare Earths Ltd., Chavara, Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd., Chavara, Malabar Cements, Walayar, Travancore cements Ltd., Kottayam, Kundara Ceramics, Kollam, English Indian Clays Ltd. (EICL), Thiruvananthapuram, Excel Glass Industry, Alappuzha, Kerala Clays and Ceramic Products Ltd., Palayangadi, Kannur are some of the mineral based industries working in the State since several years. The resources of beautiful ornamental granites in the state are being exported to different countries.



The Heavy Mineral Sand deposits in Kerala contain an assemblage of Ilmenite, Rutile, Leucoxene, Monazite, Zircon and Sillimanite. The State possesses one of the world class deposits of mineral sands in the coastal tracts

between Neendakara and Kayamkulam. This, commonly known as the Chavara deposit, after the main locality, covers a total length of 22 km and a width of about 8 km in the northern side and 6 km in the southern side. The Chavara barrier beach portion contains concentration of heavy minerals above 60%. The Chavara deposit is estimated to contain 127 million tonnes of heavy minerals with ilmenite content of 80 million tonnes from the total reserve of raw sand of the order of 1400 million tonnes. In the northern portion beyond Kayamkulam Pozhi extending up to Thottappally in Alappuzha district, the total reserve of heavy minerals estimated to the order of 17 million tonnes with ilmenite content of 9 million tonnes from the raw sand of 242 million tonnes.

Chavara barrier beach with a width of 225 m is divided into 8 blocks numbered I to VIII for separating ilmenite for the manufacture of TiO2. The blocks are apportioned between Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd. (KMML),a State Government undertaking and Indian Rare Earths Ltd. (IRE), a Government of India enterprise under the Department of Atomic Energy.

Apart from the Chavara heavy mineral deposits a number of heavy mineral placers have been delineated in different parts of the State.

# Locality Total Heavy Minerals Ilmenite Rutile Zircon Monazite Sillimanite
1 Chavara Major Deposit
127.09 79.45 5.38 4.82 0.82 28.72
2 Northern contiguity of Chavara deposit* 16.93 9.03 0.64 0.40 0.17 5.66
3 Southern Kerala^
1.83 1.15 0.11 0.12 0.05 0.27
4 Northern Kerala$
3.35 0.53 0.01 0.05 0.003 0.80

* Kayamkulam-Arattupuzha-Thrikkunnapuzha-Thottapally
^ Kannimalssery-Neendakara-Maleppuram-Odetti, Anjengo-Vettoor, Veli-Kazhakuttom, Vizhinjam-Kovalam-Pachallur
$ Valapattanam-Azhikode, Ponnani-Chavakkadu

Gold occurs in Kerala both as primary and placer deposits. The known occurrences are mainly in Wayanad-Nilambur regions. Discovery of gold in Attapady valley of Palakkad district is new and promising.

Mining activity in the Wayanad Gold Field was abandoned in the early part of the 20th century. The main reason for this appears to be the discovery of the very rich gold deposits in Kolar Gold Field in Karnataka around that time.
Investigaiton/exploration initiated by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) during the 1950's and 1960's concluded that the Wayanad Gold Field deserves more detailed studies and that exploratory mining in selected projects could prove to be economically workable. Following this, the United Nations assisted Kerala Mineral Exploration & Development Project of the State (now merged with Department of Mining and Geology) studied the gold placers in Chaliyar and Punnapuzha rivers draining Nilambur valley. Exploration for primary gold was also taken up which resulted in delineating the Maruda prospect. Two other prospects of interest have also been identified close to Maruda viz. Mannucheeni and Thannikkadavu.

Department of Mining and Geology through a detailed investigation has established a reserve of 0.55 million tonnes of grade of 4 g/tonne of gold in Marudp, Nilambur, Malappuram District Further exploration is required for planning a commercial venture for mining and extraction of gold.

Exploration through test pits carried out in placer deposits of Nilambur valley along the rivers Punnapuzha and Chaliyar puzha have indicated reserves of the order of 2.5 Million m3 of placers with 0.1 gm/m3 of gold. Possible reserves of the order of 30 Million m3 of placers were also projected for the area. In view of the gap in technology for mining of gold placers in the country, a program for exploration and pilot scale mining was taken up during 1994-'96 through French Assistance (BRGM). The studies confirmed the incidence of gold on the present day river channel with an average grade of 0.1 g/m3. The geochemical survey covering 570 km2 to locate alluvial gold placers in Nilambur valley has indicated 15 anomaly areas for further studies.

Investigations by Geological Survey of India (GSI) during 1991-92 have revealed the occurrence of primary gold in Attapady Valley, Palakkad district Systematic stream sediment sampling had helped in delineating these parallel prospective zones extending 10-22 km with a width over 2 km in the western termination of the Bhavani Shear Zone, Within these zones 12 prospects have been identified for detailed prospecting. In Kottathara prospect, 0.08 million tonnes of gold have been established over a lode length of 250 m and a true width of 2.39 m with an average grade of 12.98 g/t. Work is being continued in the adjoining Naiku Padi and in the extension zones. Puttumala had retrieved 0.0067 million tonnes of an average grade of 14.99 g/t. In view of this a conglomeration of a number of small prospects could be a viable prospecting and exploration strategy for the Attappady gold deposits.

Five iron ore deposits of banded magnetite quartzite type have been identified in

Kozhikode District and one in Malappuram District. Geological Survey of India/Department of Mining and Geology,National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) and United Nations assisted Kerala Mineral Exploration & Development Project have explored the deposits of iron ores in these areas.

These deposits are estimated to contain 84 million tonnes of reserve (geological reserves) with iron content varying from 32 to 41 %. The reserves and the percent of Fe content are as follows:

Locality Oxidised(million tonne) % of Fe Unoxidised(million tonne)
% of Fe
Total(million tonne)
Eleyettimala 14.7 39.4 4.5 31.5 19.2
6.1 39.8 3.7 33.7 9.8
4.3 41.2 - - 4.3
Cheruppa 3.2 35.5
7.5 31.7 10.7
Alampara 9.0 35.6 26.2 35.2 35.2
Korattimala 1.9 37.7 2.5 33.6 4.4

Bauxite occurs in close association with laterite all along the west coast of the State. Traces of bauxite are seen in almost all laterite cappings. But bauxite deposits of economic significance in south Kerala are a few and are located at Sooranad, Vadakkumuri, Chittavattom, and Adichanallur in Kollam district and Mangalapuram, Chilambil, Sasthavattom and Attipra areas of Thiruvananthapuram district. Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd. (MECL) have conducted extensive studies of bauxite occurrence of Kasargod and Kannur districts in North Kerala during the period between 1968-'74 including geological mapping, pitting, drilling and sampling.

Based on various investigations, the total bauxite reserves in the State are estimated at 12.5 million tonnes. The largest bauxite deposits are in Nileswaram with a reserve of 5.32 million tonnes of grade around 45% AI2O3 and SiO2 less than 5%.

China clay (kaolin) consisting dominantly of kaolinite is one of the most sophisticated industrial minerals with a host of applications, viz., in ceramics, refractories, paper coating, filler for rubber, insecticides, cement, paint, textiles, fertilizers and others including abrasives, asbestos products, fibreglass, chemicals, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, electrical ware, foundry and glass.

The Department of Mining and Geology through their past investigation campaigns in parts of Kerala,

identified two major china clay zones viz., the southern china clay zone between Thiruvananthapuram and Kundara (Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts) and the northern china clay zone between Kannapuram Madayi -Cheruthazham in Kannur district to Nileswarm - Manjeshwaram in Kasargod district. An estimated reserve of 172 million tonnes (probable reserve of 80 million tonnes and possible reserve of 92 million tonnes) of china clay of sedimentary and residual origin has been arrived at.

Kerala china clay is one of the finest quality clay and is world class. In fact, Kaolin marketed by English Indian Clays Ltd. (EICL), Thiruvananthapuram claims to have similar or even better properties compared to imported clays.

The paper coating grade china clay is produced by English Indian Clays Ltd., Thiruvananthapuram and Kerala Ceramics Ltd., Kundara. Ceramic grade high quality china clay is produced by Kerala Clays and Ceramic Products Ltd. (KCCP) from their mines at Kannapuram and Pazhayangadi, Kannur District and Pudukai, Kasargod District.

Among the 25 working china clay mines in Kerala, 17 are in Thiruvananthapuram, 4 in Kollam, and 2 each in Kannur and in Kasargod districts, and these jointly produced 4,47,000 tonnes in 2000-'01 fiscal. Kerala has a prominent place in the refined clay map of the country, contributing about 58% of the national annual out put.
Being the largest producer of high grade processed china clay, the enormous export potential and relatively good infrastructure like ports, road and rail links, Kerala is yet to make a mark in the export of china clay. In spite of a four fold jump in the production of R.O.M. or raw clay in the past two decades, the corresponding rise in the output of processed clay was only three fold.

Potential for China Clay Industries

The very large reserves of china clay, identified and proved by the Department, calls for new mining ventures and clay based industries. The Data Repository of the Department and Kerala Clay Data Book of Regional Research Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram have adequate data and information on china clay in Kerala. Jointly these database provide most useful baseline data, like color, plasticity, tensile strength and particle size, to diverse users and industries.

Ball clay (inferred reserve of 5.67 million tonnes) is found to occur in certain areas in Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kannur districts. Though it does not conform to specification of ball clays, yet it is considered to be a good substitute. At present, there is no commercial production.

The fire clay occurrences are in association with Tertiary sediments in the coastal land and the inferred reserve stands at 11.50 million tonnes. However, this resource is waiting to be exploited.


The tile and brick clays are usually of low grade and red burning. The main requisites are that they should mould easily and burn hard at low temperature. There are about 400 tile factories and about 5000 brick kilns spread over the entire state to manufacture tile and bricks. The vast resources of alluvial clays in the paddy land and valley fill areas are used by this industry in the State. Clays available for the manufacture of tiles are mostly found in the districts of Thrissur, Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur and Palakkad Districts.

There are two main types of tile and brick clays in the State, lacustrine and floodplain. The former are confined to Kannur district. Clays are generally fine plastic to dull white to variegated colours and occur in the depressions in the laterite near Pattuvam, Alakode, Thaliparamambu etc. The flood plain deposits, which occur in the neighbourhood of rivers are found in a number of districts.

Tile manufacturing units are concentrated in certain areas in the State mainly Feroke area of Kozhikode district, Amballur, Ollur of Thrissur district, Aluva of Ernakulam district, Chathannur of Kollam district and Amaravila of Thiruvananthapuram district.

Graphite occurs in nature in the form of vein, dissemination (flaky) and amorphous variety. The first two types of occurrences are found in Kerala. The vein - type graphite mined earlier around Veli, Vellanad and Changa is confined only to the Thiruvananthapuram district. The flake type of graphite is extensive in occurrence in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam districts which have been studied by Geological Survey of India and are quite akin to the celebrated flaky graphite mined in the Malagasy Republic. The graphite occurs as thin flakes distributed more or less evenly in the rock constituting on an average about 5% -10% of the bulk of the rock, although rich pockets are not uncommon. The studies in various laboratories in the country and abroad in respect of the bulk samples collected from the flaky graphite deposits of Vadakode, Nagapuzha (Muvattupuzha taluk, Ernakulam district) and Chirakkadavu (Kanjirappally taluk, Kottayam district) point to good beneficiation characteristics, a high recovery of fixed carbon (about 85%) and preservation of suitable flake size facilitating their use in key value added industrial application like crucible manufacture etc. The reserve position in respect of the flaky graphite deposits of Ernakulam and Kottayam districts are given below:


The coastal tract between Alappuzha and Aroor in Alappuzha District contain extensive deposits of silica sand. The best deposits are confined to the narrow strip of land sandwiched on either side by Vembanad lake and stretching from Cherthala to Arookutti over a distance of about 35 km. Besides there are also smaller deposits in other districts of Kerala.

The sand deposit comprises of flat to gently dipping sandy stretches, generally about 5m above Mean Sea Level.

Vertical sequence
0-0.75 m below ground level White sand mixed with soil
0.75-2.50 m below ground level White sand
2.50-10.00 m below ground level Brown sand

Reserves of Deposit Based on the recent appraisal carried out by the Department of Mining and Geology over the open area likely to be available for mining, the inferred reserve of silica sand in the villages are estimated as below:

Village Approximate area in hectares Reserve in million tones
Pallipuram 300 18.40
Thycauttuserry 120 6.50
Panavally 50 3.50
Total 470 28.40

Quality of Sand

Investigation carried out at Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Thiruvananthapuram have revealed that the silica sand of Pallippuram is superior compared to the sands of certain other countries (Mdina and Baraboo of USA and Germany) as raw material for silica refractory. Chemical analysis indicates that the sand are of high quality suitable for glass manufacturing. The brown sands occurring below the white sand in Varanad area have also shown that they are superior in quality to the white sand in the same area and are suitable for manufacture of glass. Varanad sand could be used for making high grade colourless glass such as crystal glass, table ware etc. The scope for beneficiation of the sand established its usefulness in optical and ophthalmic glass industry. The products suit to the specification of sheet rolled and polished glass manufacture as per US Bureau of Standards.

Lignite, the only fuel mineral discovered recently in the State assumes special significance. Since no coal deposits have been identified and the landed cost of coal remains high, the possibility of substitution of coal and fire wood by lignite in the user industries would be worth pursuing. As per the recommendations of the task force on lignite constituted for Kerala, the erstwhile Kerala Mineral Exploration & Development Project had carried out detailed investigation for lignite in Madai area, Kannur district.

Detailed exploration including drilling taken up revealed that lignite occurs in multiple seams having an average cumulative thickness of 4.65 m. Calorific values ranges from 1583 to 4556 K cal/kg and the average is 2830 K cal/kg. A reserve of 5.40 MT have been estimated from this area of 1.19 km2. Small as well as pilot scale tests on the lignite samples established fluidised bed combustion and a high combustion efficiency (more than 96%) of lignite.

Detailed exploration carried out by the department in NileswaramAnkakalari-Palayi-Chathamath area in Kasargod district has identified lignite seams at a depth of 18 m. The average cumulative thickness is about 4 m,

and the average calorific value is about 2250 K Gal/kg. The reserves estimated tentatively are of the order of 250 million tonnes. The exploration also indicated 2 million tonnes of China clay and 3 million tonnes of plastic clay in the area.

Drilling at Kadankottumala, near Cheruvathur has indicated that lignite seams of average cumulative thickness of 2.85 m occur in the sedimentaries in the depth range from 16.70 m and 33.40 m. A reserve of 1 million tonnes of lignite has been estimated tentatively. In Kayyur-Klayicode area east of Nileswaram a reserve of 0.55 million tonnes of lignite with clay has also been estimated.


Crystalline Limestone

Kerala State is deficient in crystalline limestone and only a few bands of crystalline limestone in Palakkad and Idukki districts have been located in addition to the limestone deposit proved at Pandarathu, Walayar, Palakkad district. The Pandarathu limestone deposit (24 million tonnes) is now the captive mine producing limestone for M/s. Malabar Cements Ltd., the Portland cement plant in Kerala.

A number of small bands have also been identified in other localities in Nattuvanki, Athurasram, Vannamadai, Thavalam in Palakkad district and in a few localities in Idukki district.

Kankar Limestone

Limestone of Kankar variety has been reported from Chittoor- Kozhinjampara area in Palakkad district. The economic significance of low-grade limestone has not been indicated by the studies conducted so far. The 16 km2 area between Thavalam and near Anaiketty shows that kankar caps the amphibolite over 0.3 km2.

Fossiliferous Limestone

Fossiliferous Limestone is known to occur in various parts of Kollam district such as Kallurkadavu, Mughathala, Kannanallur, Kottiyam, Mayyanad, Nedumgandam and Edava in Thiruvananthapuram district. The occurrence of shell limestone is in the form of discontinuous lenses intercalated with black carbonaceous clay in the Tertiary formations.

The State is deficient in high-grade limestone. Consequently the requirement of lime for chemical industry is depended on the limeshell resources occurring in the backwaters/estuaries, river mouths and lagoons along the coastal tract.

By far the largest reserves of lime shell are known to occur in Vembanad lake and adjoining portions comprising parts of Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Kottayam Districts. The Department of Mining and Geology by its detailed investigation in certain parts of Vembanad lake and adjoining areas have established a reserve of 3.29 million tonnes as shown below:

Locality Reserve in million tones
Vembanad Lake 2.50
Kualsekharamanagalam 0.18
Thannirmukkom 0.25

The lime shell resources next in importance to Vembanad lake are those in Kannur and Kasargod districts in North Kerala.

The department had also investigated on the occurrence of limeshell in Thrissur, Malappuram and Kannur districts and the reserves indicated are as follows:

Area Reserve in million tones
Thrissur District: Naduvullikara,
Vadanapalli, Chettuva, and Kappad
Kannur District: Payyannur, Cheruvathur, and Thrikkarippur 0.29
Malapuram District: Kanhiramukku 0.14
Iswaramangalam, and Edappal

A total possible reserve of 0.037 million tonnes has been estimated in Mulli-Salayur areas, Attappadi in Palakkad District by the Department of Mining and Geology. In Salayur area, magnesite veins varying in thickness from 10 to 30 m were observed in pits. The average recovery of magnesite was assessed as 100 kg/m3 of magnesite - bearing rocks and samples on analysis were found to contain 43.05 to 46.73% MgO, 1.51 to 6.59% of Si02 and 0.29 to 0.59% of CaO.


It is consumed in many manufacturing industries of paper, insecticide, textile, fertilizers, ceramics, rubber products, cement, asbestos etc.

Several steatite occurences have been identified in Thalassery Taluk of Kannur district. The total reserves estimated are of the order of 7.94 million tonnes.


An important aspect of recent trend in architecture and construction is the increasing use of a

host of crystalline rocks as dimension stones after being cut and polished for enhancing aesthetics and decor of buildings and monuments. In this regard a number of rock types broadly grouped as"Granite" that exist in various parts of Kerala are utilised for this purpose.

The major granite belt of Kerala can be classified by its geologic setting into three categories:

  • Charnockite-Khondalite belt of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts (colour ranges from pale green with mottled red, bluish green with cordierite, deep dark green, greyish white).
  • True intrusive or anatectic granites and associated migmatites of Proterozoic age from Idukki, Palakkad, Kannur, Kasargod and Wayanad districts (colour: Pink, light pink, Gray, yellowish white and bluish pink with wavy .patterns).
  • Dolerite-Gabbro dykes, Proterozoic intrusive hypabasal dyke swarms from Kottayam, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts (colour: dark greenish blue, black and dark gray with black spots).

In Kerala, the importance of exploration of granites has been recognised rather late although investigations have been initiated right from 1976. There has been a spurt in quarrying leases for granite dimension stone in the early nineties that resulted in creatiol"1 of international market for green and white coloured granites of Kerala. Though Kerala has large resources of dimension stone granite in most of the districts amenable for being cut and polished, there are only 19 quarries producing 3589 cbm annually (2001-'02) which is low compared to the production of other southern States of Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

In Kerala, the importance of exploration of granites has been recognised rather late although investigations have been initiated right from 1976. There has been a spurt in quarrying leases for granite dimension stone in the early nineties that resulted in creatiol"1 of international market for green and white coloured granites of Kerala.

Though Kerala has large resources of dimension stone granite in most of the districts amenable for being cut and polished, there are only 19 quarries producing 3589 cbm annually (2001-'02) which is low compared to the production of other southern States of Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

There are three different geological setting in which gemstones occurs in Kerala viz.

- the pegmatites traversing the crystalline rocks
- in association with gravels in the river channels of the present day
- in the older gravels which are often consolidated and lateritised

These settings have fairly extensive geographical distribution in Thiruvananthapuram district, the localities of importance are Andoorkonam, Aruvikkara, Balaramapuram, Bonaccord Estate, Braemore Estate, Changa, Chullimanur, Madathara, Manickkal, Pirappancode, Venjaramoodu, Venganoor, Vembayam, Thonnakkal, Uzhamalakkal, Manvila, Mudakkal, Nedumangad, Vellanad, Nettani, Ooroottambalam, Pothencode and in Kollam, the main gem bearing localities are Adukkalamula, Podiattuvila, Kulathupuzha, and Talachira. Besides these localities several stretches of rivers like Kallar- Vamanapuram Ar, Karamana Ar, Neyyar in Thiruvanathapuram District and Kulathupuzha, Kallada rivers in Kollam district are also subjected to sporadic mining activities, though there is no legalized gem mining in the State.

Critical Minerals

Critical minerals are those that are essential to the economy and whose supply may be disrupted. Critical minerals also tend to be those on which a country is heavily import-reliant, so the minerals that are deemed critical will vary from country to country. Demand for many of these minerals has skyrocketed in recent years with the spread of high-tech devices that use a wide variety of materials.


Critical minerals are mineral resources that are essential to the economy and whose supply may be disrupted. The 'criticality' of a mineral changes with time as supply and society's needs shift. Table salt, for example, was once a critical mineral. Today, many critical minerals are metals that are central to high-tech sectors. They include the rare earth elements and other metals such as lithium, indium, tellurium, gallium, and platinum group elements. Read more

DENR7 employees strengthen knowledge on management of mineral resources

Embedded personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 have reinforced and strengthened their knowledge on the environment, particularly on the management of mineral resources through its ENR Frontline Course through virtual presentation on January 14.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 Director Armando Malicse shared his knowledge and expertise on mineral resource management services to the event participants from PENR and CENR Offices.

He emphasized that as DENR focal persons, employees must also know about the country’s rich natural resources under the ground and the different mining companies that help harness the full potential out of these resources.

This way, they can help implement and spread the information about the various mining laws and regulations in the country aimed to protect these resources, Malicse added.

A total of 25 DENR personnel attended the nine-day learning event. They were equipped with basic information on (a) Introduction to Mining, (b) Status of Mining and Minerals Industry in the Philippines, (c) Introduction to the RA 7942 and DAO 2010-21, (d) SHES Provision at Each Stage of Mining Operation, (e) Financial Mechanisms for the Implementation of Environmental Programs, and (f) Common Lapses of Contractors/ Permittees/Permit Holders in SHES & Mining Tenements Components (IO).

17.5 Human Interference with Shorelines

There are various modifications that we make in an attempt to influence beach processes for our own purposes. Sometimes these changes are effective, and may appear to be beneficial, although in most cases there are unintended negative consequences that we don’t recognize until much later.

An example is at the beach near Comox (described above), which has been armoured with rip-rap and concrete blocks in an attempt to limit the natural erosion that is threatening the properties at the top of the cliff (Figure 17.19). As already noted, the unintended effect of this installation will be to starve Goose Spit of sediment. As long as the armour remains in place, which might be several decades, there is a risk that the spit will start to erode, which will affect many of the organisms that use that area as their habitat, and many of the people who go there for recreation.

Seawalls, like the one around Vancouver’s Stanley Park (Figure 17.28), also help to limit erosion and can be very pleasant amenities for the public, but they have geological and ecological costs. When a shoreline is “hardened” in this way, important marine habitat is lost and sediment production is reduced, and that can affect beaches elsewhere. Seawalls also affect the behaviour of waves and longshore currents, sometimes with negative results.

Figure 17.28 The seawall at Stanley Park, Vancouver []

Another example is at Sunset Beach in Vancouver. As shown in Figure 17.29, a series of rip-rap breakwaters (structures parallel to the shore) were built in the 1990s and sand has accumulated behind them to form the beach. The breakwaters have acted as islands and the sand has been deposited in the low-energy water behind them, in the same way that a tombolo forms. This can be seen from a photograph taken from the Burrard Bridge in 2015 (Figure 17.30). The two benefits of this project are that a pleasant beach has been created, and some of the sediment that previously would have been moved into False Creek, and could have blocked its entrance, has been trapped in English Bay. The negative impacts are probably not well understood, but have likely involved loss of marine animal habitat.

Figure 17.29 Map of the impact of breakwaters (or groynes) on beach formation at Sunset Beach, Vancouver [SE] Figure 17.30 Photograph of the impact of breakwaters on beach development at Sunset Beach, Vancouver [by Isaac Earle, used with permission]

Groynes (or groins in the U.S.) have an effect that is similar to that of breakwaters, although groynes are constructed perpendicular to the beach (Figure 17.31), and they trap sediment by slowing the longshore current.

Figure 17.31 A groyne at Crescent Beach, Surrey, B.C. []

Most of the sediment that forms beaches along our coasts comes from rivers, so if we want to take care of beaches, we have to take care of rivers. When a river is dammed, its sediment load is deposited in the resulting reservoir, and for the century or two while the reservoir is filling up, that sediment cannot get to the sea. During that time, beaches (including spits, baymouth bars, and tombolos) within tens of kilometres of the river’s mouth (or more in some cases) are at risk of erosion.

Chapter 11 - Finland’s Mineral Resources : Opportunities and challenges for future mining

This chapter provides an overview of Finland’s metallic mineral resources, including past production and presently identified and assumed resources. We also discuss the exploration potential and challenges for future mining in Finland.

Forty-seven metallogenic areas have been defined in Finland, and there are more than 30 different genetic types of mineral deposits. Mining in Finland focused on Fe and Cu in past centuries, and gradually also included Zn, Ni, Cr, and Au from the 1930s to the 1980s. Currently, 12 metal mines are in operation. Ore production has increased to an all-time high for Cr, Au, and Ni, and there are interesting occurrences for numerous other commodities. The ultimate resources of various mineral commodities are impossible to accurately define. Most deposits are insufficiently studied or have not been discovered, therefore forming untapped reserves for future mining. Changing needs of raw materials and improving mining and processing technologies allow new types of deposits to be excavated.

Mine development is becoming increasingly difficult because of growing competition with other land use purposes and tightening regulations. The green mining concept was developed in Finland as a tool to promote future sustainable and acceptable mining.

In 2005, South Carolina’s nonfuel raw mineral production was valued at $659 million, based upon annual U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data. This was a nearly 24% increase from the State’s total nonfuel mineral value of $532 million in 2004, which was up 4.7% from 2003. South Carolina was 28th in rank (27th in 2004) among the 50 States in total nonfuel mineral production value and accounted for more than 1% of the U.S. total.
(Text taken from the 2005 Minerals Yearbook.)

South Carolina's state gem stone is the Amethyst. Amethyst is a light or dark purple variety of quartz. Typically, it is translucent, and the better specimens will have fine-pointed, six-sided crystal terminations. One of the best specimens of amethyst ever found was on a property near Due West, South Carolina, and it is currently displayed at the American Museum of Natural History. Amethyst crystals have also been found near Lowndesville and Antreville in Abbeville County.

An earth science study kit containing 24 South Carolina minerals and rocks with a 22-page booklet is available for purchase.

Watch the video: Marine Mineral Resources. Economic Geology. Polymetallic Nodules,SMS Deposits,Gas Hydrates.#GSImains