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subhankar karmakar

ASSAM is endowed with vast mineral resources. The major minerals like coal, oil and gas, limestone, dolomite, sillimanite and corundum, iron ore, felspar, glass-sand, refractory and fire clays, kaolin, beryl, gypsum, pyrite, vermiculite, salt, copper, gold etc. have been reported to occur in the state. The most important minerals being exploited so far in Assam are coal, oil and gas, limestone and sillimanite.

OIL AND NATURAL GAS The oil producing areas of Assam lie in the upper Assam valley and are geologically confined to the Tertiary Strata - mainly Oligocene. Assam is first state in the country where oil was struck in 1889 at Digboy. At present oil is being tapped at two areas - the Digboy and the Naharkotiya and Moran fields. Two more refineries of considerable size have come up in the public sector at Gauhati and Barauni and the third with a petrochemical complex is under way. A new refinery, Numaligarh refinery (3m. tones capacity) was commissioned on July 9, 1999. The availability of associated natural gas is dependent on the extraction of crude oil. Vast quantities of natural gas are being produced along with the production of crude oil. Only two projects under the "utilization of natural gas scheme" have so far come up in the state. These are the thermal power plant and the fertilizer factory at Namrup.

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assam minerals

LIMESTONE Limestone is a very common sedimentary rock of biochemical origin. It is composed mostly of the mineral calcite. Sometimes it is almost pure calcite, but most limestones are filled with lots of other minerals and sand and they are called dirty limestones. The calcite is derived mostly from the remains of organisms such as clams, brachiopods, bryozoa, crinoids and corals. These animals live on the bottom of the sea and when they die their shells accumulate into piles of shelly debris. This debris can then form beds of limestone. Some limestones may have been derived from non-biogenic calcite formation. Although some limestones can be nearly pure calcite, there is often a large amount or sand or silt that is included in the shelly debris. The high-grade fossil limestone or 'nummulitic' limestone deposits of Assam are geologically known as 'Syket limestone' as these belong to that groups of rocks. The limestone deposits are confined in areas of Garo hills, united Khasi and Jaintia hills, Cachar hills and Mikir hills. One of the largest outcrops of limestone is at the foot of the Khasi hills. Vast deposits of high-grade limestone are best observed in the Jowai area. Lime stones of the Khasi and Jaintia hills can be used for manufacture of cement and for lime-burning purposes. It can be used in chemical industries and for metallurgical purposes. The limestone deposits of the state offer vast scope for developing innumerable industries where limestone is required.

picture by fantafabulous
picture by fantafabulous

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