Minerals in Himachal Pradesh

Nature has blessed Himachal Pradesh with various valuable minerals such as rock salt, gypsum, clays, mica, limestone, barytes, iron, pyrite and lead, out of which salt, limestone, and slate are the most significant ones. 

Despite having a multitude of valuable minerals, Himachal Pradesh contributes to only 0.5% of the country's overall mineral production.The majority of the mineral resources are located in the Shiwalik range in the southwestern part of the state.Limestone is found in abundance in the state, making it the only mineral available in large quantities. Although the state holds several essential minerals, it possesses them in smaller quantities. 

The roots of mineral extraction in Himachal Pradesh trace back through the annals of time. From the ancient practices of slate quarrying to the modern methods employed in limestone and rock salt mining, the state's mineral heritage is a testament to its enduring significance.

Geological Context

The geological terrain of Himachal Pradesh is characterized by unique features that have been molded by the powerful Himalayas. To fully comprehend the distribution and nature of minerals that abound in this region, it is crucial to understand the distinct geological formations. However, geologists and miners are faced with intricate puzzles due to factors such as rugged terrain, harsh climatic conditions, and logistical complexities. Despite its geological significance, the Tethys Himalayan zone presents a set of challenges that hinder mineral exploration. Adverse climatic conditions, inaccessibility, and logistical hurdles limit working periods and add layers of complexity to the exploration process.

Important Minerals

Important minerals of Himachal Pradesh are discussed below:


Limestone is the most important mineral in the state and is found in abundance. It is a vital component in the manufacturing of cement, chemicals, fertilizer, calcium carbide, sugar, paper, and leather industries. 80% of mineral production in the state consists of limestone. It is mainly located in districts such as Barmana (Bilaspur), Gagal (Kangra),(Darlaghat) Solan, Mandi, Chamba (Broh, Sindh, Dhundiara), Kinnaur, Kullu, and Shimla. Additionally, limestone deposits are also present in three regions of Sirmaur district.

These regions are as follows:

- The first region is from Khari to Bhoranj, which plays an important role in cement manufacturing. A cement factory has been established in Rajban.

- The second region is Karol, located near Kamrao and Bharti regions. This area has dolomitic limestone and granular limestone.

- The third region is situated in Naura Bhangari and Jarog, at an altitude of 2150 m. This region has high quality limestone with 96.5% calcium carbonate deposits.

Definition and Composition

Limestone, a calcareous sedimentary rock, unfolds its significance through its mineral composition of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). This fundamental composition becomes a linchpin for various industrial applications, shaping the economic landscape of the region.

Role in Cement and Iron & Steel Industries

The industrial embrace of limestone extends to the heart of the construction sector. Serving as a catalyst for cement production, limestone's chemical transformation during calcination yields lime (CaO), an indispensable ingredient in cement manufacturing. Beyond construction, the iron and steel industries leverage limestone's chemical properties for diverse applications, reinforcing its economic importance.

Dolomitic Limestone

Dolomitic limestone, a mineral essential for the production of calcium and ammonium nitrate, is found in Panjota of Kothipura block in Bilaspur. The Nangal fertilizer factory of the Food Corporation of India relies on this mineral for its production needs. Additionally, deposits of dolomitic limestone can be found in Nalagarh city of Solan district and Karol of Sirmaur district.


The highest concentration of gypsum is found in Rajban, Bharti, and Korga areas of Sirmaur district. Although gypsum is also present in Kuthar area of Solan district, the quality of the gypsum is low. Additionally, Bhatri area of Chamba district has deposits of gypsum, but it is still unutilized due to a lack of mining and transportation facilities. Other areas where gypsum deposits can be found are Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur districts.


Himachal Pradesh is the leading producer of high-quality slate stone in India. Slate, a fine-grained, hard, and compact cleavable rock, is mainly found in Chamba, Sirmaur, and Khaniara in Kangra district. The state boasts over 270 slate quarries in Kangra, Chamba, Kullu, and Mandi districts. These quarries are mainly established to fulfil the local needs of slate. However, a factory has been set up in Mandi to manufacture slate tiles, which have high demand both nationally and internationally. This demand has led to the development of other factories in the region.

Traditionally, slate has been used for roofing houses in rural areas. It is derived from microcrystalline metamorphic rocks of clays and shale, possessing a cleavage that allows it to split readily into thin smooth sheets. However, the State Pollution Control Board has initiated action against slate quarries under pollution control regulations, and the High Court has issued orders for the immediate closure of slate quarrying units. These actions have led to a substantial reduction in quarrying activities within the state.

Mineral water

There are several areas in India where natural mineral water resources can be found. These include Bilaspur, Solan, Kangra, and Shimla. One particular village, Kalath, is known worldwide for its mineral water. In the Manali region of Kullu district, there are also natural mineral water resources that contain various minerals such as sodium, magnesium, calcium chloride, sulphates, phosphates, and iron.

Rock salt

Himachal Pradesh is the sole supplier of rock salt in India. It is found in two mining regions, Gumma and Darang, located in the Mandi district. The salt obtained from rocks is called Lokhan in the local language. This region is under the control of the Central Government, which is working towards increasing its production to facilitate the establishment of chemical industries.The historical journey of rock salt in Himachal Pradesh has been marked by phases of government control. Over time, strategic decisions have led to the transfer of control to Hindustan Salts Ltd in 1963.

Tracing the extension of the salt belt reveals a corridor of mineral wealth that stretches from Mandi to Jogindernagar along National Highway 20. This extensive belt not only signifies the geological richness of the region but also highlights the strategic importance of rocksalt in shaping the area's economic landscape.


Barite deposits in Himachal Pradesh are identified in various locations. These include the areas of Kanti-Mishwa-Tatyana-Dhrlal-Pipli and Tiler Dhar in Sirmaur district. Additionally, barite occurrences are found in Naldera in Shimla district and parts of Mandi district. These deposits in Sirmaur district are typically associated with Krol limestone and seem to have formed through a process of replacement. The mineral can occur either in its pure form or mixed with dolomite of the Krol Formation. In the Jogar-ka-Khala area, it is associated with Balaini Boulder beds. The significance of barite in the mineral reserves of Himachal Pradesh contributes to the overall economic importance of the state's diverse mineral resources.


Magnesite, a mineral valued for its high magnesium content, can be found in the Nachetar and Sui regions of Himachal Pradesh. The Nachetar area is specifically located in the Bharmour region of Chamba district. The magnesite ore in these regions is particularly rich in magnesium, with a content of 30% to 40%.

Silica sand

Silica sand deposits in Himachal Pradesh are extensive, with an estimated reserve of about 2.5 million tonnes up to a depth of one meter. These deposits are identified in various locations, including the Bathri, Gardhala, and Padhauri Khads in the Una District. The Geological Wing Department of Industries in Himachal Pradesh has projected that the reserve could be even more substantial in the long run due to the replenishment of boulders by seasonal high water Khads. In addition, the ravines and rills of the Una district have a vast amount of bright boulders that can be easily crushed and used to manufacture lead. Silica sand used in construction materials is found in several areas, including Pakera, Haroti, Homa, and Baturi Khads in Una district, Nihari, Chenab, and along the Satluj valley in Bilaspur district, along the Giri river in Sirmaur district, and along the Satluj river in Shimla and Kinnaur districts. This natural resource plays a crucial role in the construction industry and contributes significantly to the economic landscape of Himachal Pradesh.

Oil and Natural Gas 

There are several places in the state with potential for oil and natural gas deposits. The Chaumukh region of Sundernagar and the Renuka region near Nahan have evidence of oil. The Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) has proposed oil extraction projects in the Deotsidh region of Hamirpur and the Rameshwar region of Solan district which are important for the development of Himachal Pradesh. Additionally, the Jwalamukhi region is famous for its occurrence of natural gas.

Radioactive Minerals 

Evidence of radioactive rocks has been found in Kullu, Kinnaur, Hamirpur, and Shimla regions. Banjar town near Chhinjara, as well as the Jari region of Parvati valley, show the possibility of the availability of such minerals, as in Dhela of Garash valley.

Distribution of various minerals across different districts in Himachal Pradesh.

MicaKinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, Kullu districts
Iron oreMandi, Kullu, Kangra, Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, Shimla, Sirmaur districts
CoalSolan, Kangra, Mandi districts
CopperSirmaur, Kinnaur, Kullu, Chamba, Lahaul and Spiti, Solan districts
UraniumHamirpur and Kullu districts
KyaniteLahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur, Kullu
AsbestosKangra, Mandi, Shimla districts
BauxiteSirmaur, Solan, Shimla districts
GoldBilaspur, Kangra, Kinnaur, Kullu, Mandi, Sirmaur districts
LeadKinnaur, Kullu, Lahaul and Spiti, Shimla, Sirmaur, Solan districts and found in Sutlej river
SilverSirmaur, Kinnaur, Kullu
PyriteChamba and Shimla districts
CobaltLahaul and Spiti, Sirmaur districts
NickelKullu district
AntimonyLahaul and Spiti district
Talc/SteatiteShimla and Sirmaur
ClayKangra, Kullu, Kinnaur, Mandi, Shimla, Sirmaur, Lahaul and Spiti
Glass SandBilaspur, Kangra, Una

ALSO READ ABOUT: Climatic Zone Of Himachal Pradesh

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