KHETRI COPPER COMPLEX


MINING – A LEGACY OF GLORY 

Mining was flourishing at Khetri during Indus Valley civilisation. The oldest hill range of the Aravalli hills form the host for copper mineralization, giving raise to a 76 km long metallogenetic province, from Singhana to Raghunathgarh, best known as Khetri Copper Belt. 

The slag heaps at Singhana, Khetri, Papurna, Babai and many more places and the innumerable ancient workings in the form of pits, inclines, shafts etc., bear testimony to the fact that mining and smelting activities were in practice since times immemorial.
Though the recent archaeological extrapolations, arrived at on the basis of excavations at Ganeshwar, near Neem-Ka-Thana, logically ascribe the mining activity in the area to Harappa-Mohanjodaro civilization, the first recorded mention of copper mining in this belt is found in Ain-I-Akbari, written by Sheikh Abul Fazal in the year 1590, during the period of Moghul Emperor, Akbar the Great, wherein the following lines appear: 

"Babai has a stone fort and a copper mine" "Singhana Udaipur has a copper mine and a mint for copper coinage." 

It is reported that two mints were functioning at Singhana and Khetri towns up to 1869, when the British closed them. 

Though regular mining ceased in this area by 1872, sporadic mining activity continued till 1910. With the advent of 20th century, the geologists of Geological Survey of India carried out preliminary geological work without much success. With the basic geological information in hand, Jaipur Mining Corporation entered the fray in 1944, carried out surface exploration through 4 diamond drill holes and did some aditing in the area. After holding the lease for 10 years till 1955, discouraged by the results, they wound up the programme of exploration and mining. 

Geological Survey of India began systematic regional and detailed geological mapping of the area. Indian Bureau of Mines carried out detailed exploration in the area through diamond drilling from surface and exploratory mining. The decision to proceed with the development of Khetri Copper mine was taken in 1962 and National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd. (N.M.D.C.) had started shaft sinking and mine development activities in 1964. 

When Hindustan Copper Ltd. (H.C.L.) was formed on the 9th November 1967, the project was transferred to HCL to develop mining-cum-metallurgical unit. Khetri and Kolihan mines were developed by HCL in late 60s and experimental ore production started in early seventies. 
Geology: The rocks in the Khetri district belong to the Delhi super-group of pre-Cambrian age, which is sub divided into the Alwar and Ajabgarh groups. The older Alwar rocks are derived from predominantly arenaceous sediments, while the younger Ajabgarh rocks were originally of a more argillaceous nature. The transition between the two being gradational these formations are metamorphosed to quartzites, schists and phyllites. Some intrusive dolerite dykes are present, and veins of quartz and carbonates are common.
The general strike of the formations is NNE-SSW with steep to gental dips towards the WNW. The economic mineralisation which gives rise to the orebodies is mainly localised in the upper parts of the amphibole-chlorite quartzite and garnet- amphibole-chlorite quartzite/schist. The mineralisation occurs in the form of veins, veinlets, stringers and disseminations ( rarely massive), oriented in general parallel to the foliation plane.

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N G Nair, Mining Engineer from Copper Mines in India -

In Khetri mines there are two distinct ore lodes, namely the Madhan (or foot wall ) lode and the Kudhan (or hanging wall) lode. The Madhan lode is fairly persistant, containing a number of ore lenses. The Kudhan lode , on the other hand, is narrower, poorer in copper, and the lenses are less persistant. It is well formed in the central part of the mine.
The Banwas copper deposit ( Banwas Block of Kheter Copper Mine ) forms the north extension of Khetri Block and constitutes the segment extending over a strike length of the deposit in 1.20 Km.
The entire area is peneplained and shows flat topography having average RL around 350 M. The rocks are covered by thick alluvium and sandy soil. As the area is covered by soil and alluvium, the geological sequence of the rocks is established mostly by sub-surface geo data obtained through diamond drilling, The strike of the rocks varies from N 52° E – S 52° W to N 68° E -S 68° W. The dip varies from 50° to 70° due North-West.
The copper mineralisation in Banwas area in mainly confined to –

1) Biotite Quartz Schist.

2) Amphibole rich rock and

3) Amphibole Quartzite .
The host rocks, however, have varying amount of magnetite and carbonates in subordinate quantity.
The main copper ore is chalcopyrite. Pyrrhotite is the most abundant sulphide mineral followed by chalcopyrite and pyrite . Magnetite and carbonate occur in subordinate amount. The Mineralization occurs in the form of disseminations, stringers and specks. Occasionally, small sulphide veins and massive sulphide patches are also noted. Mineralization in controlled by lithology and structural features life fractures, joints and foliation planes There are four lenses in South Banwas and four lenses in North Banwas. The ore lenses in North Banwas are bigger in dimension than South Banwas. The total ore reserves of Banwas area are 25.24 million tonnes @ 1.69 % Cu.
At Kolihan Mine, three distinct lode system have been identified, Lode I(South lode), Lode II( North lode)and Lode III(East or Footwall lode) of these Lode I and Lode III are persistant but Lode II is not persistant in depth. 
The felspathic quartzite rocks which form the footwall are highly jointed but are quite competent. The hanging wall consists of phyllites. At the Kolihan Mine there is a shere zone in the phyllites which poses some stability problems during stoping. There are a number of transverse faults and shear planes, plus a number of longitudinal shears with in the area of both the underground mines.
Chalcopyrite is the principal copper mineral in the ore. Zones of mineralisation are delineated at 0.5% cu.
LOCATION :Khetri is located in the Jhunjhunu District of Rajasthan, some 190 Km southwest of Delhi, and 180 Km north of Jaipur, the state capital.
Mining Companies I've worked for - Hindustan Zinc Limited,Hindustan Copper LimitedBharat Gold Mines LimitedRajsthan State Mineral Development Corporation; Rajasthan State Industrial & Mineral Development Corporation; Khetri Copper ComplexMalanjkhand Copper ProjectKolihan Copper Mines; Mahi Graphite Project Rajasthan; Schools I've attended - School of Mines, Kolar Gold Fields,; Indira Gandhi National Open UniversityAnnamali University, Nair Service  Society  High School (NSS HS) Vechoor, Ullala Post. Thalayazham Panchayat , Vaikom. Kottayam District. Kerala


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