Occupying an important position on the country’s map, Orissa’s rich mineral reserves constitute 28% Iron ore, 24% coal, 59% Bauxite and 98% Chromite of India’s total deposits. The state’s comparative advantage on this account has attracted the attention of many mining and metallurgical companies. In Orissa, industrialization started shortly after independence. The oldest industries in the state were coalmines at Talcher and Ib valley and paper mills at Choudwar and Brajrajnagar. After nationalization of coal in 1975 and the national policy on energy sector many power plants were set up. As a result, the Talcher-Angul area has become the power house of the state. Major industries in Orissa at the moment include an integrated steel plant at Rourkela, NALCO (National Aluminium Company Ltd.), Thermal power plants, Fertilizer plants, Pulp and paper industries, Ferro alloys plants, cement plants etc. The industrial growth in the state has mostly taken place in the areas where raw materials, water and power are available. The state can be divided into twelve industrially active zones / areas namely:
1. Rajgangpur Area (Iron & Steel, Sponge Iron, Cement, Secondary steel. Melting and rolling mill & refractories and chemicals).
2. Ib valley area (Thermal power, Sponge iron, refractories, and coal mines)
3. Hirakud area (Aluminum & rolling mills)
4. Talcher-Angul area (Thermal power, Aluminum, Coal washeries, Ferro alloys, Coal mines).
5. Choudwar area (Ferro alloys, Thermal power, pulp and paper, coke oven)
6. Balasore area (pulp and paper, ferro alloys, rubber industries)
7. Chandikhol (stone crusher, coke oven)
8. Duburi (Integrated steel, ferro alloys, rubber industries)
9. Paradeep area (fertilizer, sea food processing, petroleum coke)
10. Khurda – Tapang area (stone crusher)
11. Joda – Barbil area (iron, sponge iron, ferro alloys, iron ore crusher, mineral processing).
12. Rayagada area (pulp and paper, ferro alloys).
Total 2461 industries in large, medium and small scale are operating in the state. 47 nos. of industries are under 17 categories of polluting industries are operating in the state. As per the State of Environment Report published by Orissa State Pollution Control Board; the red, orange and green industries in the state are 1779, 561 and 414 nos. respectively.
By the end of 2006-07, there were about 92417 nos. of SSI units setup in the state. Maximum number of industries have been set up in Sundergarh district (457 nos.) followed by Khurda (356 nos.) and Ganjam districts (352 nos.).
Besides the reserves of major minerals like chromite, nickel, bauxite, iron-ore and coal; other minerals like china clay, fire clay, limestone, quartz, precious and semi precious stones, copper, manganese, graphic, vanadium etc. are also available in the state.
Iron ore is abundantly available in the districts of Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Keonjhar and Jajpur. While chromite is mostly available in Jajpur, Dhenkanal and Keonjhar districts, manganese deposits are available in Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts. Dolomite is available plentily only in the district of Sundargarh. There are two major coal bearing area in the state which are currently being exploited namely Talcher and the Ib valley. As per the latest estimation the total reserve of coal in the state is 61999 million tonne followed by iron ore (5371 million tonne), bauxite (1743 million tonne) and limestone (1015 million tonne) in Orissa.
The total number of mining leases in the state are 602 covering an area of 97020 hectares out of which working leases are 370 nos. The Orissa Mining Corporation is having 35 leases covering 19041 hectares leased area out of which 15 leases are in operation.
The mineral production in 2006-07 increased by 15.58% over 2005-06. Total 1614.45 lakh MT minerals has been produced during this period. Metallic mineral production increased by 16.96% and non-metalic also increased by 15.22%. Iron Ore is abundantly available in the districts of Mayurbhanj, Sundergarh, Keonjhar and Jajpur. Chromite is mostly available in Jajpur, Dhenkanal and Keonjhar districts. Talcher and Ib valley are two major coal bearing areas in the state having total reserve of 61999 million tonne out of which 812.81 lakh tonne was exploited during 2006-07.