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Mining Conservations and Utilization of Natural Resources in Ancient India

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History of mining in ancient India
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  Title of topic: Mining conservations and utilization of natural resources in ancient India By: Nivedita Pathak Module 01 Introduction Mining and metallurgy contributed a lot to India’s development. India has been recognized as a country well-endowed with various natural resources. Mining was practiced well in the land of India and along with mining, metallurgy of various metals also developed. This chapter will cover mining history of most well-known metals: coal, diamond, and gold. History and achievements of Indian metallurgy will also be discussed and following topics will be covered:   Mining scenario in Ancient India   Mining for mostly used minerals in India   History of Metallurgy in India   Metallurgy of mostly used metals in Ancient India Module 02 Mining scenario in Ancient India Ancient Indian Mines: Knowledge on the ancient Indian mines which were active during last three or more millennia, mines of the ores and minerals of copper, gold, zinc, lead and silver which were distributed throughout Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Bengal, Gujarat, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh etc. The technology adopted for digging, mining, transportation, processing on the spot, provisions given for aeration, and lighting in mines etc. Ancient Indian Knowledge in Metallurgy: The production and purification of metals, use of flux and slag, temperature attained technology for production and purification of metals like tin,  copper, iron, silver, zinc, lead. An understanding of the chemical reactions accomplished like oxidation, reduction, slag formation, distillation of low boiling metals etc. The fine technology used for the large scale production of bronze, brass, panchaloha, bell metal, coin making metals and many alloys mentioned in chemistry books and also in the books like Channakya’s Arthasaastra. Impressive metallic alloy preparation techniques mentioned in the Rasa books, Rasopanishad and Bharadvaajaa’s writings. Th e mental ingots, sheets, plates etc of Indian srcin excavated from other countries like Athens, Babylonia, Rome, and Egypt. How the Ancient People Initiate the Mining Techniques The process of mining the earth and finding the metals, minerals, etc and again making the earth to return back to its srcinal state consists of different steps. Generally, mining techniques can be broadly classified into two types; they are Surface Mining and Underground Mining. In pre-historic period, when the people had found metals like copper, iron on or close to earth surface, they used to manufacture some tools and weapons. The ancient known mine is the ―Lion Cave‖ which is in Swaziland. Ancient people used hammers, crude picks, etc. But they found very difficult to find the metals or any other precious stones which was in too deep. So they slowly started to invent new ideas to make the work simple. Since there is no blasting method available in that period, they first used to keep fire on the hard rocks to make it soft then they used water to cool it up and so they had broken those hard rocks easily. The slaves, prisoners of war and the people who did criminal things had forced to work on the mining areas. And the kids were used to carry the ores from the underground mining area to the outer surface. Then the people who are so weak to work underground had made to separate the rich and poor metals.  In some countries they used ―Black Powder‖ to disclose  ore veins and earth to loosen. Then as the development occurs, the people have found a plenty of techniques to find the metals, minerals and other precious stones. Some of the ancient mining techniques were- 1. Fire setting 2. Hydraulic mining 3. Reverse overshot water-wheels 1. Fire setting - fire setting method was used to fracture the rock mass during the 5th millennium B.C. In order to evacuate the consecutive fumes, aeration shafts were drilled and elaborated timbering and rock transportation methods allowed the exploitation of much complex deposit and ore (such as chalcopyrite deposits, an iron and copper sulfate).More recent archaeological examples are known from medieval Zawar Mochia in India. Fire-setting is a method of traditional mining used since prehistoric times up to the Middle Ages. Fires were set against a rock face to heat the stone, which was then doused with liquid, causing the stone to fracture by thermal shock. Some experiments have suggested that the water (or any other liquid) did not have a noticeable effect on the rock, but rather helped the miners' progress by quickly cooling down the area after the fire. This technique was best performed in opencast mines where the smoke and fumes could dissipate safely. The technique was very dangerous in underground workings without adequate ventilation. The method became redundant with the growth in use of explosives. 2. Hydraulic Mining - Hydraulic mining is a form of mining that uses high-pressure jets of water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. In the placer mining of gold or tin, the resulting water-sediment slurry is directed through sluice boxes to remove the gold. It is also used in mining kaolin and coal. Though successful in extracting gold-rich minerals, the widespread use of the process resulted in extensive environmental damage, such as  increased flooding and erosion, and sediment blocking waterways and covering over farm fields. These problems lead to its legal regulation. Hydraulic mining has since been used in various forms around the world. 3. Reverse overshot water-wheels Frequently used in mines and probably elsewhere (such as agricultural drainage), the reverse overshot water wheel was a Roman innovation to help remove water from the lowest levels of underground workings. It is described by Vitruvius in his work De Architectura published circa 25 BC. The remains of such systems found in Roman mines by later mining operations show that they were used in sequences so as to lift water a considerable height. Reverse overshot water-wheels Module 03 Mining for mostly used minerals in India Diamonds mining India was the only major producer of diamonds until the discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1866.(5) Diamond was first found in India during the 4th century B.C. India’s diamonds were recognized by many people because of its big size and beauty. India's diamonds were mined in Golconda, Hindostan, and Raolconda. The main diamond fields were in Golconda. These sites were mostly alluvial. Among all diamonds in India, diamonds of Golconda were the most recognized. Diamonds of Golconda include the Hope Diamond, Koh-I-Noor diamond, Orlov Diamond, and Sanc Diamond. Gold Mining in India India has long been mining gold, first from the placers and then to the oxidized and primary zones of a variety of deposits. Archaeological data and written records indeed indicate that India worked gold placers and the rich oxidized zones of auriferous deposits. Large scale gold mining stated with the Mauryan colonization of the Deccan by the end of 4th century B.C. Coal Mining
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