By value, bituminous coal is the principal mineral produced in Indiana, which is the ninth leading coal-producing state in the Union. Other minerals produced include stone, cement, sand and gravel, crude petroleum, lime, and clays.
Most of the state’s coal comes from the great coalfield that underlies western and southwestern Indiana as well as much of adjacent Illinois. Most of Indiana’s annual coal production comes from strip-mining, in which coal lying near the surface can be easily excavated. The coal industry was heavily mechanized in the 1950s, resulting in the loss of many jobs. In 2006 some 31.9 million metric tons of coal were mined in Indiana. A problem with Indiana coal is its relatively high content of sulfur, a pollutant that goes into the air when burned. Almost all of the coal is sold to companies producing electricity from steam-driven turbines and generators, and these companies must meet federal air pollution control standards. As a result, and until a price-competitive process for “scrubbing” the coal, or cleaning it of sulfur, can be developed, the market for Indiana’s coal is likely to decline.
Indiana’s second most important mineral product is stone. Indiana leads all other states in the production of dimensional stone and is one of the nation’s major producers of limestone. Most of this superb building material is quarried in the area between Bloomington and Bedford in southern Indiana. The bulk of the state’s annual output of limestone and dolomite is used as road fill or for making cement.
Indiana regularly ranks among the top ten states in annual industrial production, as measured by income contributed by industry.
The manufacture of transportation equipment, particularly automobiles and automobile parts, was the leading industry in the state in 1996. The forging of primary metals, notably steel in blast furnaces, contributed substantially to the state’s economy. Other leading industries were the production of chemicals, particularly pharmaceuticals; the manufacture of industrial machinery, such as refrigeration units, engines, and metalworking machinery; the fabrication of basic metal components; the processing of food products, such as milled corn, packaged snacks, bottled soft drinks, and bread; the manufacture of electrical devices, such as small household appliances; and the fabrication of rubber and plastic products. Among the numerous other goods made in Indiana are furniture and fixtures, instruments, paper products, lumber and wood products, oil and coal products, clothing, leather products, and textiles.
Printing and publishing is important, especially in Indianapolis and Hammond. The state’s principal industrial area, the Calumet region, borders Lake Michigan and includes the cities of Gary, East Chicago, Hammond, and Whiting. As one of the leading U.S. centers of heavy industry the Calumet region specializes in oil refining and in the manufacture of steel and other primary metals, coke, chemicals, tar, plastics, and cement.
The excellent transportation facilities that serve the heavy industries of the Calumet link it with the major industrial and urban markets of the Midwest. They also link it with sources of raw materials, such as the coalfields of Pennsylvania and West Virginia (a source of coking coal for steel furnaces) and the iron mines of Minnesota, Michigan, and Canada. A second important industrial area is in central Indiana, encompassing the cities of Lafayette, Kokomo, Muncie, Marion, Anderson, Elwood, and New Castle, and extending into Indianapolis. The wide range of goods made in this area includes parts and accessories for motor vehicles, electrical equipment, including electronic components, household goods, and industrial equipment.
Among the other industrial centers of northern Indiana are Fort Wayne, where machinery is manufactured, and the South Bend area, which specializes in transportation equipment. Elkhart is noted for its production of musical instruments and mobile homes. A variety of other goods are manufactured in Valparaiso, Michigan City, La Porte, Hobart, and Goshen. Indianapolis, the chief industrial area in central Indiana, is a center for the manufacture of trucks, automobile parts, and aircraft engines. Chemicals, electrical equipment, and machinery are also produced in Indianapolis. In addition, flour-milling, meat-packing, vegetable processing, and printing are carried on there. Terre Haute, on the Wabash River, is a center for metal fabricating and the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, plastics, and food products. The chief industrial centers in southern Indiana lie in the Ohio and lower Wabash river valleys. New Albany, on the Ohio River opposite Louisville, Kentucky, is a major plywood manufacturing center, and Jeffersonville, also on the Ohio, is a center for the manufacture of soap and chemicals. There are a growing variety of industries, including manufacturing of aluminum, pharmaceuticals, food products, and automobiles in or near Evansville, in the southwest corner of the state. "Indiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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