Japan Mining Resources

By | January 26, 2022

According to Localbusinessexplorer, the mining industry was already quite developed in the century. VI d. C. In the following centuries, the need for metals, and consequently their production, went continuously and rapidly increasing, and this is due to the greater demand for weapons and war instruments, necessary for the epochs of long and tormenting wars that the nation had to go through, whether for casting bells, Buddhist statues, temple decorations, etc. The extraction and processing of precious metals, copper and iron became particularly active in the century. XV. it should be remembered that from 1414 d. C. Japan began to export considerable quantities of copper annually to China, while the beginning and consolidation of trade relations with the Dutch resulted in the export, in considerable quantities, of gold, silver and copper in Europe. The current, conspicuous development of the Japanese mining industry is undoubtedly due to the adoption of European methods of extraction and processing of minerals.

Of the noble metals, gold is found in the areas of contact between calcareous and granite materials, in veins and in gold-bearing sands. The main producing regions are in the south-eastern part of Kyūshū (Kagoshima province), in many parts of Hondo, in the island of Sado, in Formosa and in Korea. The gold-bearing sands of Esashi, on the island of Yezo, are very remarkable. In recent times, the district of Ōita (Kyūshū) has become the most important center of production. Silver is found in veins contained in tertiary rocks and in silver copper deposits belonging to older rocks. The best fields are those of Todoroki and Shikaribetsu, on the island of Yezo, and those of Innai, Honda and Omodani, in Hondo.

Copper is one of the most important and abundant products of the Japanese mining industry. Japanese copper ores are found in metamorphic contact deposits, displacement deposits (black ore) and veins. The Japanese characteristic copper mineral is the black mineral (called kuromono by the natives), consisting of an agglomeration of pyrite, chalcopyrite, barite, blende and galena. In addition to this there are naturally also the other copper ores common to the producing nations of the world. The most important mines are those of Besshi, in Shikoku, of Ashio, in Kwantō, and of Kosaka, in northern Japan; the latter is one of the richest and largest black ore mines. Finally, Japan is a strong exporter of copper and its minerals.

As far as iron is concerned, the country is very poor; however, several mines are cultivated in Japan in many places, for example, in Kamaishi (Iwate province), where there are metamorphic contact deposits made up of magnetite and hematite; limonite deposits are found in Abuta, on the island of Yezo, and elsewhere. In the mountainous regions of Chūgoku there are also iron sands, coming from the disintegration of granite and basic volcanic rocks, which are processed on site with high furnaces. Total iron resources hover around 40 million tons across the country, and to meet national needs, Japan must import large quantities of iron ore, especially from China and Korea.

For lead and zinc, the Kamioka mine (Ibaraki province) is currently the largest producer. The tin, on the other hand, is obtained from some mines in the Satsuma region (Akenobe, Mitato and Suzuyama). Arsenic ores are found as contact metamorphic deposits and strands in mines such as those of Naganobori, Kamioka, Sasagatani, etc. in central Japan.

Other metals, whose production is not very significant, are platinum, mercury, molybdenum, tungsten, manganese, antimony, etc.; famous is the beauty of the Japanese stibina (antimony trisulfide) crystals, whose most important deposits are those of Ichi-no-kawa (Shikoku), and Kano (Chūgoku). A mineral of considerable production is pyrite, which is found mixed with minerals of other metals, mainly in the famous deposits of Hitachi, Besshi, Kosaka, etc.

Coals abound and constitute one of the country’s greatest natural riches. Anthracites and semi-anthracites are found in Paleozoic and Mesozoic soils, among which the Jurassic deposits of Ōmine (prov. Yamaguchi) and Tsubuta are important, and the Triassic ones of the provinces of Okayama and Kyōto; there are also deposits belonging to the lower Cenozoic in the provinces of Wakayama and Ōita, but their production is scarce. The large mass of Japanese fossil coal belongs to the Cenozoic and includes bituminous, subbituminous and black lignite (Eocene and Miocene) and lignite (Pliocene) litanthracs. For the litantraci the mines of Chikuhō, north of Kyūshū, are the largest in the country, to the total production of which they contribute, alone, for 70%; immediately after come those of Miike, Karatsu, Sasebo, of Takashima, also on the island of Kyūshū. Yezo also has large reserves in the deposits of the Ishikari districts (Bibai, Horonai, Yūbari mines) and Kushiro. The mines of Jōban (Iwaki province), north-east of Tōkyō, come immediately after those of Kyūshū and Yezo for production, but the quality is lower. The deposits north of Owari and Mino (Nōbi mines) are famous for lignites.

The oil is found in fields of various kinds, belonging to the Cenozoic, which from the island of Yezo extend in a long area parallel to the coasts of the Sea of ​​Japan, through the province of Akita and Niigata, up to the city of Nagano. where they disappear to reappear in the south, in the province of Shizuoka. On the island of Yezo the most important wells are those of Koitoi, Toshibetsu and Atsuta, in the province of Akita those of Kurokawa and Toyokawa. The richest and most numerous, however, are always those of Higashiyama, Nishiyama, Ojiya and Niitsu, in the province of Niigata. Also for this important mineral product, Japan, as for coal and iron, does not provide sufficient production for its needs. The deficiency must be covered with imports from Mexico, California, Java,

Due to its volcanic nature, the country is naturally very rich in sulfur, the deposits of which generally have the appearance of our sulfataras. However, only the very rich fields (with at least 40% sulfur) are processed. The eastern region of the island of Yezo (Horobetsu), the districts to the NW. del Hondo (Matsuo, Numajiri, Nasu) and the northern part of Formosa are the regions of the Empire that abound the most.

Japan Mining Resources