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Russian minerals.

Vast resources of great variety and potential. Considerable effort is being put into finding deposits to replace those of other CIS countries upon which Russia formerly relied

The new Russia has a large mineral and raw material base. It has been created by the long-term efforts of geologists and should ensure the development of the country's economy and determine, to a major extent, its export potential in the coming years. At present, the state of Russia's mineral and raw material base as regards certain minerals (manganese, chromium, mercury, uranium, fluorite etc.) has changed with the establishment of several independent states in place of the former USSR, in whose territory the major deposits of the above minerals are now located.

By the end of the 1980s, the Soviet Union had a unique mineral and raw material base for ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, the chemical industry, agriculture and, particularly important, for the fuel and power industry. In terms of the latter, good examples are the discovery, exploration and development of the west Siberian oil and gas province, one of the largest in the world, and the operation of the world's largest base for nuclear power based on the Kyzyl Kum, Chu-Sarysu, North Kazakhstan, Ukrainian and Transbaikal uranium provinces.

A significant event was the discovery of diamonds in Yakutia and, in recent years, in the Arkhangelsk region, as well as the identification of essentially new types of diamondiferous deposits of significant extent, that is the 'impact' deposits in northern east Siberia and metamorphogenic ones in Kazakhstan.

Construction of the Baikal-Amur Railway (BAR) brings hope that, in the Chita region, the Udokan copper deposit, one of the largest in the world, can be developed commercially, as well as large gold deposits within the belt adjoining the BAR; Sukhoi Log on the Baikal-Patom Upland and deposits of the Aldan Shield. Overall, several tens of thousands of different mineral deposits, needed for industry, agriculture and civil and industrial engineering, have been discovered in the course of geological exploration in Russia and other CIS countries during the last 40 years. Most have yet to be evaluated.

These advances are, to a major extent, due to the development of geological science and the improvement of prospecting and exploration procedures and equipment.

Russia is now embarked on the task of providing the most efficient expansion of the raw material base for the existing mining enterprises and finding new ore regions and deposits for the improvement of the raw material base of Russia because of the broken economic links between Russia and some of the CIS countries. In the process of this work emphasis should be placed on new types of minerals, new types of ore and non-ore minerals, and new territories which are as yet undeveloped by mining enterprises.

The current position and means of expanding the mineral and raw material base are discussed below for major minerals, that is fuel minerals (oil, gas, coal, uranium), ferrous and non-ferrous metals, rare and precious metals, diamonds, and industrial minerals (fluorite, chemical raw materials, magnesite).

Oil and gas

Russia has some of the world's largest oil and gas reserves. In 1986, 561 Mt of oil and 503 billion |m.sup.3~ of gas were produced. The west Siberian oil and gas province covers the Tyumen region, significant parts of the Tomsk, Omsk and Novosibirsk regions and the western Krasnoyarok Territory. Over 300 oil and gas reservoirs, some unique such as that at Samotlor, occur in Meso-Cenozoic formations. In Timan-Pechora Province, oil and gas fields are found within an extensive stratigraphic range, from Ordovician to Triassic. In the large Volga-Urals province (Volga area and western anti-Urals) oil is mainly found in Devonian and Carboniferous rocks, and gas in Permian formations.

The prospects of building up petroleum potential within continental structures are associated with proving oil resources in the Yenisel-Anadyr, Tunguska and Lena-Vilyui oil and gas provinces. The potential of the cis-Caspian and north Caucasus-Mangyshlak provinces has not been adequately studied.

However, an important future source should be the Russian continental shelf which covers 6.2 million |km.sup.2~ and accounts for a quarter of the world's ocean shelf. Some 70-75% of the Russian shelf is composed of Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks with promising hydrocarbon potential. Potential resources of the Russian shelf are commensurate with the largest oil and gas provinces of the world; and more than 60% of the resources occur at depths of less than 100 m.

Work undertaken so far has identified 72 oil-bearing structures in the Barents Sea; among them the largest gas reservoirs are Shtokmanovskoe and Ludkovskoe. It is expected that major reserves will be discovered not only in Mesozoic, but also Paleozoic formations on the Kara Sea shelf, which is the extension of the west Siberian province. Not adequately studied, but offering good prospects on the limited evidence available, are the shelves of the Laptev, East Siberian and Chuckchee Seas. The Far East shelf (Sea of Okhotsk, Bering Sea, Sea of Japan) has been studied quite irregularly. However, the results of work on the Sakhalin Island shelf point to a high oil and gas content in Mesozoic and Cenozoic reservoirs.

"Shelves of the Russian seas represent the largest state object with oil and gas potential", was justly recorded by Academician I.S. Gramberg. They are also highly attractive for the investment of Russian and foreign capital. Discoveries of large reservoirs in the Barents and Kara Seas confirm this assessment.


After the oil price increases of the 1970s, coal was regarded as a stable and reliable power source for a long period of time. Russian resources of coal types are estimated to be 5,300,000 Mt (30% of world resources). The biggest resources are concentrated in the west Siberian (720,000 Mt) and east Siberian (2,621,000 Mt) regions. Resources of European Russia are estimated at 815,000 Mt. The main explored reserves (272,000 Mt) are concentrated in the known coal basins. Russia ranks fourth in world coal production. In the coal basins of western Russia, East Siberia and the Far East, 300 Mt are produced (in the Kuznetsk Basin, 150 Mt; Kan-Achinsk, 52.3 Mt; Irkutsk, 24.3 Mt and South Yakutsk, 15 Mt). In the European part and in the Urals about 100 Mt are produced (Eastern Donets Basin, 28.8 Mt; Pechora Basin 29.3 Mt; Moscow area 13.8 Mt; and in the Urals, 23.9 Mt).

Most of the coal reserves which have been comprehensively explored and developed are concentrated in western (48%) and eastern (37%) Siberia. Probably, during the years to come, and for many years, the Kan-Achinsk and Kuznetsk Basins will become the leaders in coal production. Russian facilities providing an annual capacity of 1,013 Mt have been constructed, which allows the possibility of at least doubling present production.

Great importance is also attached to other resources associated with the coal deposits. Coalbed methane resources (trillions of cubic metres) are regarded as an independent fuel. At some deposits it may be economically reasonable to extract germanium, uranium, gallium, molybdenum and other metals, where these are in coals in elevated concentrations. The use of coal as a complex mineral can significantly increase the profitability of coal production.


During 50 years of work revealing the pattern of deposition and distribution of uranium mineralisation, prospecting and exploration of uranium deposits in the former Soviet Union, a nuclear power resource base unique in its extent and types of mineralisation has been created. It is estimated at 2 Mt of uranium; 1,200,000 t being commercial reserves (of different ranks) and potential reserves, which significantly exceed the resources of any other country in the world (S.S. Naumov, M.B. Shumilin, 1992).

A unique metallogenic region with total uranium resources of about 300,000 t was discovered in the Transbaikal area. Vein-stockwork, complex uranium-molybdenum deposits within late Mesozoic volcano-geotectonic structures occur within an area of about 200 |km.sup.2~. Deposits are found both in sedimentary and volcanogenic rocks. Often the deposits, among them very large quantities of high grade ore, are localised in granites underlying volcanites.

In the Trans-Urals area, western Siberia and Transbaikal area, infiltrational uranium deposits occur in palleo-valley systems developed on ancient peneplain surfaces. Such deposits are formed by groundwater coming from valley flanks and leaching uranium from the surrounding rocks. Precipitation of uranium from groundwater took place at redox barriers. As a rule, these deposits are complex; they also contain scandium, molybdenum, rare earths and other valuable metals. They can be profitably developed if all the metals are extracted by underground leaching.

In South Karelia the recently discovered Onega uranium province contains complex uranium, vanadium, platinoid, gold and silver deposits. They are confined to zones of plicative-rupture dislocations among sedimentary volcanic rocks of Lower Proterozoic age within the Onega Depression and evolved on the Archean granite gneiss basement. Ore controlling zones of plicative-rupture dislocations comprise systems of enechelon, narrow (2-4 km) isoclinal and fan-like anticlines. Ore zones are up to 2.5 km long and 600 m wide. This discovery offers prospects for similar mineralisation in other Precambrian areas both in Russia and abroad.

In addition to known uranium resources, Russia offers good prospects for discovering economic uranium mineralisation of known types, and of new types.

Iron ore

Russia's main iron ore resource is the magnetite and martite ore deposits in the largest basin of the world, the Kursk magnetic anomaly, where 50% of the explored iron ore reserves of the former USSR are concentrated. In Karelia, the Kostomuksha deposit is developed. Significant reserves have been discovered in complex carbonatite deposits (Afrikanda, Kovdor) with perovskite-titanomagnetite and magnetite-apatite ores. In Siberia, significant reserves occur in deposits of the Angara-Ilim group associated with traps (Angera-Kan, Middle Angara, Kan-Taseevo, Tunguska, etc).

In southern Yakutia, near the BAR, the Chara-Tokko group of magnetite deposits occur in ferruginous quartzites with Fe contents from 32 to 36%. Ores there are poor in phosphorus and sulphur. The prospects for increasing iron ore reserves are significant in the Kursk Basin, Karelia and in many regions of Siberia, particularly in the Kuznetsk Alabau, where the Tolskoe deposit was explored; and in Gornaya Shoriya where the Shorogoshovskoe deposit was discovered, as well as in regions of South Yakutia adjoining the BAR. In western Siberia a large iron ore basin with oolitic ores of a sedimentary genesis awaits development.


As the traditional suppliers of manganese for Russian metallurgical plants are in Georgia and the Ukraine, the Geological Survey has the task of discovering new deposits and developing them. Most promising is the Urals region where manganiferous deposits occur in an area extending from the Pai-Khoi Ridge in the north to the Mugodzhary in the south. In Pai-Khoi and on the western slope of the South Urals, there is a Permian belt with minor and medium-size siliceous-carbonate manganese ore deposits. On the eastern slope of South and Mid-Urals Silurian-Devonian manganiferous formations are developed in an area where silicate-carbonate and oxide ores were formerly mined.

Several manganese deposits, one quite large, have been discovered in the Altai-Sayan mountain area. Reserves of carbonate and oxide ores there exceed 100 Mt. The development of the deposit is hampered only by the region's lack of infrastructure. In the Yenisei Range, deposits of metallurgically complex ores have been discovered in Proterozoic formations, and manganese reserves are estimated at 150 Mt.

In eastern Russia, siliceous-carbonate deposits could occur in the Uda Shantar region and Vandan Ridge in Primorye.


Russian titanium deposits are of different types. The main production source is alluvial and alluvial-talus placers of ilmenite and other titaniferous minerals. Such deposits have been found on the East European Platform, in the Urals, Siberia and the Transbaikal area; metamorphic ilmenite and zircon placers are known in Bashkiria. Magmatic deposits of ilmenite and zircon and ilmenite-titano-magnetite ores have been discovered in Karelia (Pudozh), Kola Peninsula (Elet-Ozero), Urals (Kushva group), eastern Sayan (Lysanov and Maly Tagul). Assessment of potential resources shows potential for extending the titanium raw material base.


Concluding the analysis of ferrous raw materials, chromium resources must be discussed, particularly as the largest and richest deposits of the former Soviet Union are in the territory of Kazakhstan. Currently, Russia's Sarany deposit in the Urals is mined. It is confined to the gabbro-peridotite massif, the ores contain 34-39% |Cr.sub.2~|O.sub.3~. The Klyuchevskoe deposit in the Urals has been explored. Associated with a dunite-harzburgite rock mass, the richest ores contain 13-18% |Cr.sub.2~|O.sub.3~. Similar deposits are known in the Polar Urals and in Chelyabinsk region. The task to find further rich chrome deposits in Russia is quite urgent.

Russia has abundant non-ferrous metal resources so only the largest will be examined here.


The main copper reserves are concentrated in cupriferous sulphides and sandstones. The largest mined copper-nickel sulphide deposits are in the Norilsk region (Norilsk, Talnakh, Oktyabrskoe, etc.) and are associated with intrusive complexes of Triassic age. Similar deposits have long been mined in the Pechenga region in Kola Peninsula (Allarechensk, Kaula, Zhdanovskot, etc.). Copper pyrite deposits are most widespread in the Urals, where they are traced along the eastern slope from the Polar Urals to Mugodzhary. These are the Krasnourals, Karabash and Kirovograd deposits occurring in strongly metamorphosed Paleozoic volcanogenic strata. Copper grade is extremely irregular, the maximum value reaching 20%.

At present, the prospects for increasing copper output are heavily reliant on the development of the unique Udokan deposit in the Transbaikal area. Copper mineralisation there occurs in the Lower Proterozoic terrigenous sequence within a thickness interval of about 6,000 m. The Kodar-Udokan zone, to which the deposit is confined, is regarded as a major synclinorium fringing the Archean basement projection of the Ohara block. Low grade is offset by the scale of mineralisation. In addition, the western Urals and the Yenisie and Lena regions offer good prospects for discovering large deposits of cupriferous sandstone.

Lead and zinc

The pyritic polymetallic deposits of Rudny Altai, where reserves have been increased, retain the leading role. The deposits are found mainly in sedimentary volcanic Devonian rocks. Ores contain zinc, lead, copper and some other elements, including gold. Large deposits of the same type (Ozernoe, Kholodniskoe and others) were explored in eastern Siberia, and several minor deposits in eastern Transbaikal area (Klichka, Nojon-Tologoi, etc.), Altai-Sayan region and Tuva.

The large Gorevskoe deposit in the Yenisjei Range, Tabornoe and Barvinskoe in the Baikal area and Sardana and other deposits in the Sette-Daban Range are stratiform. They are found predominantly in carbonate rocks making up lower parts of the Siberian Platform. The potential for finding other large orebodies of this type is rather high.

In addition to the above mentioned, the deposits mined in the Anti-Caucasus area (Sadon, etc.) eastern Transbaikal (Nercha group) and southern Primorye (Dalnegorsk) are also of definite significance.

Prospects for extending lead and zinc resources are rather promising.

Nickel and cobalt

The main source of these metals are the copper-nickel sulphide deposits of Norilsk and Pechenga, as detailed above. In addition, the Khovu-Aksy arseno-nickel-cobalt deposit is being mined in Tuva. In the South Urals, nickel-cobalt deposits have been explored (Serov, Cheremshanka, Lipovskoe, etc.), which represent hypergenetic alteration zones of ultra-basic rock masses.

Noble metals

Russia still ranks second in the world in gold production. Different deposit types are to be found, concentrated in quite a number of gold producing regions.

The oldest region is the Urals, where along with the well-known Berezovskoe mine, which was discovered 200 years ago and is still in operation, and some minor orebodies, further deposits have been found, such as Vorontsovskoe. Gold-sulphide stringer mineralisation is confined there to the contact of carbonate and the overlying sedimentary volcanic rocks, never occurring more than 100 m away from it. The total extent of the ore bodies is 1,400 m, their width being 600-700 m. The largest quartz vein gold deposits overlap in space with skarn magnetite deposits.

In the Yenisei Range, which is one of the oldest gold producing regions of the country, the significant Olimpiadninskoe deposit has been found, occurring in the Riphean quartz-mica schists. The richest mineralisation there is predominantly associated with weathered crusts, linear crusts being traced to a depth of 400 m. Primary ores, assigned to the gold-sulphide formation, are represented by metasomatically altered rocks composed of carbonates, quartz, micas, chlorite and zoisite. The discovery of Olimpiadninskoe is one of the proofs for the high potential of finding further deposits in the Yenisei goldfield.

In eastern Sayan, a new goldfield has been found with the large Zun-Kholbin and numerous medium-sized and minor deposits. They occur among carbonaceous-terrigenous-carbonate rocks of Riphean age, cut by granitoids. Mineralisation is confined to quartz-sulphide veins and mineralised zones. Gold content in certain blocks explored in detail exceeds 30 g/t. The available evidence indicates the possibility of finding further gold orebodies in the region.

Gold-silver epithermal mineralisation discovered recently among young volcanics in north-east Russia and Kamchatka are of great interest. The best known are the silver deposits of the Dukat region in Magadan district which are comparable with the silver deposits of Bolivia. However, the development of potential epithermal gold and silver in the east of the country is hampered by the lack of infrastructure.

The basic prospects for increasing gold production lie with the development of known discoveries and the finding of further deposits in the major ore regions of Siberia and the Far East (Sakha-Yakutia, Buryatia, Magadan, Irkutsk, Chita and Amur regions). The main reserve for increasing output is the primary gold deposits, particularly those with easily extractable gold, which are suitable for open-pit mining, such as Sukhoi Log, Pokrovskoe, Svetlinskoe and others. For some other deposits gold extraction technologies will have to be developed and significant investment for underground mining will be required.

Great potential is offered through reworking tailings of auriferous ores and slags in old mining regions, such as Altai, the Transbaikal area and others.

Despite the relatively modest known potential resources of placer gold, there is, doubtless, a possibility of markedly increasing output from this source by developing minor placers, improving extraction technology and the discovery of buried placers in some old gold mining areas (Transbaikal area, Amur region).

Platinum and PGMs

In the Urals, the oldest mining region of Russia, starting in the last century, bedrock and placer platinum deposits were developed. At present most platinum is extracted from copper-nickel sulphides. Two opportunities exist to increase resources; a careful assessment of platinum occurrence in ultrabasic rock masses (western Tuva, eastern Sayan, Koryakia) and a detailed study of platinum in black shale sequences, particularly in those locations where the association of platinum with gold mineralisation has already been revealed.

The prospects for increasing platinum resources are estimated to be favourable.


The discovery of the Arkhangelsk diamondiferous province, following the Yakutsk province, makes Russia one of the leading diamond producers of the world. Bedrock diamond deposits in kimberlites in the Malaya Botuoba and Aldyn-Alakit regions of Sakha-Yakutia and the Zimny Bereg region of Arkhangelsk district are the main production base. In Sakha-Yakutia there are kimberlite pipes of Vendian, late Devonian-early Carboniferous, early Triassic and late Jurassic-early Cretaceous age. In Arkhangelsk province only kimberlites of Middle Paleozoic age have as yet been discovered. Diamonds in kimberlites are predominantly colourless, those of 'pure water' being particularly distinguished. In the Zimny Bereg pipes coloured diamonds, goldish-yellow, bluish-green, smokey brown, are also found.

On the basis of the developed prospecting criteria, a number of Russian regions have been outlined which offer prospects for the discovery of diamondiferous kimberlites. These are the Voronezh Syneclise in the Russian Platform and the Ebelyakh, Tyung, Nepa-Chona, Chuna-Biryusa and other areas in the Siberian Platform. In addition, the discovery of diamonds associated with lamproite bodies is possible in the Urals where diamondiferous alluvial deposits have long been known.

Previously unknown among world primary diamond deposits are the astroblemes discovered in Russia in the 1970s (Masaitis et al, 1980). Zones of diamond concentration in these deposits are characterised by a stable lateral content, and through depth (Lavrov, 1991). Diamond paramorphs of impact origin were formed after graphite and coal due to the impact action of meteorites on coal-bearing strata.

Russian geologists have also found another new type of diamond deposit associated with metamorphic processes, developing after ancient supracrustal rocks. This is the Kumdy-Kol deposit which is in the Kokchetav median mass (northern Kazakhstan) and is found in stress zones among early Proterozoic metamorphic rocks. Diamondiferous zones are characterised by dynamic and thermal metamorphism and the presence of grossular garnets, glaucophane and other minerals of high-pressure zones. In Russia there are favourable environments in the Urals and on the Aldan Shield for diamond deposits of this type.

Besides diamonds, many gems and ornamental stones are found in Russia. It is currently one of the leading world producers of coloured stones. The old known producing areas are the Urals (jasper, agate amethyst, alexandrite, almandine garnet, emerald, malachite, rhodonite), the Transbaikal area (topaz, beryl, polychrome tourmaline, nephrite and lazurite) and Altai (jasper, quartzite, etc.). Now other deposits have been found in recent years. For instance in Yakutia the 'Lilac Stone' ('Sironevy Kamen') charoite deposit, which until recently was unique in the world. Charoite has superb physical properties and is particularly sought by the jewellery market and collectors. In eastern Siberia, several deposits of nephrite have been found, displaying quite diverse colours; black, white, different hues of green, blue and blue-dark blue. Also of great interest are newly discovered jadeite deposits in the Polar Urals (Levy Kechpel, etc.), represented by veins in the leucocratic gabbroid mass. Also jewellery grade and ornamental chrysolite has been found in Yakutia, associated with diamondiferous kimberlites.

Russia is one of the world's main amber producers. The largest Primorye amber deposit is in Kaliningrad region. There are promising data on new amber discoveries in Primorye Territory and in Kamchatka.

Chemical raw materials

Currently Russia cannot meet all domestic needs for chemical raw materials, though it does export some commodities that it has in abundance. Production of these minerals has increased many hundred-fold over the past 75 years.

Russia firmly holds first place in the world for explored and potential reserves of rock salt and potash salts. The most important salt basins are confined to the Paleozoic sedimentary deposits filling intercontinental structures. The largest is the Upper Kama salt basin in the Perm region of European Russia. There the Permian sequences contain over 60% of the total salt reserves of the former USSR, including 3,800 Mt of commercial and 15,700 Mt of indicated reserves; annual production in 1981 amounted to 27 Mt of ore. In the Angara-Lena salt basin (Irkutsk region in eastern Siberia) rock salt occurrences are confined to the Lower Cambrian formations and production started in the 18th century. Indicated reserves are estimated at tens of billions of tonnes. The value of the deposits is markedly increased by the possibility of extracting lithium, bromine and other useful constituents. A high-quality common salt has for many years been produced at the Elton and Baskunchak deposits in a lacustrine environment of the Caspian Lowland. The Lake Kuchukskoe, Kulunda and Ebelty deposits in western Siberia also belong to the same type.

Future salt prospects are primarily associated with newly discovered regions of the Angara-Lena province (Kirenga-Lena, Nepa) as well as the potential Norilsk-Khatanga salt-bearing basin in northern Krasnoyarsk Territory.

Russia is the world leader in phosphate ore reserves and production. The largest reserves of high-quality apatite of magmatic origin are the deposits of the Khibiny group, that is Kukisvumchor, Rasvumchor, Yukspor and other deposits in Murmansk region. The explored reserves of apatite-nepheline ores in ijolite-urtite bodies exceed 4,000 Mt (1980), |P.sub.2~|O.sub.5~ content ranging from 7% to 17.5%. Annual production in 1989 reached 59 Mt of ore which, in addition to phosphorus, also contains a wide spectrum of useful constituents, that is Sr, Tr, F, Al, K, Na, Ga, Rb, Cs, Tl, Nb, Fe and V.

Sedimentary phosphate ores are concentrated in Paleozoic and Mesozoic phosphorite-bearing basins located in the European and Asian parts of Russia. In the Baltic phosphorite basin (Leningrad region and adjacent areas of Estonia) production is from Ordovician Obolus sands. |P.sub.2~|O.sub.5~ contents are 12-14%; potential resources of the basin are estimated at 6,000 Mt of ore (600 Mt |P.sub.2~|O.sub.5~). At the Kingisep deposit (Leningrad region), developed from 1964, output in 1988 was 6.5 Mt of ore, recovering 3.42 Mt |P.sub.2~|O.sub.5~. The Vyatka-Kama phosphorite deposit (Kirov region) has been exploited since 1917. Nodular ores with |P.sub.2~|O.sub.5~ contents of 11-15% are confined to the Lower Cretaceous quartz-glauconite sands. The resources there are estimated at 2,100 Mt of ore and in 1980 production amounted to 403,000 t |P.sub.2~|O.sub.5~.

Commercial phosphorite deposits of Jurassic-Cretaceous age are known in central Russia; Egorievskoe in the Moscow region, developed since 1920, and Polpinskoe in the Bryansk region.

Asian Russia offers good phosphorite potential. Significant deposits of apatite and apatite-bearing complex ores have been discovered in the Urals (Volkovskoe), in northern Krasnoyarsk Territory (Maimecha-Kotui apatite province), in Irkutsk region (Beloziminskoe) and Buryatia (Oshurkovskoe), Yakutia (Seligdar) and Chita region (Kruchininskoe). Separate phosphorite deposits are known in the Uda-Selemdzha region of Khabarovsk Territory. The potential of the Altai-Sayan phosphorite province (Belkinskoe, Tamalyk, Telek, etc.) and of the Russian part of the Okinsky-Khubsugul phosphorite basin in Buryatia is highly regarded.

Mica (muscovite) is a traditional Russian export from ancient times. Most of the resources of coarse-crystalline mica in Russia are associated with muscovite-bearing granitic pegmatites. Most reserves (over 80%) occur in southern-eastern Siberia, in the Mama-Chuya and Gutar-Biryusa mica-bearing regions of Irkutsk District. The mica produced there is high quality, with muscovite plates of 1 |m.sup.2~. Smaller sizes are known in mica-bearing regions of the Murmansk District and Karelia. Complex ores of the deposits in carbonatites are characterised by significant phlogopite and vermiculite resources.


Currently the main supply is from the Satka group of crystalline magnesite deposits in the Urals. These are deposits in Proterozoic formations are characterised by uniform composition and a high purity of magnesite with a minor amount of admixtures. Newly found large deposits have been explored in eastern Siberia. The explored magnesite reserves only in the Onot group of deposits in eastern Sayan are estimated at more than 250 Mt. In addition, over 350 Mt of talcose magnesite has been explored there with an MgO content of 37.8-41.3%. At the Kamchadal deposit, sheet magnesite deposits among epidote-chlorite-hornblende slates of the Kamchadal Formation, cut by minor ultrabasic masses, have been traced for 1,440 m, their thickness reaching 55-60 m.

At the Savinskoe deposit, a sheet magnesite occurrence 400-500 m thick was traced for 10 km. Pure magnesites, containing 46% MgO and not more than 5% impurities, comprise the central part of the deposit to 450 m thick. Several other deposits are also known in this region, which are also confined to the Precambrian sequences.

Other minerals

This article does not allow even brief coverage of all minerals; for instance tin, tungsten, molybdenum, rare earths, titanium, niobium, fluorite, etc., whose resources offer possibilities to establish new mining enterprises. In eastern Siberia and the Far East there are large deposits of these minerals, as yet undeveloped. For instance, the Orekitkan molybdenum deposit in the Transbaikal area, which is not far from the BAR, or the Tigrinskoe tin deposit in Primorye.

This review of the state and prospects for extending the mineral and raw material base of Russia, which is far from being complete, shows that Russian and foreign investors should have no doubts as regards the immense potential of Russian resources. The discovery and development of further deposits, ore regions and provinces, revealing new types of deposits, previously unknown in the world, made it possible to create a large base in the country for the development of the fuel and power complex, all branches of industry and agriculture. The mineral and raw material base of Russia will, over many years to come, cater for its domestic and export needs. Establishing new mining enterprises using the latest technology will ensure a high profit on the capital invested.


1. Naumov S.S., Shumilin M.V., Main types of commercial uranium deposits in CIS countries, experience of their prospecting, accelerated exploration and preparation for development, Exploration and protection of the Earth's interior, 1992, No. 5, pp.5-7.

2. Popov V.E., Sedimentary volcanic deposits. L.: Nedra, 1979. 296 pp.

3. Masaitis V.L., Danilin A.N., Mashchak M.S. et al. Geology of astroblemes. L.: Nedra, 1980. 231 pp.

4. Lavrova N.D., A new type of diamond deposits, Nature, 1991, No. 12.

5. Shuvalov Yu. M. (ed.), Buzovkin S.V., Bulychev A.V., Commercial types of uranium deposits and procedure of their prospecting. L.: Nedra, 1984, 263 pp.
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Author:Shcheglov, A.D.; Shuvalov, Yu.M.
Publication:Mining Magazine
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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