The mineral resources of the Arctic Urals.

Yamalo-Nenetsky Autonomous District traditionally is known as a region of rivers, lakes and marches, the Arctic part of the vast Western-Siberia lowland, where oil and gas are extracted. But in the west of Autonomous District there stands the rocky mountains of the Arctic Urals - the northern part of the great Urals range, ending in the waters of the Arctic Ocean. The line, dividing two continents - Europe and Asia, goes along the Urals range and serves as an administrative border between Komi Republic in Europe and Yamalo-Nenetsky Autonomous District in Asia. A considerable part of the Arctic Urals area lies within the territory of Autonomous District. The Governor of YaNAD Juri Neyolov named the Urals "the precious setting of gas-and-oil bowl". Here, in the land of old polar rocks, the Nature collected nearly all the elements of the periodic table.

Yamalo-Nenetsky Autonomous District is rich not only with hydrocarbon raw materials but also with various minerals. In the Arctic Urals the deposits of gold, lead, unique sorts of marble, phosphates, barytes, limestone, various rare-earth metals, bauxite, copper, chromite, copper-molybdenum and copper-zinc ores and iron ore are found.

These resources may form the basis for the large-scale mining industry development. The reserves of chromite ore are especially big; Autonomous District is a potentially leading supplier of this strategic raw material. The prospecting and mining for chromite ore is already started at the "Centralny" deposit in the Arctic Urals mountains. The reserves of ore are estimated at 18.2 million tons. This mine-field is located on the territory of Pri-Uralsky district of YaNAD, 57 km from Labytnangi and 20 km from Piliarny Ural station on the Northern Railway. Apart from chromite, there are large deposits of mineral building materials in this region.

Several decades of the Arctic Urals studies revealed a great number of metals and non-metalliferous raw materials deposits. Among the latter there are the deposits of phosphorite, fluorite, barytes, ornamental stones, brown coal. The first and approximate estimates of Sosvinsky-Salekhardsky field resources show 18 million tons of coal.

Among the metal raw materials we must mention the deposits of ferrous metals (iron, chromite, manganese ores), non-ferrous and rare-earth metals (copper, zinc, lead, cobalt, aluminium, molybdenum, tungsten, tantalum, niobium, gold, platinum). Some of these deposits are already prospected, the others are only evaluated). The deposits of molybdenum, tungsten, rare-earth metals and gold are registered in the State Committee of Geology of Russian Federation.

The Arctic Urals region has the largest in Russia chromite deposits. On the former USSR territory only Kimmersaisky deposits in Kazakhstan have larger resources of this ore. The deposits of Autonomous District are able to satisfy all demands of Russian economy with chromite and to supply it to the foreign customers. The recently organized in Autonomous District joint-stock companies are mining ornamental and semi-precious stones. The Arctic Urals' Expedition started experimental mining of chromite ore. The first melts were made in Serovsky metallurgical works and showed good results.

The prospected deposits of rare-earth metals in Taikeusky fields were evaluated as a large-scale object fitted for industrial exploitation.

Among the most marketeering raw materials chromite, rare-earth metals, gold, stone building materials, sands and clays are named.

Podgornensky deposit of stone building materials is being exploited now. Some other deposits for the production of crushed stone, facing stone and lime are prepared for the development.

In the nearest future YaNAD may become not only the oil-and-gas, but also the mining industrial region of Russia.