Soviet Union Information Bureau


IN the value of its natural resources the Soviet Union stands first among all countries. Owing to the backwardness of scientific work under the Tsarist régime, these resources are still imperfectly surveyed. The scientific renascence that has followed the Revolution has given a great impetus to exploration and survey work. A complete inventory of the natural resources of the country, begun in a desultory manner under the old régime, is now being prosecuted systematically and through this work new resources are constantly being revealed, and closer estimates of known resources are being reached. Statistics of the natural resources are being constantly revised in the light of the new estimates.

WATER POWER.- The latest estimate of the undeveloped hydraulic resources, as given by the Central Statistical Board, are:

  Horse Power
European territory 21,505,000
Asiatic territory 40,875,000
Total 62,380,000

COAL-The coal reserves of the Soviet Union are estimated at 474,673 million metric tons, of which approximately one-eighth is anthracite. Recent estimates of the Geological Committee of the various fields, in millions of metric tons, follow:

Doneta 68,180
Siberia 388,463 (1)
Far East 3,311
Urals and Petchora 792
Central Industrial Region 8,388
Central Asia 5,292
Caucasus and Crimea 247

PEAT.- Peat reserves are estimated at about 265 billion metric tons.

OIL.- The oil resources of the Soviet Union are the greatest of any country. They are estimated at 2,883,800,000 metric tons. The estimates for the various fields, in millions of metric tons, follow:

Baku 1,442.6
Grozny 900.0
Kuban 65.6
Transcaucasia 32.8
Urals 262.4
Ukhta 32.8
Cheleken 32.8
Ferghana 16.4
Sakhalin 98.4
Total 2,883.8

TIMBER.- The forest area of the Soviet Union covers upwards of two billion acres, much more than the area in the United States and Canada combined. Immense districts are covered with highgrade varieties of cedar, fir, oak, pine, spruce, etc.

POTASH.- The Geological Committee has recently discovered large deposits of potassium salts in the Solikamsk district of the West Ural region. In a surveyed area of four square miles the deposits are estimated at 68,000,000 metric tons. The deposits commence at a depth of 95 meters and go down to a depth of 200 meters. They are thus much more accessible than the deposits in Germany or in French Alsace. The total reserves of the surrounding districts are estimated at from 1,500,000,000 to I,725,000,000 metric tons. Ground was broken for the first mine on November 7, 1927.

IRON-Surveyed deposits of iron ore are estimated, at 2,782,000,000 metric tons, exclusive of the recently surveyed area in the Kursk district where the deposits are estimated at between 20,000,000,000 and 30,000,000,000 tons. Reserves in the most productive section, the Krivoi-Rog district, are estimated at 400,000,000 metric tons. The Kursk deposits occupy a broad area about 200 miles long. They occur at a depth of io meters. The iron content of the ore has been found to be 30 to 52 per cent. The storage here is estimated at more than double all hitherto known European deposits.

MANGANESE.- Recent estimates of the deposits of manganese ore, in thousands of metric tons, follow:

Caucasus (including Chiaturi) 71,525
Ukraine (including Nicopol) 76,395
Urals 833
Asiatic 919
Total 149,672

Rich Copper deposits are found in the Urals, the Caucasus, the Don Basin and various parts of Siberia. Research work in connection with the main copper deposits of the Urals shows reserves of upwards of 7 million tons of copper ore, and the whole reserves of the Urals are estimated at 8 million tons.

Great deposits of Gold occur in several portions of Siberia. The auriferous area of the Aldan fields alone has been shown in recent surveys to cover nearly 1,000 square miles. Thus far the gold resources of the Soviet Union have been exploited only to a small extent. The gold mineral reserves within the localities where operations already exist are estimated at a minimum of 9,900,000 pounds avoirdupois.

Before the war the Platinum deposits of the Urals gave Russia virtually a monopoly in the production of that metal. The industry was paralyzed by the war. It is now gradually being restored.

Reserves of Bauxite in the Soviet Union are estimated at 8,000,000 metric tons.

Deposits of Sulphur at Kerch in the Crimean Peninsula are estimated at 500,000 tons. In September, 1926, an expedition of the Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Scientific Research of the Turkoman Republic located even larger deposits in the Kara-Kum desert. These beds contain several million tons, but are 200 kilometers from the nearest railway. Other deposits are in Daghestan and Transcaucasia.

The Soviet Union also contains large deposits of Silver and Lead ores, Pyrites, Graphite, Phosphate Rock, Chromic Ores,

Salt, Asphalt, Asbestos, Mica, Zinc. Deposits of high grade Uraninite, from which radium is procured, were discovered in the summer of 1925 on the western shore of the White Sea by a geological expedition of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences.

FISH.- The resources of fish in the waters in and about the Soviet Union are enormous, and the fish are of the greatest variety.

FURS.- Furs form one of the principal exports of the U.S.S.R. They come principally from the Asiatic portion. The Siberian, Far Eastern, Kazak and Uzbek regions provide over half of the total annual procurements.