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,
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,
|Urals and Petchora
|Central Industrial Region
|Caucasus and Crimea
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,
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)
|Ukraine (including Nicopol)
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
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
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
FISH.- The resources of fish in the
waters in and about the Soviet Union are enormous, and the fish are of the
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