The Baikal region has very rich and various mineral and raw resources, a part of which is exploited, the other one is prospected but some kind or other is not being exploited.
Within the region more than 600 deposits of different kinds of minerals are known, more than 400 of them are registered by the Republic state balance (4 deposits of tungsten, 6 deposits of molybdenum, 3 – of beryllium, 1 – of tin, 5 – of polymetals, 10 – of fluor-spar, 3 – of chrysotile-asbest, about 300 gold-bearing, a number of apatite, phosphorite, boron, graphite, ceolite, benthonite, perlite and other non-metallic minerals and mineral construction materials deposits).
Polymetallic ores. Within the republic of Buryatia there are big deposits of polymetallic ores – 48% of the balance zinc stock and 24% of the Russian Federation lead (the Kholodninskoye, the Ozernoye, the Nazarovskoye and the Davatkinskoye deposits).
Tungsten, molybdenum. The stock of tungsten ores in Buryatia is 27%, the mining is 15% of all the prospected stores of Russia. Until 1997 at the Unkurskoye and the Kholotosonskoye deposits the Dzhida Tungsten and Molybdenum enterprise had been working. The quota of Buryatia in the prospected stock of the molybdenum ores of Russia is 37%, 20% of the stock are represented by high quality ores with the molybdenum content of 0.1% and more (the Orekitkanskoye and the Zharchikhinskoye deposits).
Strontium ores. 30 km south-westwards of Ulan Ude the Khalyutinskoye deposit of strontium ores is found. Its development needs a serious ecological expert estimation from the point of view of its effect on the environment.
Tin. The Mokhovoye tin deposit is found out (the Muisky district, the southern slopes of the South-Muisky mountain range, 30 km southwards of the Irokinda mine). There are 12 ore bodies distinguished there. Tin ores are of low-sulphide potassium-spar-magnetite mineral type. 9 bodies come onto the surface. The deposit is of a new geologic and industrial type - Cassiterite-microcline metasomatite in the granites.
Beryllium. The Yermakovskoye deposit of the beryllium ores is in the Kizhinga district of Buryatia, near Voznesenovka village. The deposit is unique in the world by the content of beryllium oxide, the content of beryllium oxide is 1.5%. the deposit ore is represented by fluorite-phenakite-bertrandite mineral type. The deposit which had been at work until 1990 is conserved nowadays. The Aunikskoye deposit (the Baunt district) is similar to the Yermakovski mineral type, but with lower beryllium oxide content (0.4%). In the Eastern Sayan the Snezhnoye deposit of the fluorite-beryllium-phenakite-bertrandite ores with 1% oxide content has been found and prospected. There are small prospective deposits and beryllium ores displays in the Selenginsk district – the Urminskoye deposit, the Orotskoye deposit in the Kizhinga district.
Graphite. Industrially significant stock of the graphite ores is observed in 3 geological and economic regions: the East-Sayan, the Central and the North Baikal ones. The Botogolskoye graphite deposit is in the Oka district. It has been exploited since the mid-19th century. Nowadays there is no mining. The Boyarskoye deposit is on the north-western slope of the Khamar-Daban mountain range, 20 km south-eastwards of the railway station of Boyarskoye. The Ukitkan graphite display is in the Turakcha river (the Barguzin river right tributary) basin, it is explored on the reconnaissance stage. The Burlakovskoye graphite display is on the left board of the Selenga river valley 40 km away from Lake Baikal. The Ulurskoye deposit is in the mid-current of the Kabanya river 25 km away from Lake Baikal shore.
Gold. Ore and loose gold deposits are prospected and exploited (13 ore deposits, 200 loose gold deposits and 3 complex deposits). The gold raw base of the republic is about 2% of the whole store of Russia general stock, the mining quota is 3%. The biggest deposits are the Zun-Kholbinskoye (the Eastern Sayan – 75.5% of the whole stock) and the Irokindinskoye (the Vitim plateau) ore gold deposits. The mining amount is up to 4.2 tons a year.
Quartz raw materials. The quartz raw materials (granulated quartz) deposits are among the strategic types of Buryatia mineral resources. The Cheremshanskoye quartz sands deposit (the Ulan Burgasy mountain range) with the stock of more than 40 million tons is being exploited, 7 deposits in the North Pribaikalye and quartz displays in the East Sayan have been prospected. On the basis of the Cheremshanskoye deposit the “Cheremshansky Quartzite” association has been organized. The main ore consumer is the “Irkutsk aluminum plant” association (technical crystalline silicon production), the prospective consumer is the Kemerovo ferro-silicium plant.
Fluor-spar. The Naranskoye, the Egitinskoye, the Ara-Tashirskoye, the Khuraiskoye, the Kheltegeiskoye and the Dabkharskoye fluor-spar deposits have been prospected and prepared for being economically explored. The total stock in the republic is more than 10 million tons. The Kyakhta fluor-spar mine functions (150 thousand tons of ore a year and 36 thousand tons of the concentrate of ФФ92-ФФ95 marks).
Concretites. They are represented by the Tuldonskoye and the Taryatskoye deposits (the Yeravna cavity). Their stocks are 3 and 8 million tons respectively. The concretites belong to the alkaline and alkaline earth group. The usage guidelines are gravel production, ferrous metallurgy, foundry and boring solutions production.
Chrysotile-asbestos. Two deposits are prospected, the Molodezhnoye (the South-Muisky mountain range) and the Ilchirskoye (the East Sayan). The total stock of the economic categories fibres is 17.8 million tons (15.8% of the balance stock of Russia). The Molodezhnoye deposit is unique by the long-fibre textile sorts content which are badly needed by the country’s asbestos technical industry.
Uranium. The Republic of Buryatia has a large stock of uranium. The complex uranium-scandium rare earth deposit of Khiagda and the uranium deposit of Verkhne-Imskoye are on the Vitim plateau 60 km away from the settlement of Bagdarin. The uranium stock of the C1+C2 category in the Verkhne-Imskoye deposit is 28 thousand tons, the passage resources are 40 thousand tons; in the Khiagdinskoye deposit there are 14 thousand tons of category C1 uranium, 120 tons of scandium and 6 thousand tons of rare earth sum; 36 thousand tons of C2 category uranium, the prospective resources are 100 thousand tons.
Fuel and power resources are represented by 30 coal-bearing areas (located in the Tunka, Tor, Tugnui, Gusinoozersk, Uda, Chikoi, Ushmun cavities). Cretaceous brown coals of Б-3 mark prevail, paleogenous Б-2 ones are less common. Д and Г marks coals are of highest quality (the Tugnui cavity). 7 coal deposits out of 11 registered ones are being exploited: the Gusinoozersk mine, the Kholboldzhinsky, the Tugnuisky and other coal open-cast mines.
Lime-stones. The Bilyutinskoye deposit located 80 km to the east of Ulan Ude is being economically developed. The economic stock is 107.4 million tons. The lime-stones are being exploited by the “Khimprom” (Chemical industry) association for producing silicon carbide which is used as a filling in cellulose and paper industry and in varnish and paints production and for construction lime production. The second, Aiktinskoye deposit is in the neighbourhood of Taksimo station of the Baikal-Amur railway, 12 km northwards. Category C3 raw stock is estimated as 177,684 thousand tons. There is also an additional quarry at the Tarabukinskoye deposit (7 km away from Zaigrayevo station of the East Siberian railway). The raw materials are used for glass and metallurgic industries.
Perlites. The Mukhor-Talinskoye deposit of perlites is being exploited (70 km to the east of Ulan Ude). The total stock is 15.25 million cub. m (including the heat isolating one – 1.7 million cub. m, the construction one – 68 million cub. m, the heavy one – 6.7 million cub. m). The deposit is being exploited by the “Burzhelezobeton” (the Buryat reinforced concrete) association. The second deposit, the Kholinskoye (40 km to the north of the station of Mogzon of the East Siberian railway) with the stock of 14 million tons, is not exploited.
Dolomites. There is the dolomite quarry in the republic, in the Tarabukinskoye deposit (7 km to the north-east of Zaigrayevo station of the East Siberian railway). The dolomites are used as raw materials for glass and metallurgic industries. The stock of dolomites is 26 million tons. Dolomites are used as facing materials.
Ceolites. One of the remarkable mineral accumulations of Buryatia are ceolite tuffs and ceolite inclusions in the basalts. The most prospective deposit is the Kholinskoye one. The stock is 600 million tons, the average amount of clinoptilolite in the tuffs is 60%. The ceolite tuffs are used in agriculture, fish industry, agrochemistry, construction industry and medicine. Great prospects of ceolites utilization are connected with their absorbent properties and volume capacity. Ceolites are effective for picking up the heavy metals ions in galvanic production, for manufacturing and household wastes cleaning, flue gases fumes and radionuclides catching, for water hardness reducing etc.
Phosphates. The phosphates deposits are known in the East Sayan (the Ukha-Golskoye and the Kharanurskoye ones with the stock of 35-40 million tons) and in the neighbourhood of Ulan Ude (the Oshurkovskoye deposit). The Oshurkovskoye apatite ores deposit was started in late 70’s. The Zabaikalsky apatite plant was built 20 km south of Ulan Ude in Tapkhar locality. The plant was conserved because of the complicated ecological situation (the Selenga river and air pollution in Ulan Ude).
Building materials. The Republic of Buryatia has various deposits of building materials – building and facing stone, sand and gravel blend, building sand, lime, brick and tile clays. The main deposits are near the industrial centres, the towns of Ulan Ude, Gusinoozersk, Zakamensk, Kamensk and in the Baikal-Amur railway neighbourhood.
The Timlyui cement and asbestos cement plants, the biggest plants of the industry work on the territory of Buryatia, in the central zone.
The works of coal industry influence the nature environment in the buffer zone of the region (the Gusinozersk industrial system, the border of the republic of Buryatia and the Chita region).
Fresh, mineral and thermal ground waters. The exploited ground waters resources suitable for water supply and irrigation are 21 million cub. m per day. There are considerable resources of mineral and thermal waters suitable for balneology and as a heat carrier. More than 300 mineral springs are known in the republic, including cold and thermal carbonic acid, nitrogen carbonic acid, carbonic acid nitrogen, methane, cold sulphide, chalybeate and radon waters. There are health resorts of federal, republican and local meaning there.