Russia has large reserves of important mineral ores for industry, but these reserves are not fully extracted. Instead, Russia imports processed minerals, although it owns its raw materials.
What is the reason behind this contradiction and what are the prospects for using these materials?
A report by “Novosti” agency revealed the prospects for the use of mineral ores in Russia, but it initially identified the reasons behind not investing these wealth over the past years.
She said that the Soviet Union, including Russia, used to secure itself in all kinds of mineral raw materials, but after the dissolution of the Union, many mineral processing and mining companies outside Russia became in other Soviet countries such as Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
In addition, since the mid-1980s the focus in the former Soviet Union has been on the extraction of oil and natural gas at the expense of other types of raw materials.
Foreign exchange earnings from the export of oil and gas resources provided a solution for several decades to the problems of the Union and then the young Russian economy. The incoming funds were spent on the purchase of imported food and consumer goods, meanwhile, the industry was in decline.
In the 1990s, the state focused only on hydrocarbons. As for minerals such as gold, platinum and nickel, which are considered highly profitable, they were the share of the private sector, while the rest of the minerals were imported from abroad, and the demand for them in the Russian interior was small.
Over time, it became clear that Russia’s aerospace, defense, electronics and automobile industries could not develop without a special mineral base.
At the beginning of 1996, out of the 29 types of mineral raw materials classified by the Russian government as being of strategic importance, 15 types had been achieved self-sufficiency or reached a security level.
In August 2022, the Russian government approved a new list of major types of strategic mineral raw materials, which included 61 species, and new minerals such as helium, graphite and rubidium were added.
On the directives of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources prepared last March a draft strategy for the development of Russia’s mineral resource base until 2035.
The goal of the project is to meet the growing demand for minerals necessary for the development of Russian industry, and the document stresses the importance of focusing on “increasing the pace of the country’s exploration of rare raw materials such as manganese, uranium, chromium, titanium and tungsten.”
The report indicated that the existence of private mineral resources is an important component of economic security because they form the material basis for the real sector of the economy.
Russia is among the top ten countries in the world and sometimes even among the top five in terms of resource potential for all important minerals. The important point is that part of the mineral reserves is located in hard-to-reach regions with poorly developed infrastructure.
According to scientists, in order to solve the problem of supplying the industry with strategic minerals, it is necessary to restore the entire production chain from valuation of reserves to obtaining high-tech finished products.
And last year, at the East Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia is able to fully provide itself with natural resources.
Noting that Russia is practically the only country in the world that possesses all the necessary natural resources, he said: “Our country has everything: oil, gas and various minerals. We can organize any production.”
This article was originally published by RT.