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Natural resources

The Republic of Belarus does not have a massive mineral resource base, and in this regard, the country imports a large number of fuels and raw materials required for its facilities. But, nevertheless, the geological exploration works held in the country constantly restock its mineral resources.

At the moment, about 5 thousand deposits representing about 30 types of minerals were identified and explored in the depths of Belarus. In terms of the economy, the strategically important resources include potash and rock salts, oil, peat, construction materials and raw materials for their production, underground fresh and mineral water.

Fuel mineral resources of Belarus include oil, oil gas, peat, brown coal and combustible shale. A total of 52 oil fields are registered, of which about 30 are operated, and the rest belongs to the category of canned or explored. Despite the reserve of oil, associated gas, peat, brown coal, Belarus is unable to meet the demand for fuel resources from its own raw materials. The volume of oil production in the country amounts to only 12-13 % of the demand, and in the future this ratio will not change.

Mining chemical feedstock is represented by potash and rock salts, phosphates, saline brines. Potash salts are one of the most valuable natural resources of the depths of Belarus, in the amount of reserves of which the country occupies one of the first places in Europe. Extraction and processing of potash fertilizers into high-quality mineral fertilizers not only provides the country with an increase in crop yields, but is also a source of foreign exchange earnings through export of products. RUE “PA “Belaruskali” annually produces 28-32 million tons of potash ore, from which it produces about 4 million tons of potash fertilizers. The enterprise fully meets the needs of the internal market in manufactured products, and in considerable volume exports to countries to the former Soviet Union and other foreign countries.

Rock salt reserves are estimated as practically inexhaustible. They exceed 22 billion tons at three known deposits alone. 

Peat resources are considerably depleted due to intensive use at the previous stages of economic development of Belarus. If the total anticipated resources of peat are estimated at 3.0 billion tons, only 240 million tons are suitable for industrial production. The remaining reserves are within the protected areas or are part of the land fund.

Deposits of combustible shale in the south of Belarus form a large shale pool with an area of more than 20,000 km2. Combustible shale is considered as a potential resource base for the development of energy, chemical industry and the production of construction materials.

The territory of Belarus is prospective in ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Two iron ore deposits with a total reserve of category A+B+C1 amounting to 340 million tons, and probable reserves of 1.5 billion tons are open, their use will largely depend on the resolution of the fuel and energy problem in the country.

Belarus has a fairly rich mineral and raw material base for the production of construction materials. The most significant are deposits of raw cement, dolomite, chalk, building and decorative stone, clay for the manufacture of coarse ceramics and lightweight aggregates, silicate and construction sand, gravel and other materials. However, there is a shortage in glass sands, clays for the production of high-quality bricks.

The research and involvement of mineral groundwater in exploitation is being expanded. 58 mineral water springs with a total reserve of 14,320.8 m3 per day have been explored, 50 springs are being developed. Mineral water is used for health resort treatment, as well as sold through the trading network as mineral medicinal and table water.