History of the geological
survey and exploration
In the spring of 1491, Ivan III, the Grand Duke of Moscow, sent an expedition to the Pechora territory to search for silver and copper ores, the state urgently needed the national resources of the metals for coinage. The expedition was leaded by “service people” Andrey Petrov and Vassiliy Boltin consulted by German craftsmen Ioannes and Victor.
According to the chronicles, the ore, which contained up to 50% of copper, was found on the bank of the river Tsilma (the tributary of Pechora). The following year, a new expedition led by Greek Manuel Ilariev was sent to Tsilma, the expedition employed craftsmen from Italy and 240 workers to build the mines. In five years the copper-smelting furnace began to work at the Tsilma mine, and the first purely Russian coins started to be produced from the mined metal in Moscow.
of the Ivan the Terrible
In 1574, the merchants Yakov and Grigory Stroganovs received from Tsar Ivan the Terrible the "Grant-Charter", which for 20 years provided them the exemption from the taxes and gave the unencumbered right to search for iron and copper ores in the Cis-Ural region and beyond the Urals on Tobol and Irtysh, and where they found, extract iron, copper, lead, tin, sulfur from the ore.
In exchange for such privileges, the "Grant-Charter" prescribed the Stroganovs to settle and protect the new lands on the eastern outskirts of the Russian state, which they successfully did. In 1581, the Cossak squad of Ermak Timofeevich, equipped by the Stroganovs, defeated the army of the Siberian Khan Kuchum, opening the way to the East.
"If somewhere in those places they find the iron ore, and they shall mine and process this ore; and if the copper, and tin, or lead ores and sulfur fuel they find there, they should those ores mine and test."
Sovereign's Stoneworks Prikaz
In the last year of his life, Tsar Ivan the Terrible established the Sovereign's Stoneworks Prikaz to be in charge of the state-funded stone construction, search, exploration and mining of building materials, as well as the ore of iron ore and non-ferrous metals. The exploration of the minerals was the responsibility of such professionals as measurers, anaxes, and dowsers. The Prikaz collected petitions from the dowsers, then those petitions became the basis for arrangement of the expeditions to search for the ore deposits.
After the Time of Great Troubles in beginning of the XVII century, the first Tsar of the new Romanov dynasty, Mikhail Fedorovich, much-needed the metal for coinage. In 1618-20 following his order to the land of the Great Perm an expedition was arranged headed by nobleman Chulka Bartenev and scrivener Gavrila Leontiev, who found the copper ore on the river Yayva. However, in Moscow English dowser John Water rejected it because of the low yield of copper during smelting. The second expedition to Kama in 1626 with participation of German craftsmen Samuel Frick and Gantz Gerolt was also unsuccessful. Only in 1633 the expedition of Stolnik Vassiliy Streshnev for search of gold stumbled on rich deposits of copper ore "at Grigoriev’s mountain near Sol Kamsk”. Two years later, with participation of specialists from Saxony, the first Pyskorsky copper smelting plant in Russia was built nearby, which existed until the beginning of the XIX century.
In 1667, dowser Dmitriy Tumashev at the confluence of the rivers Vyya and Tagil in the Urals discovered the first deposit of magnetic iron ore (magnetite) with the iron content of up to 70%. In his report to Maxim Streshnev, the governor of Verkhotursk and Tobolsk, he wrote: “My brothers and me found a solid mountain of iron magnet not far from the river Vyya and outlined a good place for the plant to be sited on the same Vyya river... However, the point is we are incapable to melt this magnet in our furnaces because of insufficient heat”. The report was attached with a detailed handwritten map and ore samples, which were set by the governor to Moscow. However, Streshnev fell into disgrace, and the discovery of Tumashev was forgotten for 30 years.
In 1697, when Peter I demanded the good iron, the iron ore samples from Tagil were tested again and the foreign craftsmen highly assessed its quality. At the suggestion of the tsar, Tula industrialist Nikita Demidov went to the Urals, and in 1721 built the Vysokogorsky mine, and in 1725 the first blast furnace - the largest in Europe - became operation at the Nizhnetagil iron foundry of Demidov. By the beginning of the 20-th century, more than 350 million poods of iron ore were produced from the bowels of the Mount Vysokaya in Nizhny Tagil, and the remaining reserves were estimated at 500-600 million poods.
The fast expansion of the Russian state to the East in the XVII was substantiated, inter alia, by the search for silver ores. In 1676, Tunguses Arranzha and Mani told Pavel Shulgin, the clerk of the Nerchinsk stockade, about abandoned silver and lead mines and smelters of unknown people at Kultuk mountain in 12 miles from the Argun River. The sent scouts Vasily Milovanov and Philip Sveshnikov collected the samples of ore, but only lead and tin was melted from it the Nerchinsk stockade. To continue the search for silver ore on the border with China became possible only in 1684, when Nerchinsk governor Ivan Vlasov sent an expedition of miners with 30 Cossacks and 10 Tungus conductors for 248 versts to Argun. The expedition, led by Grigory Longshakov, found the old mines and a new silver vein and brought more than 60 poods of ore to Nerchinsk. IN 1687, in Nerchinsk, ensign Lavrentiy Neiter smelleded from 5 poods of ore 1 pood of raw lead, and received the first 13,5 spools of silver. After that, 270 poods of "Daursk ore" were delivered to Moscow, from which was smelted 6 poods 24 pounds of pure silver, the first large Russian silver. In 1689, the royal decree on construction of a silver foundry on Arguni was issued, but the official opening of the Nerchinsk plant took place only in 1704.
There were discovered 540 deposits of silver-lead ores in the Trans-Bailal region, 120 of wich were devleoped. For the first 200 years, about 1,5 million tons of ore were mined at the Nerchinsk mines, which used for production of 470 tons of silver and 43 thousand tons of lead.
the Ore Mining Prikaz
On August 24, 1700, Tsar Peter I signed a decree on establishment of the Ore Mining Prikaz, the first centralized body for administration of the mining industry in Russia, which was headed by Okolnichy Aleksei Likhachev. On November 2, 1700, the second decree was followed: "On surveys of gold, silver, copper and other ores throughout the Russian territory; On inspection of the found ores by the local governors, and on awarding of the individuals, who conducted such a survey", the decree specified the objectives of the Ore Mining Prikaz covering all stages of mineral deposit explorations and establishment of mines and mining enterprises. In 1700-1711 the expeditions sent by the Ore Mining Prikaz discovered and surveyed 120 ore deposits in the European part of Russia.
The decree of Peter I of December 10, 1719 "On establishment of the Berg Collegium for administration of ore and mineral businesses by it" declared so called Berg-prielege, i.e. complete freedom of mining business in Russia, which became a powerful incentive for survey and development of commercial minerals. “The undersurface treasures" declared the property of the tzar regardless, whom the land plot belonged to. It was permitted to all and everyone of any rank and dignity in all places, both on their own and on foreign lands, "to search, dig, melt, boil and clean all kinds of metals, i.e.: gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, iron, as well as minerals ... ". The decree of 1719 established the Berg Manufacture Collegium, and in 1722 a separate Berg Collegium with local authorities - the Berg-amts. The first president of the Berg College was Field Marshal General Jacob Bruce.
The shortage fuel for the salt pans in Bahmut became the impetus to search for coal in the south of Russia. In 1721, Semyon Chirkov, the commandant of the Bakhmut Fortress, and Nikita Vepreysky, the inspector of the salt plants, found coal exits in the Skelevata draw and on the Belenkaya River. The charcoal did not fit for the salt production, but the samples in two barrels were deliverd to the Berg Collegium and tested by the English mining craftsman Nixon, who gave a high assessment to the coal quality.However, the production of Donbas coal began only at the end of the XVIII century: in 1791, the expedition of the naval department headed by the engineer-captain Nikolai Avramov investigated the coal exits in the Lisichta draw and arranged its development for the needs of the Black Sea Fleet. And only after the decree of Catherine II of 1795 "On construction of a foundry in the Donetsk district at the Lugansk River and on arrangement of mining of the coal found in that region" under the leadership of the plant director Englishman Karl Gascoyne, the first coal mine in Donbass, the Petropavlovskya main, was constructed.
The pioneer of the Kuzbass coal became peasant-dowser Michael Volkov, who in September, 1721, pursuing the exploration of ores and minerals in the foothills of the Altai found a burnt mountain "seven miles above the Verhotomsk stockade on the right bank of the river Tom." The report on that is available in the archive of the Urals Mining Administration. The coal samples were sent to the Berg-Collegium, but there were lost.
In 1739, industrialist Akinfiy Demidov received a permission to mine the Kuzbass coal, but did not start it. In 1789, following the order of engineer Pastukhov 2 thousand poods of coal were brought to the Tomsk ironworks from Esaulov Stone, but the attempts to use it in the furnaces failed. Only in the middle of the XIX century in Kuzbass appeared the first coal mining enterprise, and geologist Petr Chikhachev, describing the deposits, came up with the name - Kuznetsk coal basin.
The Dvinsk chronicle of the XV century reported that the tribe of Chud collected oil in pits on the Ukhte River, using it both for lubrication and as a medicine. The chronicles contain the information on the "combustible water” brought by the peasants from the Ukhta River to Moscow in 1597. However, the discoverer of the Timan-Pechora oil is considered to be Gregory Cherepanov, the dowser from Mezen, who in 1721 "in the country of Komi" found out the oil exit from the bottom of the river Ukhta and reported it to the Berg Collegium. Having learned about the discovery, Tsar Peter ordered to examine the oil spring well and the deliver an oil sample to the Berg Collegium. In 1724, Cherepanov brought to the capital about 25 liters of the first Russian oil from the Ukhta River, which were sent for examination of the chemical composition to the Netherlands. The results of the tests were encouraging, and on October 5, 1724, Peter the Great by a new decree ordered "install the piles in the circle of that oil well spring envelope it with a tar cloth", as well as to record "how much oil one person can get in an hour or a day." In 20 years on the site of the Cherepanov’s discovery dowser Fedor Pryadunov arranged not only production, but also distilation of oil. Analysis of the Ukhta oil after distillation had demonstrated that it practically did not differ from the "stone oil", which was brought to Russia from Italy then.
The silver on the island of Medvezhiy in the White Sea from 1671 to 1680 was surveyed by several expeditions from Moscow, but they found only small screams in the pits on the sea shore. Only in 1732, a resident of Kandalaksha Yegor Sobinsky, together with the dowsers Fyodor Chirtsov and Fyodor Pryadunov, found on the eastern shore of the Medvezhiy the metallic silver, 14 kg of which were presented to the court of Empress Anna Ioanovna. The silver ore mining on Medvezhiy began already in 1733, and over the next 10 years there were produced about 750 kg of silver. Four nuggets from the island of Medvezhiy were described by Mikhail Lomonosov in the "Mineralogical Catalogue" and to this day remain the largest ones found in Russia.
The first native gold was found in the Urals in 1745 by peasant-dowser Erofei Markov from the village Shartash near Yekaterinburg. Two years later, in the sand from the site of Markov's find, the test master Ermolai Ryumin discovered signs of gold, after which the Mining Chancellery the mine to be sited in three sagenes deep, which opened quartz veins with visible gold. In 1748, the Chartash mine started the operation, later on it was renamed as the Pervonachalniy mine, and in 1753 the Berezovsky gold-washing plant was built there.
By the beginning of the XIX century 70 more gold veins had been identified in the vicinity of the first mine, and the new mines were installed. The area of gold deposits on the Iset River began to be called the "Yekaterinburg Gold Valley". If in 1754 there were produced 5 kg of gold, then in 1800 this figure already attained 260 kg. It gradually became clear that Erofei Markov discovered a unique world-class deposit with an unusually high gold content – up to 450 grams per ton, which was included in geological textbooks in all countries of the world.
Since the beginning of the development more than 140 tons of gold have been produced at the Berezovsky mine, its production also continues today. As of January 1, 2012, the gold reserves exceeded 61 tons in category C1 and about 30 tons in category C2, with an average gold content of 1,9 g/t.
President of the Berg College Johann Schlatter "Blessed Russia, which contains such great treasures in its bowels; let the perfect mining science flourish in the country."
Soon after enrolling in 1742 in the Academy of Sciences, Mikhail Lomonosov began to write a great work on mining and compile a list of minerals of the academic museum. However, the book "The Fundamentals of Metallurgy, or Mining" was published only in 1763. In it Lomonosov gave a description of ores and minerals in their outward appearances, told about the occurrence of ores, pointed out how by the pieces of ore, found in a creek or river, one can get to the mineral vein. Lomonosov believed that the prospector to be successful in the work must know how and in what conditions the minerals are generated. The book was attached with the article "On the Layers of the Earth", which laid the foundation for geological science in Russia. The scientist outlined in it his views on the structure of the Earth's crust, the origin of rocks and fossils and minerals found in them, formation of mountains, causes of land and sea displacements. Mikhail Lomonosov rightfully bears the name of the first Russian geologist and mineralogist. His book became the first practical guide on search for ores based on rigorous scientific observations. It was sent to the mines and provided great assistance to mining masters, who discovered many new deposits in the Urals and Siberia.
The search for deposits of colored ornamental stone was started in the Urals in the first half of the 18th century. In 1765, at the request of the President of the Academy of Arts and with the approval of the Empress, the Senate established in Yekaterinburg the Expedition for exploration of gemstones and marble quarries, headed by Major General Jacob Dannenberg. Together with the general, 30 masters of the Peterhoff granary factory and two Italian masters, the Tortori brothers, arrived at the Urals. Since a lot of marble was required for construction of temples, palaces, administrative buildings in St. Petersburg and its suburbs, after the discovery of new deposits near Yekaterinburg, Dannenberg in 1765 decided to build the Gornoschitsk Marble Plant. The survey and mining of stones were actively conducted in Perm and Orenburg provinces. The expedition discovered along the Ural Mountains for nearly 600 km "strip" of jasper. There was found green jasper with patches of breccia, discovered the South Urals variegated jaspers: Orsk, Urazov, Kushkuldin tape ones.
on Russian minerals
In 1768, after the death of Lomonosov, according to the plan developed by him, five scientific expeditions went to different regions of Russia to collect materials for preparation of geographical maps and conducting diverse observations of nature.
The expedition of Ivan Lepyokhin for 4 years surveyed the Middle and lower Volga region, the Northern Pre-Caspian region, the Southern and Central Urals, part of Western Siberia and the Russian North. Lepyokhin described the formation of karst caves in easily soluble rocks. The expedition of Peter Simon Pallas lasted 6 years and thoroughly examined the south of Western and Eastern Siberia. Pallasom was the first, who described the oil manifestations in the Volga region, gold, copper and iron ores of the Urals, polymetallic mineral deposits of Altai. Three expeditions worked in the south of Russia. The expedition of Samuel Gmelin through Astrakhan reached Derbent and Baku, gathered information about Lipetsk iron ores and oil of Baku. The Caucasian expedition of Academician Johann Hildenstedt showed that the Caucasian mountains have a latitude stretch, the central part of the ridge is composed of granite, and slates and limestone go along the northern and southern slopes. The expedition of Swedish naturalist Johann Falk described mineral springs, minerals and rocks in the Volga region, the Southern Urals and Kirghiz steppes. BY 1774, all academic expeditions had finished their work and returned to St. Petersburg, beginning to process and compile the collected material.
in the Petersburg
In 1770, Perm ore industrialists filed a petition to the Berg Collegium with a proposal to establish in the capital a specialized mining school, "so that this business to be improved and strengthen the mining economy", and pledged to allocate for funding of the school by semi-farthing (quarter penny) from each pound of mined ore. After comprehensive examination of the proposal, Mikhail Soimonov, the President of the Berg Collegium, sent a report to the Senate in 1772, pointing out that the educational institution is needed "not only for Perm ore industrialists, it is necessary for the entire Mining Corpus and Mints." On October 21, 1773 Catherine II approved the project submitted by the Senate, and in June 1774 the celebration opening of the Mining School took place. Among the first trainees studied at the expense of the government were 19 students of the Moscow University, 4 student from the laboratory assay of the Berg Collegium and 6 children from the nobility, who wished to study at their own expense.
In 1804, the Mining School was renamed in the Mining Cadet Corps, in 1833 - in the Institute of Mining Engineers Corps, in 1866 - in the St. Petersburg Mining Institute.
In 1798, the founder of Russian descriptive mineralogy, Academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences Vasily Severgin, published the principal work "the First Fundamental of Mineralogy, or the Natural History of Fossil Bodies", where he developed the chemical direction in mineralogy, considering the key objective of this science the study of composition and structure of fossil substances.
Severgin studied and described not only the external attributes of the minerals, as it was customary, but their physical properties and chemical composition. As an excellent chemical analyst, Severgin believed that it was necessary to classify the minerals in accordance with the chemical composition. He tried to identify the dependencies in distribution of minerals on the Earth, drawing attention to the fact that some minerals are often found together. In his work "Experience of Mineralogical Land Description of the Russian State" Severgin reported, which minerals are located in various regions of Russia to avoid bringing from "remote places" the minerals that are available in our country.
Severgin tried to develop the Russian scientific language, replacing the foreign terms. He introduced to the Mineralogy the terms "cleavage", "conchoidal" and "splintery" fracture, "mineral luster", "line color"; to the Chemistry - "oxidation", "silica", "sulfuric acid" and "carbon dioxide" salts. соли.
The establishment of the Mining Department at the Ministry of Finance instead of the abolished Mining College had its logic. Thanks to the Berg-privilege of Peter I, during the XVII century, there was discovered a lot of ore deposits, hundreds of mines and plants were built in Russia, which operation was strictly supervised to bring properly revenues to the state budget. The Mining Department was entrusted with general supervision of the mining industry, administration of the state-owned mines and metallurgical plants (through district mining boards), oversight of the activities of private mining enterprises, collection of the imposed mining fees. In 1807, the Mining Council was established within the structure of the Mining Department, it was responsible for review of scientific problems, the most important current affairs, as well as elaboration of legislative acts in the area of mining, and the Mining Expedition, which was in charge of economic affairs, including accounting for all plants and other property of the Mining Department.
Steger of the Petropavlovsk ore-mining factory Lev Brusnitsyn in the autumn of 1814, when surveying the "flip sands" of the Berezovsky mine, drew attention to two gold gains, not similar to the those processed at the factory . Tracing from where the sand was brought, Brusnitsyn found a piece of gold in 8,5 spools. The mining began immediately, and in 40 days it was produced 2 pounds 63 spools of gold from washed 8000 poods of sand. Each spool of alluvial gold, mined by Brusnitsyn before the beginning of 1815, cost 2 rubles 27 kopecks, while at mining from indigenous ores it cost more than 10 rubles. In 1815, after washing of 400 000 poods of sand, about 1,5 poods of gold were obtained, and the following year, 5 poods 35 pounds of alluvial gold were produced at the Berezovsky mines. The state businesses immediately switched to development of the placers. By 1823, only 6 mines out of 55 worked in the indigenous gold deposits at the Yekaterinburg plants, producing up to 18 poods of gold per year, while the production of the alluvial gold reached 105 poods. By 1917, about 750 tons of gold had been produced at the Urals, 80% of which came from alluvial deposits. While prior to the discovery of the Urals gold placers the share of Russia in the world production of gold was only 3%, shortly after the start of development of alluvial gold Russia became a leading gold-mining country in the world. It was the Urals, from where the "gold rush" began its triumphant procession through the country and over the world.
In 1819, a "new Siberian metal" was discovered in the alluvial gold mined in the Urals, which was initially called the white gold. It was found at the Verkhne-Isetsky, and then at the Nevyansky and Bilimbaevsky mines. In August 1824, the party of craftsman Andreev discovered on the river Uralikha a rich platinum mine with gold, which stretched for two versts. The production from 3 to 15 spools of platinum takes reprocessing of 100 poods of sand there. Two weeks later, in 50 versts the party Konstantin Gollyahovskiy found a new gold and platimum deposit, and in November discovered the platinum placers beyond the Nizhneturinskiy plant and on the Issa River. That way the Issa platiniferous district was discovered.
In 1826, the Minister of Finance Yegor Kankrin reported to the Tsar that the chief assayer of the United Laboratory Peter Sobolewski "invented a very simple, easy and convenient method of platinum treatment that was used for purification and transformation into a malleable state up to 97 tons of crude platinum." The method envisaged chemical production of the platinum sponge, which then was subjected to cold pressing, and the resulting briquettes were calcined.
The discovery of Sobolevsky, who is considered to be the ancestor of powder metallurgy, prompted the idea to use platinum for coinage. According to the decree of Nicholay I in 1828, the platinum coins denominated in 3, 6 and 12 rubles of silver were started to be minted in Russia. However, in 1845, the coinage was stopped and the coins were withdrawn from the circulation, since platinum was mined only in Russia and Colombia, and it did not become a tool for international settlements.
In 1825, the Mining Scientific Committee was established under the Mining Department, which was responsible for monthly issue of the Mining Magazine. The magazine was created by the initiative of graduates from the St. Petersburg Mining Cadet Corps - Russian scientists D. I. Sokolov, P. P. Anosov, V.V. Lyubarskii, I. G. Gavelovskiy, K. A. Sheleykovskiy. The first issue was published in July 1825 under the title "Mining Magazine or Collection of Information on Mining and Salt Businesses, with Addendum of New Discoveries to This Subject Related." For almost 100 years, the "Mining Magazine" was the only periodical publication in Russia dedicated to the issues of various branches of the mining and metallurgical industries. The magazine contained the sections as follows: exploration, production and processing of solid minerals, oil mining and processing, physics and chemistry, crystallography and mineralogy, geodetic survey, geology and paleontology, hydrogeology, mining mechanics and enrichment, metallurgy and coinage, mining history, statistics and jurisprudence.
In the summer of 1829, on the western slope of the Urals, on the Krestovozdvizhenskiy gold fields of Count Adolf Polye near the tributaries of the Koyva River, during the flushing of the splines, the 14-year-old son of the serf peasant Pavel Popov found an interesting stone, which he gave to the manager. Menerologist Fyodor Schmidt, who served as the manager at the mine, identified a 1,5-carat diamond in the stone and ordered to search for such stones. Two more diamonds were found soon.
The found diamond was handed over to the German scientist Alexander Humboldt, who traveled about Russia, and upon his return to the capital solemnly presented the stone to Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, which made a real furor among the courtiers.
The following year, the mining engineer Karpov went to the mine site of Polye, who personally discovered four more crystals when washing the sands, but did not find out an industrial deposit of diamonds.
After that, single diamonds in the Urals were repeatedly found during the development of gold placers on both sides of the Urals, but before the Revolution, the majority of the diamonds, more than 250 crystals, was mined in the vicinity of the village of gold placers in Adolfov Log. The largest of them weighed 2.93 carats.
The founder of the Russian school of geological cartography Grigory Gelmersen, while still being a student of the University of Dorpat, was fond of geognotics research that he continued during his study at the Institute of the Corps of Mining Engineers, which professor he became in 1838. For 60 years of scientific and pedagogical activity, Gelmersen participated in the study of the Ural and Altai ridges, mountainous regions of Kirghizia, charcoal deposits of Moscow and Donetsk basins, peatlands of Courland, brown coal deposits in the Ukraine, deposits of iron and copper ores, salt lakes, mud volcanoes and oil deposits at the Taman and Kerch Peninsulas, deposits of amber on the Baltic coast. The first artesian well was opened in St. Petersburg thanks to his research.
Grigory Gelmersen was awarded with the Demidov Prize of the Academy of Sciences for elaboration in 1841 of the first geological map of the European part of Russia on the scale of 30 versts in an inch. IN 1850, Gelmersen was elected the Academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, from 1856 to 1872 he headed the Mining Institute, and in 1882 he was appointed to be the Director of the Imperial Geological Committee, which had been established with his active engagement.
One of the richest mines of alluvial gold was discovered in 1823 the South Urals on the river Tashkutarganka in the valley of Miass, called the Alexander-Tsarevo mine in honor of Emperor Alexander I. 52 large nugget were found at the mine in a year. After almost 20 years of operation, the mine began to desecrate and its closure became pending, when on October 26, 1842, the 17-year-old worker of the state-owned Miass plant Nikifor Syutkin at a three-meter depth found the largest nugget ever found in the Russian gold mining of more than 36 kg in weight. Because of the unusual shape the nugget was called the "Big Triangle", it price was estimated at nearly 30 thousand gold rubles.
After the accession of Transcaucasia in 1825, mining engineer Nikolay Voskoboynikov arrived at Baku, he compiled the classification of the local oil and described the process of its mining from the wells. As director of Baku and Shirvan oilfields in 1834-38 Voskoboynikov was looking for ways to improve the oil production and refinery. According to his very advice the state councilor Vassily Semenov in December 1844 submitted a report on necessity of organization of oil production on the Absheron Peninsula by means of oil wells drilling. In 1845, the Ministry of Finance allocated a thousand rubles and instructed the Director of the Baku oilfields Major Alexeyev to organize the exploratory drilling in Bibi-Heybat. The impact drilling with application of wooden rods began in 1846, and the following year the first exploration well of 21 m. depth was drilled, where on July 14, 1848, the first oil was mined at the Bibi-Eibat field, that took place a decade earlier then the drilling of well-known Edwin Drake well in Pennsylvania.
Ardalion Novosiltsev, the entrepreneur, decided to repeat the experience of Baku, and in 1865, following the recommendations of mining engineer Friedrich Kokshul, started drilling of five wells on the left bank of the river Kudako on the Taman Peninsula, and in 1866 one of the wells gave a powerful gush of oil.
The Geological Committee became the first state geological institution in Russia. Its responsibilities included the systematic study of the geological structure of the territory and mineral deposits, elaboration of general geological map including geological surveys in individual mining and industrial regions. The national scientific geological schools were born in the Geological Committee: Regional Geology and Geological Cartography, Biostratigraphy, Geology of Coal, Deposits of Oil and Ores, Hydrogeology. Prior to the Revolution of 1917, the Geological Committee conducted surveys on a scale of 9 versts of almost entire territory of the European part of Russia, the geological survey of Donbass, started the geological mapping of Siberia and Far East, initiated new branches of the Geology: Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology, elaborated the first geophysical methods of geological exploration.
After the Revolution, the responsibilities of the Geological Committee were supplemented with the organization, implementation and regulation of all geological and geological exploration works of national significance. The Geological Committee initiated the small-scale geological surveys in the Asian part of the country and large-scale geological surveys in the most promising mining areas (Donbas, Krivoi Rog, the Urals, the Caucasus). The geologists of the Committee discovered many large deposits: oil in the Volga region, copper-nickel in Norilsk, copper ore in Kounrad, potassium salts in Solikamsk and Berezniki, Lena coal basin.
The anomaly in the field of terrestrial magnetism in Kursk province was first noticed by scientists in XVIII century. In 1874, Ivan Smirnov, the privat-docent of Kazan University, encountered a riddle during the geomagnetic survey of the European part of Russia. However, Nikolai Pilchikov pointed out that the cause for the anomaly could be the deposits of iron ore, and he was awarded with the Great Silver Medal of the Russian Geographical Society for that.
Professor Ernest Leist, Head of the Magnetic and Meteorological Observatory, conducted a huge work on study of the anomaly. In 1898, the provincial zemstvo allocated him 25 thousand rubles for purchase of instruments for magnetic measurements and drilling equipment in Germany. According to Leist's instructions the wells were drilled in the villages of Kochetovka and Nepkhaevo, but at a depth of 200 m the ore was not found. Leist was considered a charlatan, the instrumentation and equipment were deprived, but the professor alone continued the surveys of the KMA for 14-years during his vacations at his own expense. To elaborate the magnetic maps of the Anomaly he performed 4500 measurements and scientifically substantiated the availability in the subsurface deposits of magnetite in huge amounts. In 1918, Leist died, but his research was continued by professors of Moscow Geological Survey Institute Petr Lazarev and Ivan Gubkin. On August 24, 1920, Vladimir Lenin signed a decree "On deployment of drilling operations in the area of the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly." In 1920, about 2000 measurements were performed, and drilling began the next summer. On April 7, 1923 from the well drilled under the supervision of the mining engineer Sergey Bubnov near the village of Lozovka by Schigry from the depth of 167 meters were excavated the first samples of the iron ore.
Currently, the boundaries of the KMA iron ore deposition cover the area of more than 160 thousand km², it is the biggest iron ore basin on Earth. There are 19 deposits explored on the territory of the KMA with total explored reserves of iron ore in 68,3 billion tons.
In March 1918 the Geological Committee was transferred to subordination of the Supreme Council of National Economy of the RSFSR, and six sections were established within the Committee structure: Moscow, Ukrainian, Siberian, Ural, Central Asian, North Caucasus, as well as Transcaucasia Bureaus. Moscow branch supervised all geological and geological exploration works in the vast territory of the European part of Russia with the exception of the Ukraine, the North Caucasus and the Urals. According to the “Provisions on Moscow branch of the Geological Committee” the responsibilities of the first in the RSFSR territorial geological service included: routine geological studies of the territories, identification of the subsurface deposits and provision of its security following the instructions, plans and ordinances of the Government on establishment of the raw material base for the mining industry, acceleration in development of the general geologic map of the RSFSR, services to agriculture and overall national economy for identification of the mineral deposits in the RSFSR for its use in the purposes of industrialization.
The form of association of Moscow branch of the Geological Committee has changed repeatedly. In 1980 it became PGO Centrgeologiya, which became a share-holding company in 1993. JSC Centrgeologiya became the very basis, where in 2011 the Russian Geological Holding Rosgeoloiya began to be established.
In the summer of 1920, geochemist and mineralogist Alexander Fersman, who recently became an academician, organized the first expedition to the Hiba Mountains. In 1921, his next expedition found huge green blocks of apatite. The subsequent systematic study of the Hibin allowed in 1925-27 to discover the unique in terms of reserves and quality deposits of apatite-nephelin ores, the most valuable phosphate raw material. The exploration of the first deposits - Rasvumchorr, Kukisvumchorr and Yuxpor - began in 1928-29 and from 1930 the development of Kukisvumchorr began.
By the 80-th years of the XX century, the explored reserves of apatite-nephelin ores in the Hibin exceeded 4 billion tons with a content of P2O5 in 7,5-17,5%.
In general, on the unique Kola Peninsula, which studies Fersman devoted many years, more than 3/4 chemical elements known on the Earth were found, more than 60 of them produce the industrial concentrations.
Already in the middle of the XV century, the first saltars appeared on Kama, where the quality food salt "Permyanka" was vaped. The brine was pumped from the ground along the hollowed chisels of trees, and at the end of the XIX century people started to drill the wells to get access to the brine. In 1907, a layer of root rock salt was uncovered during drilling the well at the depth of 37 Russian fathoms (79 m). In 1916, Academician Kurnakov examined the samples of red Solikamsk salt and found the content of KCl - 33,69% and NaCl - 65,14%. The profitability of mining was obvious, but the War and the Revolution prevented the start of development.
Only in 1924 the Soviet Russia found funds for exploration of the field. The expedition of the Geological Committee headed by Professor Pavel Preobrazhensky began to drill a well at the the salt plant site, and on October 6, 1925, at a depth of about 92 m, discovered a layer of potassium salts with a content of KCl in 17,9%.
The further research demonstrated that the potassium deposit with an average thickness of about 72 m and an area of 3,7 thousand km2 is located inside the contour of the brine thickness; it was traced in the meridional direction for 140 km with a width of up to 42 km. The reserves of the Verkhnekamsk field by K2O in categories of ABC1+C2 amount to about 17,5 billion tons - that is more than 30% of the world and 90% of the reserves explored in Russia.
Industrial development of the field has been underway since 1934, currently 7 mining plants perform the production in Solikamsk and Berezniki.
In 1919, the future academician, and then an employee of Glavkoneft Ivan Gubkin came to a firm belief about the oil availability in the Urals-Volga region and persistently proposed to arrange the deep exploration drilling there. The expedition sent to Bashkiria failed to drill deep wells, and the small ones did not give a result, so that at the end of the Civil War the attention of the state switched to the restoration of the fields in Baku and Grozniy.
Gubkin's forecasts were recalled in April 1929, when an oil fountain hit in the area of Chusov settlements near Perm from a well drilled for potassium salt from a depth of 325 m. Trust Uralneft was established, and the deputy chairman of the Geological Committee Ivan Gubkin initiated the large-scale surveys, sending an expedition headed by Alexey Blokhin to Bashkiria. The drilling went difficult, but at the beginning of 1932, a powerful gas release occurred from well No.703 from a depth of 595 m. Immediately from the Perm region to Bashkiria was sent a crew of drillers, and on May 16, 1932 an oil fountain sprang from the well No. 702 from a depth of 680 m. That was the discovery of the Ishimbayevo deposit, which marked the beginning of the "Second Baku". The results of the exploration were not long in coming, in 1936 in Syzran district of Samara region at a depth of 684 m the oil deposits of industrial significance were found.
In 1916, on one of the tributaries of the Srednekan River, the legendary Barry Shafigullin found the first Kolyma gold. In 1928, an expedition of the Geological Committee headed by Yuri Bilibin went to search for gold on Kolyma, which discovered and scientifically proved the high placer gold bearing of Kolyma. Already in 1929, the rich gold deposits were discovered on the tributaries of the river Kolyma. In 1931, Trust Soyuzzoloto already established a gold mining plan at Kolyma in 2 tons, in 1932 – 10 tons, in 1933 – 25 tons.
The study of the basin of the Omchak River by geological survey and explorations works began in 1932. In 1940, a geologist of Dalstroy Dmitry Aseev in the right tributaries of Omchak discovered the large placer deposits of gold, which he called by the names of his children: Natalka (31,5 tons) and Pavlik (17,5 tons). In 1942-43 the geologists revealed the ore manifestations and mineralized zones of crushing and quartz swarting of the rocks. The detailed works in 1944 allowed Yevgeny Mashko to reveal within these zones gold deposits: Natalka, Omchak and Pavlik. The same year, the ore gold production began at the Natalka deposit, and in 1945, by order of Dalstroy, a mine named after Alexander Matrosov was founded for the development of the deposit. In XX century the mine n.a. Matrosov excavated and processed 23 million tons of ore with an average content of 3,7 g/t and produced 85,5 tons of gold.
Based on the results of the audit conducted in 2014, the proved and probable reserves of the Natalka field pursuant to JORC at December 31, 2014 amounted to 504 tons at the content of 1,6 g/t, resources - 1145 tons at the content of 1,7 g/t.
Having lost the fields of Grozniy in 1942, the country urgently needed the large oil of the "Second Baku", in search of which the geologists moved inland. The qualitative leap occurred in September 1944, when powerful reservoirs of oil sandstones were uncovered at the Tuymazin deposit in Bashkiria from a depth of about 1700 m in the Devonian deposits. In 1944, the first Shugurov deposit was discovered in neighboring Tataria, the study of which prompted the direction of further researches.
In July 1948, near the village of Romashkino, the brigade of foreman Sergei Kuzmin and driller Rakhim Khalikov opened a thick Devonian formation, which testing resulted in an oil gusher was of more than 120 tons per day capacity. Then, the geologists did not know yet that they discovered one of the largest oil fields in the world - Romashkino. Its geological resources exceeds 5 billion tons, more than 2.2 billion of which have been already mined and the area of productive reservoirs exceeds 4500 km2. The oil mining at Romashkino field began in 1953, the field reached the production peak, about 80 million tons per year, in 1970. Today, in 67 years after start of production, thanks to the state-of-art methods of oil recovery enhancement, Romashkino produces about 15 million tons of oil per year.
Extremely scarce alluvial deposits of diamonds in the Urals did not provide for the needs of the industry, and after the outbreak of the Cold War, the import of technical diamonds from England ceased. Soviet geologists have sought to find the primary deposits, which in geological terms would be similar to the most famous deposits located in Kimberley Province in South Africa, where commercial production of diamonds was carried out from the second half of the XIX century.
The first diamonds in Yakutia were discovered in 1948-49 during prospecting in the upper reaches of the Lower Tunguska and Vilyui. The success came to the geological group of Natalia Starosadskikh, who in 1953 found some signs of diamonds, and in August 1954 her staff members: geologist Larisa Popugaeva and laboratory Fyodor Belikov on the creek Dyaha met with kimberlite rocks of the first diamond pipe Zarnitsa. A year later, the geologists of the Amakin expedition discovered the famous Udachnaya pipe, which today provides about 10% of the world's production.
For 65 years the unique diamond deposits have been discovered in Yakutia, which has brought Russia to the first place in the world in terms of reserves and production. 800 kimberlite pipes have been found in Yakutia, 150 of this number contain the diamonds and 13 are of industrial significance. And significant contribution to these discoveries was made by the geologists from JSC Yakutskgeologiya.
No high-tech production can do without rare earth elements today. The largest world producers are China and the United States, and Russia imports up to 90% of rare earth metals. Meanwhile, in 1959, in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, thee geologists of the Boguchan Aerogeophysical Party Dashkevich and Starodubov discovered a huge Chuktukon niobium-rare-earth deposit by means of the metallometric survey during verification of radiometric anomalies. Its development can become a key project for upgrading of the rare-earth industry in Russia, get rid the country of the import dependence and bring it to the number of the largest suppliers over the world.
The ore area of the field is a thick patch deposit of 3,5 km length with a width from 800 to 1400 m and thickness of up to 200 m. Insofar, Chuktukon field has been explored only by category C2.
Meanwhile, the quality of the ores in Chuktukon is comparable to the rich ores of Tomtor deposit (Yakutia) and major global producers.
In 2019, the geologists of the Siberian PGA completed the large-scale surveys of Chuktukon, which allowed to increase the initial estimate of the reserves in the deposit by several times: rare earth trioxides from 0,5 to 2,8 million tons with an average content of 4,585%, niobium oxide - from 200 thousand to 443 thousand tons (average content - 0,74%), reserves of scandium trioxide - 3,39 thousand tons (average content - 60 g/t).
In 1846, in the valley of the river Khomolkho (Lena river basin) were discovered the deposits of alluvial gold. In the early 60-s of XIX century the rich alluvial gold deposits were found in the northern and southern sides of the hill Sukhoi Log, where more than 30 tons of gold was mined by 1900. In 1899-1904, about 1 ton of gold was produced from the quarts veins, but because of the mining complexity, the works were ceased.
In the early 1960-s, Vladimir Buryak, the geologist from the Institute of the Earth's Crust, interpreting the identified geochemical anomalies of gold content in the rocks of gold-quartz vein ores from Sukhoi Log, suggested the availability of gold-mineralization. The very first exploration wells in 1961 revealed the gold-sulphide mineralization at the depth, confirming the forecast of Buryak.
The intensive field exploration began in 1971 and lasted 6 years. The works included taking of 209,6 km of the diamond-tipped drilled samples from 846 wells, excavation of 11,7 km of underground mines and 110,3 km of trenches. There were taken 13 thousand trench samples, three process samples for 150, 800 and 980 tons, and performed tens of thousands assay tests for gold. An important role in the discovery and exploration of the deposit was played by geologists of the Eastern Geophysical Trust (the future Irkutskgeophysika).
Initially, the reserves from the Sukhoi Log deposit were approved by the State Commission on Mineral Reserves in 1977: 383.5 million tonnes of ore, 1038.4 t of gold at average content of 2.71 g/t. In 2006-2007, TSNIGRI following the instructions from Rosnedra performed a comprehensive engineering, geological and economic re-assessment of the Sukhoi Log deposit. As of January 2016, the industrial gold reserves of BC1+C2 categories amounted in 1650 tons with an average content of 2,1 g/t of ore, and the total resource potential of Sukhoi Log (reserves+resources P1) was estimated at 2956,4 tons of gold and 1541 tons of silver. It is the largest gold deposit in the country, accounting for 28% of gold reserves in Russia.
Vladimir Buryak: “Sukhoi Log is the largest gold deposit not only in Russia, but also in the world. This is a national treasure of our country. This gold mining giant may crucially determine the amounts of gold production in the country."
The active work on establishment of the mineral resource base of the nuclear industry began in the USSR in 1943. In October 1945, in a month after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the government adopted a decree "On concentration and specialization of geological survey and exploration for uranium raw materials." The First General Geologic Survey Directorate was established within the structure of the State Committee on Geology that became the predecessor of JSC Urangeo.
Already in 1945, the production of the first uranium ore began in Tajikistan, in 1948 - in the Ukraine. The scope of the survey activities is demonstrated by the fact that the largest in Russia Streltsov uranium deposit in the East Trans-Bailkal in 1963 by a crew No.324 of Sosnov expedition (currently - a branch Sosnovgeologiya of JSC Urangeo).
By 1966, there had been completed the detailed survey of the central and western sections of the Streltsov deposit, discovered the Krasniy Kamen deposit, discovered the reserves of the Tulukuev deposit. In November 1967, it was decided to establish the Proargunskiy Mining and Chmical Plant on the basis of the Streltsov ore field deposits.
In total, there have been revealed 19 uranium deposits within the Streltsov ore field, 16 of the deposits are of industrial significance. For 40 years, about 130 thousand tons of uranium were mined from the deposits of the Streltsov ore field, while the residual reserves of uranium of industrial categories AVC1+C2 by the beginning of 2008 exceeded 140 thousand tons. By the beginning of 2012, the uranium reserves of the categories AVC1+C2 at the Streltsov deposit exceeded 32 thousand tons (with an average uranium content in ores of 0,149%). And to the first place in Russia came the Argun deposit with reserves of categories AVC1+C2 exceeding 37 thousand tons (uranium content in the ore is 0,215%). Today, this field provides 93% of the total Russian production scope, more than 3 thousand tons per year.
The field was discovered by Megion oil-prospecting expedition of Glavtyumengeologiya headed by Vladimir Abazarov. On June 22, 1965, from the exploratory well P-1 of drilling foreman Gregory Norkin started a strong oil gusher - 420 tons per day. The oil production facilities were created directly on Lake Samotlor banking the artificial islands for drilling platforms. Drilling the first production well at Samotlor was started in winter 1968. In total for 55 year of operation almost 21 thousand wells were drilled at the field. The geophysicists from Megion Prodcution-Geophysical Office (then Nizhnevartovskneftegeofizika) rendered assistance to the oilmen in monitoring of the wells state.
The peak of oil production at Samotlor - about 150 million tons per year - took place at the beginning of the 80-s of the XX century, then, due to intensive production and high water-content in the oil reservoirs, the production sharply declined. In recent decades, there produces about 20 million tons per year.
The industrial hydrocarbon saturation at Samotlor was found in 18 productive stratas, lying at depths from 1600 to 2500 m, on the territory of 30 by 50 km. Geological reserves of the field are estimated at 7,1 billion tons, regarding this indicator Samotlor is the first in Russia and 7-th in the world. Since the beginning of development there has been produced more than 2.8 billion tons of oil, 75% of the initially recoverable reserves, however, the remaining reserves at current production levels are sufficient to continue the operation for 47 years more.
Drilling of the Kola ultra-deep well started on May 24, 1970, 100 km from Murmansk in the town of Zapolyarniy. The place was not chosen by chance: it is on the Kola Peninsula in the surface there are the oldest rocks of the Baltic Shield of about 3 billion years in age. The well drilling and analysis of the received materials were carried out by a specially created Kola integrated geological survey and exploration expedition of deep drilling headed by David Guberman. The purpose of drilling was to find out, if there is a boundary between the granite and basalt layers of the earth's crust, to obtain data on the composition of rocks in the depths of the planet. The penetration to a depth of 7263 m took 4 years. Before that elevation the well intersected strong, but relatively homogeneous rocks. Further drilling was greatly complicated, the emergency areas had to be cemented and continue the drilling with departure. As a result, the well structure received a number of dead-end branches.
At a depth of more than 9.5 km there was discovered unique deposits of rare minerals, in particular, gold. After an accident in 1991, the drilling was stopped at the depth of around 12 262 meters, the humanity has never reached the greater depth. In 1997, the facility was recorded to the Guinness Book of Records. The legal successor of RPC Kolskaya Sverhkglubokaya today is JSC NPC Nedra of JSC RosGeo, which is engaged in drilling of ultra-deep parametric wells throughout Russia.
The study of the deep structure of the Okhotsk Sea started in 1957 by the Institute of Earth Physics of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1970-71 the Pacific marine geophysical expedition (future Trust Dalmorneftegeofisika) prepared eight promising structures on the Sakhalin shelf by means of detailed seismic survey by the method of reflected waves. In 1975, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a general agreement "On cooperation in the fields of exploration development of oil and/or natural gas in continental shelf of Sakhalin”. In the framework of this agreement on the identified seismic structure of Odoptu-More the Far Eastern sea oil and gas exploration expedition of deep drilling drilled the exploration well number 1, discovered the first major oil and gas field in the shelf of the Sea of Okhotsk. In the summer of 1979 the first well on the structure Chayvo also produced the commercial oil. The discovered oil fields of Chayvo and Odoptu laid the basis of Sakhalin-1 project, which implementation is conducted on the production sharing conditions. The oil production at the Chayvo field started in 2005, at Odoptu - in 2010.
The availability of potassium salts in the north of Irkutsk region was predicted in 1938 by geologist Ivan Sharapov. The forecasts were confirmed in 1977 during drilling of oil exploration wells. The further exploration works resulted in discovery in 1980 in 290 km north of Ust-Kut of Nepa potash deposit.
The discovery of the rich Nepa potash basin was a remarkable example of the integrated study of the subsurface deposits, cooperation between Irkutskgeofisika and Vostsibneftegazgeologiya. A significant role in the discovery belongs to the nuclear-geophysical methods. The geophysical studies in deep parametric wells reveled some sections specified with high radioactivity in the salts in the Lower Cambrian sediments for the first time. The spectral analysis indicated that the radioactivity was caused by availability in the geological section of radioactive isotopes of potassium, i.e. potassium salts.
According to the geologists, the roof of potassium-bearing strata lies at a depth of 760-910 m, the strata thickness is from 3 to 46 m, including sylvinite - from 1.5 to 26.5 m. The sylvinite is specified with high content of K2O (from 14,1% to. 30,7%) and insignificant amounts of noxious impurities. The forecast reserves of sylvinite were estimated at 14 billion tonnes, and stocks of ABC1+C2 categories comprise more than 2,2 billion tonnes at an average concentration of K2О of about 22%.
In 2000-s the Government tried to determine the strategy for reproduction of the mineral and raw material base. Although many competences and personnel have been lost, the idea is to consolidate the industry to address the issues of national significance found the support. For the first time the idea was declared in March 2008, when the Ministry of Natural Resources presented the concept of the industry development in the form of establishment of State Corporation Geologorazvedka on the basis of geological FSUPs subordinated to Rosneda and Rosimuschestvo.
The Ministry of Natural Resources declared the plans on establishment of Rosgeologiya on October 2, 2009. In 2010, the Russian Government reviewed and approved the "Strategy of development of geology industry in Russia up to 2030", where establishment of Rosgeologiya was indicated as one of the stages for reformation the geology industry in the country. In July 2011, the Decree of the President of Russia on establishment of Rosgeologiya and the corresponding Ordinance of the Government were issued. Further on, the shares of 60 companies and institutes specialized in oil and gas geophysics, including those in offshore area, engaged in surveys of solid commercial minerals were handed over to the property of JSC Rosgeologiya, established on the basis of JSC Centrgeologiya. The establishment and development of the State Geological Holding JSC Rosgeologiya is intended to resolve the problems accumulated in geological survey and exploration, the Holding is to become one of the principal tools for implementation of the strategy for development of the geological industry.