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Natural resources

The natural resources of Buryatia are unique both in terms of their reserves and in terms of diversity. Dense coniferous forests, high mountain ranges, wide steppes, mountain valleys with a variety of herbs, abundance of nuts and berries represent favorable conditions for numerous representatives of the animal kingdom of Buryatia.

There are many unique and rare species listed in the Red Book. Barguzin sable, brown bear, mountain goat, wild reindeer are world famous. Manchurian deer, elk, squirrel, lynx, wolverine, roe deer, musk deer, wild boar, Baikal seal, omul, as well as numerous species of birds - this is an incomplete but representative list of the diversity of the animal kingdom of Buryatia.

At present, 446 species of terrestrial vertebrates registered on the territory of the republic. Amphibians of Buryatia are represented by 6 species from 2 groups. The Republic has 7 species of reptiles, and all of them from one group, i.e. the Republic has a 0.1% of the reptile fauna of the world. This is due to many factors: in particular, the severe sharp continental climate, as well as the limited availability of suitable habitats, which in turn determines the extremely uneven distribution of amphibians and reptiles in the region. Often they live in small, and sometimes isolated, territories, so they are very vulnerable to many external factors, some of them become rare or even become extinct.

Birds are the richest class of terrestrial vertebrates of Buryatia, which includes 348 species, united in 18 groups, which is about 4% of the world avifauna. Of the 348 species:

  • 260 регулярно или нерегулярно гнездящиеся,
  • 34 — пролетные,
  • 7 — зимующие,
  • 1 — летующий,
  • 46 — залетные.

These figures are very unstable, because for various reasons, some species change the nature of their condition and the area of distribution.

There are 85 recorded mammal species from 7 groups, which is 21-23% of the world's theriofauna. The species composition of animals in Buryatia, like any other region in general, is not stable. Qualitative and quantitative changes are constantly occurring here; there are new species (for example, in the past two decades, ordinary and gray starlings have started to nest, the Mongolian gerbil, the gray pigeon, rook, etc. are expanding considerably), while some other species disappear (or are not found in the Buryatia: gazelle, a large cormorant, the Bustard, the whooping swan, many birds of prey etc.) The latter require special attention and special security measures. Unfortunately, there are a lot of rare and endangered species in Buryatia:

  • 2 species of amphibians,
  • 4 - reptiles,
  • 63 - birds,
  • 25 species of mammals.

7 species of terrestrial vertebrates are included in the international Red Data Book and 40 species in the Red Book of the Russian Federation.

Lake Baikal is the natural reservoir of the fifth part of the world's fresh water supplies of the highest quality. The lake is more than 20 million years old; length of the lake is 636 kilometers, width - 80 kilometers, depth - 1637 meters; 2500 different species of animals and fish, 250 of which are endemic, inhabit Baikal and its surrounding territory. The republic is rich in mineral resources. More than 700 deposits of various minerals have been explored in the territory of Buryatia for 50 years of intense activity, of which the state balance of Russia and the territorial balance of the Republic of Buryatia account for more than 600.

Among the identified deposits are 247 gold (228 alluvial, 16 ore and 3 complex). In the list of strategic types of mineral raw materials there are 7 deposits of tungsten, 13 - uranium, 4 - polymetal, 2 – molybdenum, 2 -  beryllium, 1 – tin, 1 - aluminum.

The Republic of Buryatia has a large pre-estimated raw material base of uranium. The balance reserves of 8 deposits of fluorspar are able to meet the needs of iron and steel company in Siberia and the Far East in fluorite lump. Balance reserves of 10 deposits of brown and 4 deposits of coal are sufficient for hundreds of years to meet the needs of the fuel and energy complex of Buryatia.

2 deposits of asbestos, a number of jade and building materials, as well as apatite, phosphorite, graphite and zeolite have been found on the territory of the republic. The bowels of Buryatia contain:

  • 48% of the balance reserves of zinc in Russia,
  • 24% of the balance reserves of lead in Russia,
  • 37% of the balance reserves of molybdenum in Russia,
  • 27% of the balance reserves of tungsten in Russia,
  • 16% of the balance reserves of fluorite in Russia,
  • 15% of balance reserves of serpentine asbestos in Russia.

The majority of large and unique mineral deposits are located within a radius of 200 km from the nearest railway lines of the East-Siberian Railway and the Baikal-Amur Mainline. The degree of geological study of the depths of the republic allows us to predict the discovery of new promising deposits of various minerals, including new genetic types.

Potentially, to strengthen the position of the Republic of Buryatia in the geopolitical and economic space of Russia and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, to ensure its economic security, the development of mineral and raw materials is necessary, and the development of mineral resources of the republic is a strategic direction for long-term development. Advantages of the strategy of simultaneous development of mining and industrial complexes with the formation of a complete production chain of products from raw materials to consumer goods are obvious.

In the case of integrated development of the bowels of Buryatia, depending on the scale of mineral deposits, there are three levels or approaches:

  • Federal level - development of the Ozernoye, Kholodninsky, Orekitkanskoe deposits of the Baikal-Amur Mainline zone; reopening of Holtoson and Inkursky mines; restoration of the Kyakhta factory for the processing of fluorite ores and the Kholbolzhinsky coal mine;

  • Federal-republican level - development of Youth, Hyagdin, Solongo, Mokhovoy, Dovatka and other deposits;

  • Republican level - development of gold, coal, granular quartz, non-traditional types of mining technical materials, graphite, nephrite, zeolite, mineral waters and deposits of building materials.