Rare and valuable minerals

What mineral resources are there in the Altai Territory?

Combined with the favorable climate of the south of Western Siberia and the rich historical and cultural heritage, there are all the prerequisites for the development of various types of tourism and sports and entertainment recreation in Barnaul. The Altai Territory is a leader in the Russian Federation in the cultivation and harvesting of grain crops, buckwheat, and sugar beets, which is an important factor for the development of enterprises in Barnaul related to the processing of these crops and the production of agricultural machinery and equipment.

Water resources

Urban district – the city of Barnaul, Altai Territory, is the largest consumer of groundwater in the Altai Territory. The total groundwater withdrawal reaches 71,4 thousand. m3/day, although the main part of the city’s water supply is produced from water from surface water sources. The surface waters of the urban district – the city of Barnaul, Altai Territory – are the majestic Siberian River Ob with its left tributary Barnaulka and small rivers. The area of ​​the Ob basin is 2 million 990 thousand km². According to this indicator, the river ranks first in Russia. The Ob is also the third most water-bearing river in Russia (after the Yenisei and Lena). Large deposits of natural resources are concentrated within the basin. The Altai Territory has significant deposits of brown coal, salt, polymetals, iron ore, cobalt, nickel, and precious metals. Unique finishing materials are mined here: marble, granite, porphyry, jasper, ocher. Nature is rich in the purest drinking water, healing mud, and mineral springs. In recent years, tourism has been actively developing on the Ob. In summer, the region becomes a Mecca for lovers of fishing, rafting, and kayaking.

Biological resources

The indigenous vegetation is represented by steppe, forest and floodplain-meadow types; cereals and herbs are common here. Useful flora region has 1184 species of plants, among which there are: medicinal – 913 species, melliferous – 379, fodder – 663, ornamental – 400, food – 228, vitamin-rich – 42, dyeing – 117, essential oil – 87, tanning – 58, poisonous – 135, technical – 79 types. The group of medicinal plants is the largest, of which about 100 species are widely used in official medicine. These are golden root, maral root, red root, peony marin root, Ural licorice, oregano, St. John’s wort, elecampane and others. There are medicinal plants, the cultivation of which is complex and natural reserves are the only source of raw materials: spring adonis, lingonberry, calamus, yellow egg capsule. In Barnaul, honey fairs are held annually in August, where beekeepers of the city and region present their products. The Altai Territory is a leader in the Russian Federation; the region accounts for a third of the arable land of the Siberian Federal District. The Altai Territory ranks 1st in the Russian Federation in terms of the sown area of ​​grain and leguminous crops. In 2020, the grain harvest in weight after processing amounted to 3,9 million tons; the region retained its leading position in the country in terms of production volumes of spring wheat, buckwheat and oats. The Altai Territory is the only region from the Urals to the Far East that grows sugar beets: in 2020, sugar beet production amounted to more than 1,3 million tons. Also, the region has established itself in the top ten regions of the country in terms of production of sunflower oil seeds, and in terms of rapeseed and oil flax it took 2nd place in Russia. In terms of the volume of production of livestock products among the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, the Altai Territory traditionally occupies a high position (4th place in milk production, 6th place in the production of high-quality beef). In terms of the number of cattle in all categories of farms, the region consistently ranks 4th.

Forest resources and green spaces

The main natural resource of the city of Barnaul is the Barnaul ribbon forest, represented by pine forests in the form of a ribbon on ancient alluvial sands. Specific climatic and soil conditions contributed to the creation of pine plantations of a special type, sharply different in their structure, productivity, renewal processes and other characteristics from plantings growing in other natural zones. Thanks to the presence of unique ribbon forests, the city of Barnaul has great recreational and environmental potential. The length of urban forests from north to south is 35 km, from east to west – 14 km. The area of ​​green spaces within the city limits is 10098 hectares, of which 4063 hectares are the area of ​​urban forests. For the purpose of using, protecting, defending and reproducing forests, it is allowed to create forest infrastructure: forest roads, timber warehouses and other objects, in particular block settlements, boundary lines, block and signposts, forestry signs.

Recreational resources

Combined with the favorable climate of the south of Western Siberia, the rich historical and cultural heritage provides an opportunity for the development of various types of tourism and sports and entertainment recreation in Barnaul. Barnaul is one of the largest centers of the health industry in Siberia, thanks to the unique natural healing resources necessary for the creation and development of sanatorium-resort and treatment-and-prophylactic complexes. A striking example of investment in the development of medicine in the city and region is the creation of a medical cluster in the mountainous part of the city.

659650, Russian Federation, Altai region, Altai region, Altayskoe village, st. Sovetskaya, 122/1. Tel.: 8(38537)22-6-48. Opening hours: daily from 10:00 to 18:00, Saturday – closed.


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        No large mineral deposits have been discovered in the Altai region, but at the same time it is of exceptional interest due to some features of its geological structure and the diversity of occurrence of various minerals.

        The so-called stratigraphic column – the sequence of formation of sedimentary and volcanic rocks in the region – includes one of the most powerful carbonate sections of the Proterozoic and Cambrian, age units ancient for Altai. Moreover, they also include phosphate layers of dolomites. Devonian igneous rocks are very widely and fully represented here – one of the two periods of the most active manifestation of volcanism in the mountain structures of Western Siberia. Intrusive magmatism is also extremely contrasting; Along with manifestations of ultramafic hyperbasites, forming chains of small bodies, which from modern geodynamic positions are considered formations of the ocean floor, acidic granite rocks are widespread here, which formed, in particular, the Ai massif, and these are rocks of continental orogenic origin. In the latitudinal direction, the area is crossed by fault structures of the so-called “Altai face”, along which the plain abruptly gives way to mountain spurs. To the west it is traced by small radon anomalies that form a deposit of thermal waters – the well-known resort of Belokurikha.

        Almost exactly from north to south, the area is crossed by one of the largest in Altai, the Sarasinsky regional fault, through which mineralized thermal waters penetrated during various periods of its revival.

        A number of ore occurrences have been identified here, including ferrous, non-ferrous, light, rare and noble metals, as well as some types of non-metallic mineral raw materials.

        Non-ferrous metals form small concentrations of copper sulfides, including those confined to the Nikolsky occurrences of skarns – metasomatic replacement rocks formed in a highly active limestone environment next to granitoid intrusions.

        A representative of the area’s light metals is aluminum, which is part of kistene, a high-alumina mineral, accumulations of which are found in the rocky left-bank cliffs of the Katun River. This is the Chaustinsky ore occurrence, located directly opposite the village of Izvestkovoy, located on the Novosibirsk – Tashanta highway (the famous Chuysky tract).

        But the most representative for the region are rare metals and, first of all, tungsten and mercury. A number of small tungsten deposits – Batunkovskoye, Osokinskoye, which are veins of quartz interspersed with wolframite. was exploited during the Great Patriotic War by diligent artels. In the now abandoned workings, one can see with what difficulty this metal was mined through artificial narrow crevices, where these capricious veins were selected in the granites. But only relatively recently it was established that in some areas where, next to quartz manifestations of tungsten – a compound of tungstic acid with manganese and iron – in the host carbonate rocks in skarns, the second main tungsten mineral, scheelite, is developed – a calcium compound of the same tungstic acid.

        This type of ore occurrence in the area has been poorly studied, but in terms of mineral composition it is similar to the relatively recently discovered deposits of Canada and Korea.

        However, rare metal mercury deposits are even more widely represented here; some of them have undergone not very successful pilot exploitation. Several genetic types of such deposits have been identified, the most fully studied of which is the Sukhonkogo ravine deposit near the village of Proletarka. The ore bodies here were concentrated under an ore-impermeable cover. The zoning identified here is extremely interesting: below the sulfide mercury-cinnabar there are zones of arsenic mineralization, represented at the top by realgar and below by orpiment. When excavating an exploration adit here, a complex ore lens was uncovered, which, especially in a dark underground mine in the light of flickering miner’s lamps, is an amazingly beautiful sight. In its center was a dense orange coarse-crystalline core of realgar, surrounded at the edges by large curved-plate aggregates of golden orpiment. And the transition between them was distinguished by large, intensely colored realgar phenocrysts, which seemed almost scarlet-red against the background of the bright yellow orpiments of the plates.

        Now these wonderful samples are kept in the museums of Barnaul, Tomsk and the All-Russian Geological Institute in St. Petersburg. It should only be taken into account that due to their destruction from sunlight, at the institute they are stored behind dark curtains and they are shown only after a special request for this.

        And at the Novy deposit, adjacent to Sukhonskoye, a not very bright and catchy earthy cinnabar is developed, which is usually a product of oxidation during weathering of other mercury-containing minerals, the so-called faded ores.

        Among the precious metals, native placer gold is known from a number of rivers in the region, which was previously periodically and repeatedly mined, and within the Baranchinskoye deposit near the village. Nikolsky is still being extracted. Where did the gold come from in placers? Most likely, due to the destruction of gold-bearing quartz veins.

        In this regard, I involuntarily recall the case when, according to the statement of one of the former leaders of the mining artel, I went with him to its certification. It stated that before being drafted into the army, the applicant became the owner of old “English” maps, which showed the gold content (in ounces) in a number of quartz veins. After the end of the war, his fate was such that the prospector found himself far from Altai. The house where he kept the plans in the attic burned down. And now, from memory, I wanted to go through the places where these veins were found. It took us two days on this hopeless search. And he gave up, citing the long history, the great changes that had taken place in these places over the years. And, probably, he lost faith in the correctness of his application. And I, having looked at all the available data on gold placers in this area, was increasingly inclined to think that he was right: he took me to those areas below which, along a series of streams and rivulets, gold would definitely appear in the sands.

        There are also non-metallic minerals in the area: fluorspar (fluorite) near the village. Sarasa, magnesites – north of the village of Nizhnyaya Kayancha, which, in particular, are the raw material for bischofite, which is widely consumed, and even such a beautiful stone material for small crafts as dikkit, which is malleable in processing.

        More than one or two hundred minerals are known in the area. There are also those that were first established in Russia based on stone material selected here. In particular, this applies to a number of rare arsenic minerals, such as arsenate-belovite, mansfieldite, and arseniosiderite.

        So it is now hardly possible to say unequivocally that there are no primary deposits in the Altai region that could be of increased industrial interest. But there is no doubt that the depths of the region still conceal many unexpected finds, many undiscovered

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