B&M \ About Russia \ Metals


Russia occupies more than 75% of the territory of the former Soviet Union (FSU) and accordingly inherited a large percentage of its mineral resources. Russia is a large mineral producer, accounting for a large percentage of the FSU’s production of a range of mineral products, including aluminum, bauxite, cobalt, coal, diamonds, mica, natural gas, nickel, oil, platinum-group metals, tin and a host of other metals and industrial minerals. Russia had been significantly or entirely dependent on the output of other FSU countries for certain minerals, particularly metals from Central Asia, the Caucasus and Ukraine. For example, Russia had to import almost all of its needs for antimony metal, chromite, manganese, mercury and titanium and zirconium raw materials from other FSU countries. For other minerals such as alumina, copper, lead, molybdenum and zinc, a large percentage of the production had come from other former republics. The other republics, in turn, were significantly dependent on Russia for a large percentage of their minerals, and, in particular, oil and gas, for which Russian supplies were critical. While these interdependencies were often lessened by the sharp fall in domestic consumption of practically all mineral commodities following the breakup of the Soviet Union, they nevertheless remained crucial for a number of industries.

Russia is exporting much of its mineral output to world markets rather than to the FSU both owing to the fall in domestic consumption in the FSU and Russia’s need to earn hard currency. In cases where Russia was still exporting minerals to other FSU countries, it was at times incurring heavy debt from non-payment as was the case with natural gas shipments.

Russia – Key Sectors – Mining/Metals: Production
Commodity Units 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Bauxite MT 1000s 3000 3100 3300 3350 3450
Diamonds Carats 1000s 20000 21000 21000 21000 21000
Gold KG 146600 132170 123000 115000 103700
Iron Ore MT 1000s 73300 75900 69600 70800 72343
Lead MT 25000 23000 18000 19500 18500
Nickel MT 240000 251000 230000 260000 250000
Phosphates MT 1000s 8000 9000 8500 9900 9800
Platinum KG 15000 18000 17000 17000 17000
Silver MT 600 600 400 400 350
Tin MT 10460 9000 8000 7500 4500
Zinc MT 147000 131000 126000 121000 115000

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