Ukraine holds one of the world’s most abundant and diverse mineral resources. In its territory more than 7,700 deposits of nearly 90 minerals are prospected.
In terms of the availability of iron, manganese, titanium, uranium and zirconium ores, kaolins and some other minerals prospected, Ukraine occupies top positions in the world ratings. Ukraine extracts and consumes up to 5% of the world mineral products. Not long ago the total mineral extraction volume exceeded 1 billion tons per year. According to this rate, Ukraine was at the level of the United States and ahead of the European countries. Evidently, the bowels of Ukraine have significant resource potential.
At present, nearly half of the deposits prospected are being mined. The diversity of the minerals and their abundance, as well as Ukraine’s favorable geo-political situation in Europe provide the framework for further development of the extractive industry.
Ukraine is rich in coal, having the Donetsk and Lviv-Volyn coal basins and the Dnipro brown coal basin. Of highest importance is the Donetsk basin where coal reserves are estimated at 109 million tons. Over 70 mln tons are extracted annually, most of which are used in metallurgic production. Ukraine’s insignificant resources of oil (over 230 mln tons) and natural gas (11.5 billion cubic meters) condition its dependence upon imports. The situation might improve provided that the Crimean-Black Sea oil and gas bearing area is explored.
Ore mining is another important element of the extractive industry. Iron and manganese ore mining is the basis for ferrous metallurgy development. The prospected reserves of iron ore account for one-third of those of the former Soviet Union, their extraction volume is half of CIS countries. The largest iron ore deposits are the Kryvy Rih, Kremenchuk, Belozersk and Kerch basins. Manganese ore is extracted in the Nikopol manganese ore basin. Annually, 100 million tons of iron ore and 7 million tons of manganese ore are extracted.
Unique deposits of titanium ores are mined in the Zhytomyr Oblast of Ukraine; there are deposits of non-ferrous metals, including gold. Ukraine has several uranium-bearing areas with uranium ore mined.
Significant are non-metallic mineral resources, primarily those of burnstone (ozocerite), which are among the largest in the world.
Other important non-metallic minerals mined include rock salt (Donbas, Zakarpattya), flux limestone (Donbas, Crimea), magnesite (Zaporizhzhya and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts), refractory clays (Chasiv Yar), quartzite (Zhytomyr Oblast), barium sulfate, graphite, etc. Glass-melting sand and construction materials account for a large part of the extraction volume, with the Zhytomyr Oblast granites and labradorites being of the world significance. Ukraine occupies a unique position in Europe in terms of its reserves of granites, labradorites and gabbro. Prospected are deposits of precious stones (beryl, amber, jasper, etc.). Other mineral deposits are discovered.