Ukraine has a rich profusion of mineral resources and belongs to major countries with abounding mineral resources. It has 20 000 of surveyed deposits and ore-bearing sites comprising 97 types of minerals. Over 8 000 deposits were proven and almost half of them are being mined now. The most important raw materials are as follows: iron, manganese, uranium, titanic, and zirconium ores, coal, gas, oil and condensate, kaolin, graphite, non-metallic raw material for metallurgy, facing stone, and mineral water.

In the early 90s these mineral deposits provided 23Ė25% of GNP and one third of export exchange earnings. The extraction and use of minerals provided for 48% of industrial potential of the country and up to 20% of its labor force; there were 400 mines, 1 100 quarries, dozens of ore mining and processing enterprises, gas-and-oil producing complexes. The value of mineral resource industry output made 20.1 bln USA in 1990. Today the mineral resources provide for 42% of GDP and 60% of export earnings. The assessed value of the main proved deposits of minerals exceeds 7.5 trillion USA, or 150 ths USA per head.

The unique quality mineral deposits located conveniently for the development of mining complexes represent a number of Ukraineís minerals. In Ukraine a large-scale extraction of kaolin (18% of global volume), manganese (10%) and iron (4%) ores, uranium, titan, zirconium, germanium, graphite (4%), as well as bromine, ochre, non-metallic metallurgical raw materials (quartzite, fluxing limestone and dolomite), chemical raw materials (brimstone, rock and potassium salt), facing stone (granite, gabbro, labradorite), and glass sand is under way.

They also extract hydrocarbons, brown coal, peat, cement raw material, refractory and heat-resistant clays, raw material for production of building materials, precious stones, piezoelectric quartz, and mineral water. Nickel-bearing ore, gold, scandium, amber, zeolite, and phosphate rock are also being mined on a smaller scale.

Deposits of such non-traditional for Ukraine minerals as beryllium, niobium and tantalum, rare-earth series, copper, lead, zinc, molybdenum, fluor-spar, apatite, oil shale, and bischofite have been found and proven.

Recently geologists have proved the viability of further increase in hydrocarbons resources, the discovery and development of new for Ukraine mineral deposits: gold, chrome, copper, lead, zinc, molybdenum, and rare-earth series.

The possibility has emerged to extract non-ferrous, rare and noble metals, different types of non-metal raw materials from industrial deposits.

This powerful mineral-resource potential of Ukraine is not a fortuity. Recent studies have proven that Ukraine is a unique geological region, the formation of which was going on in the course of 3.7 bln years. Its composition is characterized by a great variety of geological structures and their geodynamics, and a variety of geological and ore-bearing formations. Almost all the basic geological structures of European continent converge on the territory of Ukraine: the West and the East European and the Central Eurasian platforms, the Alpine-Carpathian and the Crimean-Caucasian fold systems, great sedimentation sags (Dnipro-Donetsík) and basins (Azov-Black Sea).

The Ukrainian shield is a special geological structure; it is the oldest pre-Cambrian geological structure, which is a part of the East-European platform. During many centuries of evolution more than seven productive metalogenous impulses took place, forming a great number of powerful deposits. The non-ferrous and less-common metals appeared on later stages of rejuvenation or activation of the shield. This fact explains the wide variety of minerals found here. They include the world richest deposits of iron and manganese ore that have been developed for over a century now, and considerable deposits of titanic, zirconium and uranium ore, which are being actively developed now. The deposits of less-common metals and rare-earth group are of special value. Geologists have stricken Perha deposit of beryllium in Zhytomyr Oblastí, large Azov deposit of rare-earth group in Donetsík Oblastí, Polokhivka and Stankuvate deposits of lithium in Kirovohrad Oblastí.

One of the new achievements of Ukrainian geologists consisted in determination of auriferousness of Ukraine and in discovery of industrial auric-ore deposits: Muzhiievo and Sauliak in the Carpathians; Bobrykivka in Donbas; Serhiivka, Maisíke, and Klyntsi within the limits of Ukrainian Shield. The exploitation of the first auric-ore deposits has already begun: Muzhiievo, Sauliak, and Bobrykivka.

There are the following basic groups of minerals in the general balance of mineral raw materials.

Oil and gas. 360 deposits of oil, gas and condensate are found in Ukraine within the limits of three oil-and-gas regions: Western, Eastern, and Southern. The estimated initial extractable resources of hydrocarbons make 8 417.8 mln tons of standard fuel: oil and condensate Ė 1 706.2 mln tons, gas Ė 6 711.6 bln m3. A considerable part (27%) of hydrocarbon deposits is concentrated at big depth (5Ė7 km). In recent years the average annual output of oil and condensate made 4 mln tons and gas 18 bln m3, which is 10 and 20% of domestic consumption, accordingly. By the beginning of 2004 26% of initial resources were extracted and 14.8% surveyed; the level of resources sale is 45.8%. By 2010 they plan to add 440 mln tons of standard coal.

Hard fossil fuels include anthracite and brown coal, shale oil and menilite slate. Anthracite coal is located in the Donetsík and Líviv-Volyní basins, brown coal in the Dnipro basin, and, partly, in Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia). The main coal-bearing zone is the world-famous Donetsík Basin, where the new regions have been surveyed recently: Western, Northern, and Southern Donbas. The carboniferous deposits of the Donetsík Coal Basin are constituted of up to 330 coal-beds at the depth varying from 60 to 2 000 m; 180 of them have commercial thickness of 0.45 m; coal is commercially extracted from 45 layers. The maximal depth of developed coal layers makes 1 341 m. All kinds of anthracite coal are represented. The quality coking coal and anthracite are of special value. The Ukrainian coal reserves exceed 100 bln tons. Some of them are complex deposits, i.e. coal-and-gas. The estimated methane resources of Donetsík Coal Basin make over 10 trillion m3. The Dnipro Brown-Coal Basin has considerable beds containing bitumen from which ozokerite is extracted. Complex exploitation of waste banks containing billions of tons of mining rock is a topical issue; modern technologies permit to extract quality coal and building materials from waste dumps.

Iron ore. Ukraine has unique resources of iron ore: 80 deposits, 30 of which are exploited. The summary resources of iron ore make over 30 bln tones, or about 6% of world total. The main resources of iron ore are related to the pre-Cambrian structures in the world oldest Kryvyi Rih Iron-Ore Basin and in Kremenchuk and Bilozersík ore districts. The stand-alone Kerch Iron-Ore Basin is represented by marine sedimentary deposits. In general iron ores fall into three basic types: rich in martite and magnetite ores, rich in ferrous quartzite (magnetite and oxidized) and rich in brown ironstone.

In the days of the USSR, at the peak of iron-ore industry development, Ukraine met 14% of world and 43% of domestic demand. The existent exploited resources of iron ore will suffice for sixty years of continuous operation of enterprises.

Manganese ore. Ukraine has the world biggest surveyed resources of manganese ore and is the top producer of manganese-ore and ferroalloy products. Recently the resources of the Dnipro manganese-ore basin were considerably increased and the Velykyi Tokmak deposit was surveyed. The total resources of ore make 2.26 bln tons, including oxidative, oxidative-carbonate and carbonate types.

Titanium-zirconium ore. In the former USSR Ukraine was the monopolistic producer of titanic concentrates (over 90% of All-Union output). Ukraine has powerful titanium resources; the surveyed ilmenite deposits exceed the world deposits of titanic ore: twelve out of forty known deposits have been surveyed and are exploited. Extraction of titanim concentrate from placer ore is carried out at Irshansík ore mining and processing enterprise and Upper Dnipro mining and smelting plant. Their summary output covers about 20% of the world market of ilmenite concentrates. Recently they have surveyed the unique Stremyhorod deposits of ledge ilmenite ores associated with gabbro-dolerite and troctolite, the effective developing of which is a strategic task. Besides ilmenite, itís possible to extract apatite here for mineral fertilizers production, as well as vanadium and scandium. The deposits of this type also include Fedorivsíke, Vydybor, Paromivka, and Kropyvnia.

Nonferrous metal ores. Deposits of nickel and cobalt associated with silicate ores in residual soil of ultrabasites, magnesium in potassium salt and brine are exploited in Ukraine; until quite recently Mykytivka deposit of mercury was exploited.

Deposits and shows of copper, lead, zinc, and aluminum have been found. The prospects of the domestic mineral-resource base formation as far as copper is concerned are based on the native copper in the basalts of Volyní trappean structures. The Rafalivka ore cluster stands out here: the Ukrainian biggest copper nugget weighing 700 g was found at Polytsi open pit in 1999. Total Volyní copper-ore district resources are estimated as 30 mln tons, which meets world industrial levels. The cupriferous sandstones of Bakhmut basin in Donbas and copper-nickel mineralization in Volyní gabbro-dolerites also have great potential.

Ukraine is able to partly or fully satisfy its needs in lead and zinc thanks to satellite mineralization at Muzhiievo deposit, which is already exploited, and the nearby Bihaní deposit in Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia), as well as Biliaivka deposit in Western Donbas.

The aluminum ore, imported at present, is very important for Ukraine. Vysokopillia deposit of ferrous bauxite is known in the Dnipro region. Ferrosilicon and alumina are extracted from this ore. Prospects of high quality bauxites discovery in Serednie Prydnistrovia (Middle Transnistria) have been defined recently.

The Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia) alunites may well be considered a potential aluminum raw material on condition of their complex use.

Ores of rare metals. Ukraine is a rare-metal province: the recoverable rare-metal resources are the biggest in Europe. The most important is Ukrainian shield with its 22 rare-metal formations. The most unique and large are such deposits: Perha of beryllium; Azov of zirconium and rare-earth series; Polokhivka, Stankuvate and Shevchenko of lithium; Mazurivka of tantalum-niobium-zirconium ores.

Ukraine is also a great titanium and zirconium province where Malyshivka and Volyní groups of complex deposits of sedimentary type are being exploited.

Auriferousness of Ukraine. Ukrainian shield is the oldest auriferous province with developed pre-Cambrian auric formations of granite-greenstone belts.

In Donbas the auric and argentine-polymetallic formations are associated with schistose aleurite-clay sedimentary carboniferous layers.

In the Marmarosh zone of the Carpathians the auriferous mineralization is related to quartz-chlorite schist and quartz-carbonate rocks. The youngest gold mineralization of Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia) is associated with andesite-riolite volcanism.

Altogether sixteen gold-ore deposits were surveyed and assessed. The exploitation of three of them Ė Muzhiievka, Sauliak and Bobrykivka Ė has already started.

Non-metal minerals are the largest in number; they are classified as non-metal raw materials for metallurgy, raw materials for chemical industry and ores, and building materials.

Ukraine is the main mineralogenic province of Europe and the entire world as far as kaolin and high quality fire-clays (Ukrainian Shield, Donbas, and Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia) reserves are concerned.

Potassium salts are surveyed in two regions: Peredkarpattia (Forecarpathians) and Donbas. 2.5 mln tons of potash fertilizers were produced annually due to Stebnytsíia and Kalush-Holyní deposits.

Rock salt is widely mined in Donbas and Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia). Underground brine is extracted in Peredkarpattia (Forecarpathians). The brine of Syvash and the Crimean lakes contains huge amount of kitchen salt.
Rise in phosphatic fertilizers production is very important for Ukraineís agriculture, as they are so far produced from imported raw material. The recently discovered and surveyed resources of apatite in Zhytomyr and Zaporizhzhia Oblastís and phosphorite in Donetsík and Volyní lay the foundation of the domestic raw mineral material base for mineral fertilizers production.

Ukraine has considerable graphite resources: its reserves make up 6 mln tons and 2 bln tons of probable resources.
Three deposits of fluorite are known: Bakhtyn in Prydnistrovia (Transnistria), Yastrubetsíke in Volyní, and Pokrovka-Kyriivka in Pryazovia (the Azov coastal region).

Over 3 000 deposits of building materials in Ukraine are surveyed: those of building and masonry stone, pearlite, brick clay and bloating clay aggregate, mortar sand etc. The quality vitreous sand is of special value.

Ukraine is the European leader in a variety and supply of ornamental materials. There are over 200 deposits of facing stone of almost all colors; about 50 of them are exploited. The deposits of granites, gabbro, labradorites, quartzites, and marbles are the most important.

Ukraine is one of the world leaders in regard to the variety and supply of mineral waters. 119 deposits with daily total stock of 102 156.5 m3 are surveyed. The daily total mineral water supply makes 4 643.9 m3, or 5% of total resources. There are mineral water springs all over Ukraine; however, the biggest number of them is found in Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia), Líviv, Odesa, Donetsík Oblastís and the Crimea. Such well-known and long-established spas as Truskavetsí, Morshyn, Saky, Yevpatoriia function due to mineral water springs, as well as numerous sanatoriums in the Carpathians.

The estimated probable resources of potable water make 57.4 mln m3/day. The operational ground water resources make 15.82 mln m3/day (28% of the total), which characterizes the extent of their exploration. Water withdrawal makes 3.75 mln m3/day (23% of the operational resources). The prospects of growing use of potable groundwater are a beneficial factor of economic and social development stabilizing hydroecological conditions in the country.

The complex development of ores remains a topical issue for Ukraine. Only 12% of annual 1.5 bln tons of mineral output is utilized. More than 25 bln tons of industrial wastes have been accumulated. The predicted estimates demonstrate that some of the dumps represent technogenic deposits from which valuable and rare components can be extracted: rare, non-ferrous and noble metals, rock products, fertilizers, and building materials. Such are the dumps of Mykolaiv aluminum works, Zaporizhzhia titanium-magnesium and Irshansík ore mining and processing enterprises, the Kryvyi Rih Iron-Ore Basin etc. The extraction of zirconium, gallium, and iron is already under way, as well as products for making of fertilizers, cement, sorbents, and various building materials.

Thus, Ukraine has a considerable mineral and raw material potential, which can be effectively fulfilled subject to conditions of new complex high-tech approaches taking into account global market conditions and mutually beneficial international cooperation. Occupying the area of 603.7 ths km2 (or 0.4% of the world total), Ukraine is able to provide for about 5% of world demand in mineral raw materials and the derivative products. The powerful general mineral resource potential permits Ukraine to become a European leader and join top ten mining countries of the world.