20 April 2003, 22:46

Geographic position and natural resources of Kabardino-Balkariya

Kabardino-Balkarian Republic has internal administrative borders within the limits of the Russian Federation - with Stavropol Territory, North Ossetia, Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Ingushetia; external border in the south and southwest - with Georgia. Distance from the capital of the republic Nalchik to Moscow - 1873 km.

A considerable part of the territory in the south of the republic is occupied by mountains (northern slopes of the Large Caucasus) - this territory is not suitable for permanent residence and economic activities. The highest point - Mount Elbrus (5642 m). The northern part of the republic is occupied by foothills and Kabardin plain crossed with river valleys. The main river - Terek with its left tributaries: Malka, Baksan, Chegem, Cherek, Urukh having large power resources.

Soils on the plain are fertile - chernozem and dark chestnut. About 32% of the territory is occupied by farmland, 24% - by pasture, 15% - by forests and bushes, the rest are grassland and other lands. The forests mostly consist of southern, broad-leaved species of wood - oak, beech, hornbeam, and from coniferous species - pine. The climate is continental. On the plain the average temperature in July +24?C, in January -4?C. Annual precipitation on the plains is 400 mm, at foothills - 500 - 600 mm, and in the mountains 800 mm and more, including 50% - in the summer.

Kabardino-Balkarian Republic is one of the Russian regions of mountain tourism and mountaineering. It has a lot of unique stations for mountain-skiing. The natural environment conditions are extremely favourable for development of resorts and recreational activities. The republican health resorts "Nalchik", "Valley of Narzans", "Blue Lakes" and camp sites of Elbrus are the most famous.

Mineral resources. Deposits of rare non-ferrous metals are of special importance - tungsten-molybdenum, antimony-lead, aluminium, bismuth-tin (all of them are located in the basin of the river Baksan). Tyrnyauz tungsten-molybdenum field located in the highland area 90 km from Nalchik is unique by its size and type. The ore produced here apart from tungsten and molybdenum contains small amounts of copper, zinc, tin, cobalt, silver, bismuth, germanium and other precious metals. Tuff, pumice, bleaching clay, numerous mineral sources were found in Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (near village Belaya Rechka, in Elbrus region).

Today 38 mineral deposits are exploited in the republic. The estimated reserves of mineral waters constitute over 12 thousand cubic metres of daily production rate.

Rather prospective for development are fields of oil, gas, gold, iron ore, garnet (used in glass and optical industry as abrasive), talc (rare material for agricultural use), barite (used in petroleum industry as weighting agent for drill fluids), bleaching clay (be used as filling material in rubber, paint, electric insulation industry and water softener in processing of skins, purification of oil and other products) found in the territory of Kabardino-Balkarian Republic. The republic has large but not developed yet Malkinskoye field of natural alloyed iron ore (chromium, cobalt) with reserves of 23 million tons; two ore fields of non-ferrous and precious metals - Tyzylskoye (lead, zinc, cadmium, copper, silver, gold, selenium, tellurium) and Mushtinskoye (lead). Their exploitation could essentially improve the metallurgical potential of the region.

Source: I.G. Kosikov, L.S. Kosikova. North Caucasia: Social and Economic Reference Book

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