Geological investigations in focus
By Olga Belova
The major areas are to be reflected in Belarus’ geological branch development strategy until 2025 — currently being prepared. The strategy will tackle information-analytical, sci-tech and staff matters, as well as innovative development.
“Close attention should be paid to increasing the attractiveness of geological studies of subsurface resources, through better legislation and the introduction of economic stimulation mechanisms,” notes Belarus’ Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Vladimir Tsalko. “The geological industry should be united, having efficiently working management bodies, as well as manufacturing and research organisations. Only then will there be a return.”
According to the Minister, to use mineral resources more effectively, we need to launch advanced technologies for extraction and application of mineral resources. “No geological research area should be distanced from practical geology in 2012,” stresses the Minister. He has instructed the Geology Department to co-ordinate its research efforts to develop and introduce modern technologies to process mineral resources.
Mr. Tsalko tells us that the approach to attracting investors has changed considerably. He explains, “Efforts to attract investors have revealed that Belarusian legislation is imperfect and that methods are outdated regarding geological prospecting. There are also problems with personnel.”
In forming concessionary offers and tax rates, it’s clear that systematised efforts should draw on international experience. Mr. Tsalko adds, “We should keep in mind that a Presidential decree came into force on January 1st, 2012, stipulating new conditions for subsurface mining. Considerable organisational efforts will be required this year to fulfil the decree.”
In 2011, Belgeologiya’s oil reserves rose by 264,000 tonnes (surpassing the target of 250,000 tonnes). Two new hydrocarbon fields have been detected, with drilling beginning on the first exploration well, over 5,000 metres deep.
The problem of supplying cement factories in Kostyukovichi and Krichev with raw materials for the next 50 years has been resolved. Meanwhile, two new cement plants are being built in the Vetka and Dobrush districts and prospecting of the northern part of the Lelchitsy brown coal deposit continues. The Petrikov potash salts deposit is to be drilled, as are some parts of the Starobin potash salts deposit.
A total of eight solid commercial mineral fields came into exploitation last year.