Natural Resources

The Tomsk Region abounds in natural resources.

Mineral Resources

Tomsk region is one of the leading places for hydrocarbon raw materials production in Western-Siberian region. The region is located in the southeastern part of the West Siberian oil and gas province, the initial geological resources of which are estimated at 2.45 billion tons of conventional recoverable hydrocarbons. (1 ton of oil is equivalent to 1 thousand cubic meters of gas and amounts to 1 ton of conventional hydrocarbons).

The area of ​​the Tomsk region is 316.9 thousand km2. Perspective territories are spread over 224,2 thousand km² (72%), of which 72,8 thousand km² - distributed subsoil fund and 151,4 thousand km² - undistributed fund. More than 2/3 of the territory of the oil and gas prospective lands of the region are not covered by geological prospecting.

As of January 1, 2016, in the territory of the Tomsk region 76 organizations - subsoil users, who have issued licenses for the right to use subsoil for the purpose of geological study, exploration and production of common mineral resources, have been registered. In the use of the subsoil 121 parts of the subsoil, containing deposits and common mineral resources occurences, were transferred. Most of the sites are given for use as occurences.

Initial explored reserves on the territory of the region are:

oil - 705.5 million tons;
free and dissolved gas - 361.3 billion m3;
condensate - 33.5 million tons.

Accumulated production reached:

oil - 353.6 million tons;
free and dissolved gas - 100.6 billion m3;
condensate - 7.8 million tons.
131 oilfields were discovered, including 102 oil, 21 oil and gas condensate fields, and 8 gas condensate fields.

Ore Minerals

There are the following kinds of deposits of ore minerals of commercial interest in the territory of Tomsk Region: 

  • Sedimentary iron ores 
  • Composite zircon and ilmenite placers 
  • Gold and platinum occurences
  • Zinc occurences
  • Bauxite occurences

Sedimentary marine iron ores

Total inferred resources of iron-bearing ores of more than 30% in Tomsk Region are estimated at 393 billion tons, which makes it possible to consider the region to be the largest iron-ore province in the world. One can distinguish five ore clusters in the basin – Bakcharsky, Kolpashevsky, Parabelsky, Chuziksky and Parbigsky ones.

In geological terms, the West Siberian iron-ore basin in Tomsk Region has been very poorly explored. An exception is Bakcharsky ore cluster, sometimes called a deposit. The deposit is situated in 200 km to the west of Tomsk in the Andarm and Iks interfluve. The deposit area is 1200 km2. The deposit can be divided into two segments – the Western and the Eastern ones. The average content of iron in ores of the Bakcharsky deposit is 43,09% in the Western segment and 40,15% in the Eastern segment. A special feature of Bakcharsky deposit ores is a higher content of phosphorus and vanadium.

It should be noted in the end that ore horizons of the West Siberian basin, on the whole, are characterized with a complex mining-and-geological and hydrogeological composition, which impedes large-scale mining. In case of commercial exploitation one requires special mining works based on the method of hydraulic borehole mining, though a significant depth of ore will hardly make it possible to use even this method in the nearest future.

Composite zircon and ilmenite placers 

Up to 30% of titanium dioxide and a significant part of zircon of Russia are at present concentrated in Tomsk Region. Titanium and zircon are concentrated in two large zircon and ilmenite placers – the known Tuganskoye and the new Georgievskoye deposits. Tuganskoye deposit fully prepared for exploitation is situated in 3- km to north-east of Tomsk in the area of Tugan. The depth of ore bed is from 1.4 to 14 m (on average, 7 m), that of capping is from 0 to 15 m (on average, 5.1 m). The hydrogeological conditions are simple. Pilot mining is carried out by open-cutting.

A special feature of Tugan sands is a high content of scandium, tantalum, hafnium, terres rares - lanthanum, cerium, samarium, neodymium, ytterbium and others, which makes it possible to treat the deposit as a composite one.

Ore sands amount to about 124.7 million m3, including zircon - 1380 thousand tons, ilmenite - 3400 thousand tons, leucoxene + rutile - 600 thousand tons. Besides, reserves of non-ore minerals have been booked: kaolin, quartz sand, mortar sand, molding sand, fusible clay, high-melting clay, sandstone, as well as associated components in the ore component of sands - vanadium and scandium in ilmenite, hafnium and scandium in zircon, scandium in leucoxene + rutile.

In 1991 Georgievskoye deposit of similar composition was discovered and partially explored. The deposit is situated in close proximity to Tuganskoye deposit and is its northern continuation. According to the structure and composition of the pay horizon, it does not differ from its southern counterpart, apart from a deeper bed (over 100 meters) of the pay horizon and relatively lower content of useful components. One part of the deposit has been explored – it is the Kantessky reserve, where reserves of ore sands were estimated by commercial category to the sum of 75.4 million m3. Besides, the resources of the deposit in total were estimated at about 3000 million m3

Gold and Platinum Occurrences

In total, there are 14 ore occurrences and gold ore mineralisation occurences in bedrock in Tomsk. One of them, Baturinskoye occurrence, located downstream the Tugoyarivka River, the right affluent of the Tom River, is more or less explored. The gold content in the ore fluctuates between 1-17 g/ton. Besides, the platinum content in the ores is estimated at 1.7-2.8 g/ton and there is increased silver content (0.5-6.8 g/ton). There are insignificant quantities of gold nuggets in the form of dissemination. The fineness of gold is 890-930 per mille. The inferred resources of the occurrences are estimated at 5.3 tons.

There are no large-scale gold occurrences in the region, but lately there has been revealed the commercial gold mineralisation of the Tom alluvium of the insular Aydakovskoye deposit of sand and gravel mix. The contents are not high – up to 100-200 mg/m3 (on average, 120 mg/m3), moreover, the occurrence is at the depth of 10- 12 meters.

Within the boundaries of Aydakovskoye deposit of sand and gravel mix, there are two gold gold-rich layers as thick as 1.5- 2.0 m, as wide as 320- 480 m, with the average content of 30-50 mg/m3 per layer with the increase of its content in certain samples up to 200-500 mg/m3. Besides, there are occurrences of alluvial gold mineralization in a number of small right affluents of the Tom - Kirgizka, Ushayka, Basandaika, Yakunina, Tugoyakovka.

Zinc Occurrences

The zinc occurrence known as Turuntaevskaya ore zone is located in 65 km from Tomsk, at the village of Turuntaevo. Zinc deposits in the Central area are estimated at 559 thousand tons up to the depth of 500 meters. According to experts, there are no other such, purely zinc, deposits.

Bauxite occurrences

The region has two occurrences and one unexplored deposit of karst bauxites, Tatulskoye deposit, located between the villages of Turuntaevo and Novorozhdestvenka at the northern continuation of the Barzasskoya group of bauxite deposits of Kemerovo Region. The bauxites are useful for alumina production, but the estimated expected reserves of 11.5 million tons do not allow considering the deposit at present to be a commercial one. In case of presence of a consumer in the deposit region there should be arranged exploration and estimation works.

Water Resources

There are 131023 water bodies in the territory, including: 

  • 18,100 rivers of total length of 95 thousand km; 
  • 12,900 lakes of total area of 4,451 km2
  • 6 water reservoirs of total volume of 21,198 million m3
  • 23 water reservoirs and basins regulated by the Head Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia in Tomsk Region, with the total volume of 7.6 million m3
  • -wetlands of total area of over 80 thousand km2.

Underground waters are used for supplying the population of Tomsk Region with drinking water. The total volume of expected operating resources of underground waters in Tomsk Region is 38.7 million m3/day, 31.6 million m3/day of which are secure, with the total need of the population  in drinking water of 0.33 million m3/day.

The exploration extent of underground waters is not high.  In Tomsk Region 29 deposits of fresh underground waters and 3 deposits of mineral waters have been explored. The total sum of estimated operation reserves of underground waters by categories А+В+С 1 is 1028.59 thousand m3/day, 965.47 thousand m3/day of which have been approved by the State Reserves Committee or Territorial Reserves Committee, while 62.92 thousand m3/day have been taken note of by the Council for Science and Engineering.

Only 15 of 29 explored deposits of fresh underground waters are used now. The highest number of explored deposits (19) account for the paleogenic aquifer system widely used for water supply in Tomsk Region. The main source of water supply in the south of the region is fracture zones of Paleozoic formations. Waters of neogene-quaternary deposits are used rarely, primarily for water supply in the countryside.

Despite the fact that the need in drinking water of almost all regional centres of the Region is provided by operation reserves, they are not explored in 9 of 16 regions and water supply of the population is carried out from single water wells using non-approved reserves.

The share of underground water in the balance of household and drinking water supply of administrative districts is 90-92%, and the surface waters are used only in Tomsk and Asinovsky districts, mainly for hot water supply and technical purposes. The most part of produced underground water, 57 %, is directed at meeting household and drinking needs of the population, 18 % - on the production and technical needs, mainly for maintaining formation pressure during oil extraction (Lower Cretaceous deposits of Pokurskaya suite are used for this purpose), 25 % are the losses.

The main problems of the condition of water bodies in Tomsk Region are:

The quality of drinking water and pollution of sources of drinking water supply.

The surface waters in Tomsk Region cannot be used for organization of centralized water supply owing to their vulnerability because of anthropogenic pollution. The rivers, at banks of which the largest residential areas are situated, are highly polluted as a result of repeated disposals of untreated sewage of industry, agricultural production, lumbering operation, oil and gas extraction industries.

The only reliable source of high-quality household and drinking water supply of the population of the region is underground waters. Underground water reserves are capable of meeting Tomsk Region citizens’ needs not only at present, but in long term as well. At the same time, the quality of underground water in natural conditions by a number of such indices as contents of iron, manganese, in separate cases – of phenols, nitrogen-containing substances, oil products, and in some northern districts – water dissolved gases (hydrogen sulphide, methane), does not meet requirements of Sanitary Regulations and Standards In bacteriological terms, the waters, as a rule, meet the existing requirements.

The condition of courses and banks of water bodies.

River courses are formed of relatively easily erodible sand, sand-and-shingle and sand-and-mud deposits, therefore at many parts of the Ob River and its affluents one can observe major horizontal deformation of the course (up to 15-20 m/year at the Ob and Chulym, up to 1.5-2 m/year at the Tom). In particular, intensive erosion processes can be observed at the Ob River, close to the villages of Nazino, Aleksandrovskoye, Vertikos, Kargasok, Tymsk, Kolpashevo, at the rivers of Chulym, Chay and its affluents. A rather high activity of erosion processes can be observed at the Tom River in Tomsk Region and directly near Tomsk. The danger of river bed evolution in Tomsk Region is connected with not only wash-out of banks and destruction of commercial facilities, but also with changes of the river bed levels, and consequently with changes of water levels and inundation degree of flood lands in spring period. 

The swampiness of the territory of Tomsk Region.

Wide spreading of swamps and wetlands significantly limits commercial activities, worsens the life conditions of the population, and, in particular, causes low quality of surface and underground waters as a result of high contents of iron and organic substances in swamp waters, feeding rivers and flowing in underground water levels. 

Land Resources

Tomsk Region Land fund is 31,439.1 thousand ha.

In accordance with the Law of Tomsk Region (N 29-ОZ of November 16, 1998), in order to implement functions and powers which relate, according to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, other laws and regulations, to administration of state authorities of Tomsk Region, all lands within Tomsk Region are property of Tomsk Region, excluding:

  • lands provided for meeting needs of defense and security of the country, defense industry, production of poisonous and narcotic substances;
  • lands occupied with federal energy, transport and space systems, facilities of nuclear power generation, federal systems of communications and information, meteorological service, objects of historic and cultural heritage of federal (all-Russian) importance;
  • lands of specially protected natural territories of federal importance;
  • lands of the forest fund;
  • lands occupied with water bodies belonging, under the right of ownership, to RF;
  • lands occupied with enterprises and (or) facilities according to kinds of activities of which administrative and territorial formations were created;
  • lands being property of citizens and legal entities, municipal formations;
  • other lands referred to by laws of RF as federal property.

Tomsk Region, which is situated in south-eastern part of the Western Siberian Lowland, has flat-plain landscape with inclination to north-west, with rather low altitude above sea level (120-130 m). The soil cover in the Region is formed with presence of specific features which determine its individual qualities, in particular, increased hydromorphism, explained by swampiness of the territory, and in southern regions by intensive freezing and slow melting of soils. The geographic position, extreme continental climate, special soil formation conditions determine main natural processes characteristic for the land fund of Tomsk Region: overmoisturizing, swampiness, water erosion. The anthropogenic impact on the nature leads to reconstruction of the biogeochemical structure of the landscapes. The negative processes are especially evident in agricultural lands and lands of towns.

The agrochemical properties of main types of soils of the agricultural zone are, on the whole, well explored. However, there are no results of many-year observations of content of microelements in the soils. No regularities of the dynamics of microelements in soils are revealed, as well as impact on it of main factors determining income of microelements to soils and show cover.

The lands of towns, where concentrated, various and intensive commercial activities are developed, are subjected to deep changes of the geological environment, which express themselves in development of dangerous engineering and geological processes: landslide formation, gullying, underflood and inundation, swampiness, lateral erosion.

Forest Resources

The total area of ​​the forest fund lands is 28 820.7 thousand ha, where forest lands is 68.3%, and also forests covered (19,352.3 thousand ha) - 67.1%, where artificial plantations (forest cultures) - 0,7%. Non-forest lands occupy 31.7% of the forest fund area, including swamps - 30.1%, rivers and lakes - 1%, arable land, hayfields and pastures - 0.2%, roads, clearings and manors - 0.2% sands and other lands - 0.3%.

Coniferous stands account for 67.1% of the area covered by forest, there are pine - 28.8%, cedar - 18.9%, larch, spruce and fir - 5.7%. The total stock of wood is 2856.63 million m3, including coniferous - 1601.62 million m3. Annual increase in wood is 33.23 million m3. The average stock of wood is determined at 147 m3/ha, in coniferous stands 155 m3/ha. Pine forests grow on an area of ​​5,564.2 thousand ha, occupying 28.8% of the area covered with forest. Total area of ​​pine forests includes 13.7% - young forests, 17.5% - middle-aged plantations, 11.8% - ripening and 57.1% - ripe and overmature.

The total stock of pine forests is estimated at 653.68.3 million m3. The average productivity is 117 m3/ha, which is below the productivity of other conifers. This is explained by the fact that 13.7% of pine forests are represented by youngsters of the first and second classes of age, and 24.4% grows on wetlands, where low-density and low-yield plantations of V and Va class of bonitet form.

Cedar plantations prevail on an area of ​​3659.4 thousand ha (18.9% of the area covered by forest). Cedar young growth stands at 7.5%, medium-aged plantations - 39.8%, ripening - 38.7% and ripe (at estimated ripeness 241) - 14.0%. The average productivity of cedar stands is 206 m3 / ha. In cedar forests, 47.1% of the stock of coniferous timber and 26.5% of the total timber reserves are concentrated.

In the region fir forests grow by 618.7 thousand ha, which is 3.2% of the forest-covered area. All fir forests, with an average productivity of 183 m3/ha, account for about 4% of timber reserves (113.18 million m3). By the north fir propagation decreases. Fir young growth account for 14.3% of the area of ​​fir forests, middle-aged plantations - 9.8%, ripening - 13.8%, ripe and overripe - 62.1%.

Spruce forests are found in small plots along valleys and shores of taiga rivers and streams throughout the region. It placed on 477.5 thousand ha or 2.5% of the forest area. The total timber stock is 77.68 million m3, the average productivity is 163 m3/ha. Young growths make up 11.9% of the area, middle-aged - 18.4%, ripening - 16%, ripe and over-mature - 53.7%.

Plantings of Siberian larch are marked by small areas in the northern regions of the region on a total area of ​​7.8 thousand hectares with a total stock of 1.15 million m3 of wood. There are no industrial values ​​of larch plantations in the region.

Birch forests are the largest forest formation. It is placed on 35.8% of the area covered by forest vegetation (6935.6 thousand ha). Timber reserves of birch forests are 920.76 million m3, with an average productivity of 133 m3/ha. Young growths occupy 10%, middle-aged - 21.3%, ripening - 5.6%, ripe and overripe - 63.1%, including over-mature ones - 44.0% of the area of ​​birch forests.

Aspen plantations occupy 10% of the area covered by forest (11.4% of the total timber reserves, 326.76 million m3). Young growths make up 14.6%, medium-aged plantations - 12.6%, ripening - 8.1%, ripe and overmature - 64.7%.

Other hardwoods (poplar, tree-like, shrubby willows), occupying 0.8% of the forest-covered area, are found in small areas in floodplains and on islands of large rivers, perform water protection and bank protection functions.

On the region territory forests are unevenly distributed. The least wooded areas - Shegarsky and Kozhevnikovsky districts, the most wooded is Pervomaisky district.


Fauna and fish resources

A fauna of Tomsk Region includes 2 thousand species and groups. More than 1.5 thousand of them are various groups of invertebrates, 1 species is cyclostomes, 33 species are fish, 6 species are amphibians, 4 species are reptiles, 326 species are birds and 62 species - mammals. Hunting resources include 27 species of mammals and 52 species of birds, 13 species of fish are of commercial importance.

The abundance in species variety is greatly explained by landscape and ecological type of the region. A territory about 20,022.4 thousand ha of the total area of the region (31439.1 thousand ha) belong to forest areas, 1,365.3 thousand ha – to fields, 9146.6 thousand ha – to swamps; and other kinds of areas are placed on 294.4 thousand ha. Therefore more than half of all animals in fauna inhabit in forests (or their secondary growth), about a third part of all species inhabit in water areas and water-and-wetlands.

Among the birds, the majority is migrant species - 147, non-migratory and nomadic species - 48, transient species (crossing the territory of the region, but not reproducing in its borders) - 39 and wintering species (present in the territory only in winter period) - 4. Vagrant species are represented by a rather high number (62 species), whose presence in the territory of Tomsk Region is not regular. The basis of the birds’ population is 225 nesting species. In winter the population of birds is various: in different years there were from 30 to 60 species in the territory, which depends on the presence of food (berries and seed plants) and weather conditions. The ornithological fauna of Tomsk Region by its historical origins has the Siberian and European nature, with a significant share of transpalaearctic species.

Fish Resources

In recent years natural conditions in water bodies of Tomsk Region have been very favourable for formation of reserves of lake and river fish, which make up the basis of fishery. The total commercial stock of these fish (pike, orfe, bream, roach and others) annually increases. In 2017 the total permissible fish capture for Tomsk region has determined to 3.5 thousand tons by Federal Agency for Fishery. This volume is determined on the basis of fisheries research of the scientific organization "West Siberian Scientific Research Institute of Aquatic Bioresources and Aquaculture". However, in the state of stocks of individual fish species, there are significant differences, the number of each fish species depends mainly on the hydrological and temperature regime during spawning, development of eggs and larvae. Stocks of valuable fish species (sterlet, peled, nelma, muxun) are also largely "controlled" by the intensity of their commercial seizures, including illegal (poaching). In the main northern fishing areas, the main stocks are pike, ide, roach, crucian, burbot. In the southern districts acclimatized bream predominates. Its abundance here is extremely high, and the range gradually expands down the Ob.

According to the amendments made to the Fisheries Rules for the West Siberian Fisheries Basin, from 2017 a ban on the catch of muksun and nelma was imposed. According to Tomsk region scientific organizations, its own population of peled has been formed for the past few years. Out of local fish species starlet is especially valuable, but its share in total commercial capture is extremely low (about 0.3 %).

Date of update: 17.01.2018 Printable version

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