Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic

AZERBAIJAN SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC (AZ: Azerbaijan Sovet Sosialist Respublikasy; RU: Азербайджанская Советская Социалистическая Республика), Azerbaijan, is located in the eastern part of the Transcaucasia. It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, borders the Dagestan ASSR to the north, Georgian SSR to the north-west, Armenian SSR to the west, Iran and partly Turkey to the south. The area is 86,600 square kilometres. The population is 6303 thousand people (1982). The capital is Baku city. There are in the country 61 rural districts, 63 cities, and 122 settlements of the urban type.

The general characteristic of the economy. Azerbaijan is the industrial republic with the developed agriculture, the major oil and gas extracting region of the Transcaucasia. The major branches of the heavy industry are: engineering (the production of the oil field equipment; electronic, electrical, instrument industries), metalworking, fuel industry, chemical and petrochemical industry, electrical power generation, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, etc. The mining industry is represented by the extraction of the oil and gas, iron ore, alunite, lead-zinc ore, rock salt, mineral waters. Oil and gas hold the major place (48.3%) in the structure of the fuel industry of the republic, oil products are transported in large quantities to other parts of the country. The power capacity of all electrical power plants is more than 3 million kilowatts, including about 500 thousand kilowatts of the hydraulic power plants (1980). The power generation is 14.6 billion kilowatt-hours (1981), including 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours at the hydraulic power plants. The length of the railways is 1,879 kilometres, the length of the roads is 23,9 thousand kilometres, including the 17,3 thousand kilometres of the roads with the hard pavement (1979). The maritime transport is significantly developed (over 20% of the cargo freight of all the types of the public transport). The main sea port is the Baku city.

The geyser

Nature. Azerbaijan is located mainly in the subtropical zone, and stretches from the north-west to the south-east towards the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan is the mountainous country, where the high ridges and plateaus of the different lengths are combined with the plains and lowlands. The mountains occupy about 60% of the whole territory, and the lowlands occupy about 40% of the territory (mainly the Kura-Aras lowland).

The 4 parts distinguish themselves in the relief: the Greater Caucasus mountain (system) range (the Bazardüzü mountain, 4466 metres); the Lesser Caucasus mountain (system) range, which includes the Nakhichevan mountainous region (the Gyamysh mountain, 3724 metres, the Kapydzhyg mountain, 3904 metres); the Lankaran mountain (system) range (the Kemyurkey mountain, 2477 metres); the Kura-Aras lowland, which is located in the central part of the republic between these mountain systems, the eastern part of which lies below the level of the ocean (down to minus 28 metres).

The climate is mostly subtropical. The average annual temperatures of the air are from 15 degrees Celsius in the lowlands down to 0 degrees Celsius or lower in the high mountainous zone at the altitude of about 3000 metres, and the annual rainfall is from 200 millimetres to the south-west from the Absheron Peninsula to 1400 millimetres in the Astara region. Azerbaijan is the country of the small mountain rivers. The largest rivers of the Caucasus are Kura and Aras, which are flowing mainly through the territory of Azerbaijan, play the big role in the irrigated agriculture of the republic. Kura is navigable within Azerbaijan for the significant length. There are developed in the mountains of Azerbaijan the forest vegetation, subalpine and alpine meadows; the steppes and semi-deserts still exist on the plains; the region of the humid subtropical climate is near the coast of the Caspian Sea in the south-east.

Ilandag mountain

The geological structure. The territory of Azerbaijan is the part of the Alpine folded geosynclinal region and comprises the folded systems, which occupy the eastern parts of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, of the Kura depression, which is separating them, and also the Middle Caspian and South Caspian depressions. There is prominent in the north-east the overlaid Kusar-Divichi downfold, which is occupying the eastern section of the Ciscaucasia foredeep, which is somewhat displaced towards the south, and is formed mainly by the Neogene-Quaternary depositions. The meganticlinorium of the Greater Caucasus is located to the south, where there are extensively developed the depositions of the Mesozoic, Paleogene, and partially Neogene-Quaternary. There is prominent along the axial strip of the Greater Caucasus the large uplift, namely, the Tfan anticlinorium, which is formed by the Lower and Middle Jurassic depositions, which have been broken through at the west by the (sills) tabular sheet intrusions of the base composition.

The Belokan-Zaqatala group of the copper-polymetallic deposits is associated with the Lower Jurassic depositions of the Tfan anticlinorium. The meganticlinorium of the Greater Caucasus is limited at the north by the Tengi-Beshbarmak anticlinorium, which is formed by the Cretaceous and Jurassic rocks. The Shahdag-Kizi synclinorium, which is formed by the Upper Jurassic and Cretaceous, is located to the south. The Tfan anticlinorium is limited at the south by the Main Caucasian thrust fault, along which the Lower and Middle Jurassic depositions have been overturned and thrusted to the east over the Upper Cretaceous depositions, and to the west over the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous depositions of the Zaqatala-Kov-Dag synclinorium. The Durudzhin cover plate stretches at the south of the Zaqatala-Kov-Dag synclinorium along the northern edge of the Vandam anticlinorium, and is formed mainly by the Jurassic rocks, which are thrusted over the Cretaceous formations of this anticlinorium. The Vandam anticlinorium, which is the marginal structural element of the northern side of the Transcaucasian median mass, submerges in the eastern direction, and is covered at the south by the Quaternary depositions of the Alazan-Agrichai depression. The volcanogenic-sedimentary strata of the Bajocian and Upper Cretaceous, which are very characteristic for the Mesozoic of the Kura depression and the Lesser Caucasus, play the important role in its structure. At the east of the meridian of the Girdimanchay river, the Vandam anticlinorium and the adjacent structures of the Greater Caucasus submerge along the Western Caspian fault under the Shamakhy-Gobustan synclinorium, which goes under the Absheron periclinal downfold near the coast of the Caspian Sea. It is characteristic for these negative structures the great thickness of the Cenozoic strata, the extensive manifestation of the mud volcanism (more than 200 mud volcanoes are known in Azerbaijan as a whole), the presence of the brachymorphic and diapiric oil and gas bearing structures. The Kura depression within the limits of Azerbaijan stretches in the sub-latitudinal direction from the Iori river at the west to the Caspian Sea at the east. The thick (up to 8 kilometres) molasse stratum of the Oligocene-Quaternary age, which is laying on the Mesozoic-Paleogene complex structure, takes part in its formation. The pre-Alpine substrate depressions, which are having the block structure, submerge in the steplike manner to the south-eastern direction, which is manifested by the existence of the series of the downfolds and uplifts, which are dividing them. All the structures are complicated by the thrust faults, which are conferring to them the scaly structure.

It has been determined by the geological-geophysical researches, that the structure of the molasse complex of the Kura depression does not coincide with the structure of the pre-molasse formations, which follows the structure of the pre-Alpine basement. At the pre-orogenic stage of the development, the Kura depression, together with the Vandam anticlinorium (Greater Caucasus) at the north and the Somkhit-Agdam zone (Lesser Caucasus) at the south, represented the unified activated median mass. The Lower Kura downfold extends from the Talysh-Vandam Mesozoic bulge to the east, where the thickness of the sedimentary cover exceeds 20 kilometres. The South Caspian depression, which has the heterogeneous structure, is the direct continuation of the Lower Kura downfold at the east.

The columnar separations.

There are industrially oil and gas bearing there the Mesozoic and Paleogene complexes of the depositions withing the limits of the Middle Kura downfold, and the Pliocene depositions in the Lower Kura downfold. The meganticlinorium of the Lesser Caucasus, which is having the fold-block structure, is characterized by the moderate folding in the peripheral parts and the intense folding in the central parts. Within its limits are prominent: the Somkhit-Agdam, Sevan-Karabakh (ophiolite), Miskhan-Kafan, Aras and Talysh tectonic zones. Somkhit-Agdam zone is characterized by the uplifts in the echelon formation, latitudinal and transversal downfolds, which are limited by the flexures and faults, is formed by the thick volcanogenic-sedimentary rocks of the Mesozoic (Jurassic, Cretaceous) and partly of the Paleogene. There are associated with the structures of this zone the deposits of the ores of the iron, copper, cobalt, alunite, base metals, etc. The southern limit of the zone is the Mrovdag deep fault, along which it is thrust over the adjacent Sevan-Karabakh zone. The latest is limited at the south by the Lachin-Bashlybel fault of the deep laying. There participate in the formation of this zone the volcanogenic and reef formations of the Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous, the cherty-diabasic and carbonatic formations of the Cretaceous, the andesitic formation of the Eocene, the land based volcanogenic and subaerial formations of the Pliocene and Quaternary. There are extensively developed within the limits of the zone the ultramafic rocks and Paleogene-Neogene acidic intrusions, with which there are associated the deposits of the ores of the chromium, mercury, precious metals, and of the non-metallic raw materials.

Aras zone is characterized by the sub-platform development; there participate in its structure the depositions from the Devonian to the Quaternary, which are represented by the sedimentary and volcanogenic complexes. The zone comprises the Sharur-Julfa anticlinorium, Zangezur uplift, Ordubad synclinorium, and Nakhchivan overlaid downfold. The Eocene depositions of the Zangezur uplift have been broken through by the Paleogene Meghri-Ordubad polyphase granitoidal batholith, with which there are associated the copper-molybdenum deposits, the manifestations of the base metals and precious metals. The Paleozoic depositions of the Sharur-Julfa anticlinorium include the deposits of the polymetallic ores. The Talysh zone is the area of the late-Alpine folding, is formed by the thin carbonatic formation of the Upper Cretaceous, the flyscheous sediments from the Paleocene to the Lower Eocene, the trachybasaltic Eocene formation of the significant thickness, and the flyscheous-terrigenous formation of the Lower Oligocene. There are common within the limits of the uplifts the intrusions of the gabbro-teschenites, essexites, and gabbro-syenites.

Hydrogeology. There are prominent several artesian basins on the territory of Azerbaijan within the limits of the foothill and lowland zones, the part of them has the fresh and slightly mineralized ground waters with natural resources of about 86,400 thousand cubic metres per day. The ground waters in the Kura-Aras lowland are strongly mineralized, in some areas with the industrial content of the iodine and bromine. There are confined to the mountain massifs of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus the small basins of the mostly fresh waters of the fracture origin; the waters of the increased mineralization are common in the Neogene depositions of the Djeyranchol, Adjinour, Gobustan foothills, and the fresh ones in the valleys of the rivers. There are known in the mountainous zone more than a thousand of the sources of the mineral waters (including the geysers) with the temperature from 20 to 70 degrees Celsius, carbon dioxide ones in the Lesser Caucasus, hydrogen sulfide ones in the western part of the Greater Caucasus, nitrogen ones in the Talysh, methane ones in the eastern part of the Greater Caucasus (in the lowland regions). The natural resources of the mineral waters are more than 16 thousand cubic metres per day.

Seismicity. In general, the whole territory of Azerbaijan has high seismic activity. There are mainly distinguished in the republic the two areas of the possible strong earthquakes. The first area (Shamakhy-Zaqatala, Dashkesan-Zangezur area of the Nakhichevan ASSR) is characterized by the high seismic activity (at least 8 points); there are possible the earthquakes of up to 9 points in the epicentre with the depth of the hypocentres of 15-20 kilometres; the frequency of the recurrence of the perceptible earthquakes (4-6 points) in this area is three times more than in the second one. The second area (the Kura and Caspian depressions, as well as the Absheron area) is characterized by the comparatively low seismic activity, there are possible the earthquakes of up to 7 points in the epicentre with the depth of the hypocentres of 20-50 kilometres.

The minerals. The most important minerals of Azerbaijan are the oil, gas and gas condensate, the ores of the ferrous, non-ferrous and precious metals, and also the non-metallic raw materials, building materials and mineral waters (map).

(Map) The Azerbaijan SSR

The deposits are numbered

Oil and gas. The fields of oil, gas and condensate are very common on the territory of Azerbaijan and in the water area of the Caspian Sea. The major oil and gas bearing regions are the Absheron-Gobustan, Kura and Caspian-Quba. The Absheron-Gobustan region is located within the limits of the south-eastern dip of the Greater Caucasus (Absheron Peninsula, Absheron archipelago) and its further extension at the east (Absheron threshold), and also the southern limbs of this dip (Gobustan). The Kura region encompasses the Kura depression and the adjacent areas of the sea (Baku archipelago), the Caspian-Quba region is located on the north-eastern slope of the south-eastern dip of the Greater Caucasus (Siyazan monocline, etc.). Within the limits of the Absheron peninsula, Absheron archipelago, Baku archipelago, Lower Kura lowland and south-eastern Gobustan, the major industrial oil and gas bearing suite (formation) is the productive thick stratum (Middle Pliocene); the non-significant oil reservoirs are confined to the Absheron and Akchagyl depositions (Upper Pliocene) within the limits of the Absheron peninsula and Lower Kura lowland. The oil reservoirs are also found in the Cretaceous volcanogenic stratum in the Muradkhanli-Zardab area. The main oil and gas bearing suite (formation) (productive stratum) is represented by the frequent alternation of the sands, sandstones and clays.

The primary type of the spread of the traps of the oil and gas is anticlinal, often complicated by the ruptures and mud volcanoes, often are found non-structural traps (lithological, stratigraphical). In the Caspian-Quba region and the Kurdamir zone, the oil and gas bearing ability is confined to the Miocene-Paleogene and Upper Mesozoic depositions. In the Kirovabad zone, the oil bearing ability is confined to the Paleogene. The oils of the fields of Azerbaijan are of the high quality, sulfur-free or low-sulfur, paraffin-free or slightly paraffinic. The very light (so called white) and oily oils have been found in the upper horizons of the productive stratum. The natural gases of the fields are the methane ones (up to 90-98% of the methane), often contain significant quantity of the condensate (the Karadag, Bulla, Bahar, Kalmas, etc, oil fields). The unique oils of the Maikop suite (formation) of the Naftalan field (near Kirovabad) have the medicinal properties. There are very common in some places in Azerbaijan the oil bearing and bituminized sands. There are known the numerous depositions of the oil shales (South-Eastern Caucasus).

Alunite beneficiation plant

The iron ores are represented by the four genetic types: magmatic segregation, magnetite skarn, hydrothermal-metasomatic (hematite) and sedimentary. There is industrially interesting the second type, the deposits of which are concentrated in the Dashkesan ore region of the Somkhit-Agdam zone. The total reserves of this group of the deposits are 250 million tonnes in the A+B+C1 categories (1981). The ore bodies are of the tabular form, of the length of up to 2000 metres, of the thicknes of up to 56 meters. There are prominent the magnetite proper (90% magnetite) and the sulfide-magnetite (20%) ores. The content of Fe is more than 45% in the solid magnetite ores, 30-45% in the magnetite skarn, 15-25% in the magnetite-garnet skarn. The Dashkesan deposit is the resource base of the metallurgical industry of Transcaucasia. The hematite ores are represented by the Alabashly deposit. The ores are of the low grade, of the cherty type. The sedimentary iron ores are represented by the magnetite sandstones in the Dashkesan, Shamkhor, Khanlar regions, and by the titanium-magnetite sands on the Lankaran-Astara coast of the Caspian Sea.

The manifestations of the manganese ore are known in the Somkhit-Agdam (Molla-Djallin, Dashsalakhly) and Aras (Bichenag and Alyagin) zones. The thickness of the ore bearing packs is 0.3-3 metres, the length is 45-700 metres, the content of Mn is 10-25%. Small, but numerous outcrops of the chromium ores are confined to the 260 kilometres long strip (160 kilometres in Azerbaijan) of the ophiolite belt of the Lesser Caucasus and are associated with the dunites and peridotites. The ore of the Geydar deposit belongs to the highest metallurgical grades with the content of the Cr2O3 of 43.5-52.6%; of the Cr2O3:FeO of 3.5-4.

The aluminium ores are represented by the deposits of the alunites and bauxites. The alunite deposits are known in the Dashkesan, Shamkhor and Ordubad regions. The most known deposit is the Zaglik one, which is confined to the volcanogenic-sedimentary strata of the Middle and Upper Jurassic, which have been broken through by the Dashkesan intrusive.

Mud volcano (salse)

Alunite associates with kaolinite, quartz, hematite, limonite, chalcedony, opal, etc. The cutoff grade of alunite is 25%. The thickness of the tabular depositions is 20 metres, of which 95% is the ore mass (alunite and quartz), 5% are the clayish minerals. The Zaglik deposit is the resource base of the Kirovabad aluminium plant, which has been commissioned in 1960. The manifestations of the bauxites have been found in the Ilichevsk region of the Nakhchivan ASSR in the terrigenous-carbonatic depositions of the Devonian-Permian in the form of the bodies of the tabular and lenticular shape, with the thickness of 2-13 metres and the length of 1.5-2 kilometres. The chert module is of the 2:1 type (allites and siallites).

The most significant manifestations of the cobalt mineralization are known in the Dashkesan and Ordubad ore regions. The first one is genetically related to the Dashkesan granitoidal intrusive and is overlaid on the skarn-magnetite ores, the second one is in the skarn zone of the Meghri-Ordubad pluton. The main minerals are the cobaltite, alloclasite, glaucodot, safflorite, cubanite, cobalt-pyrite.

Mining works at the Karadag limestone deposit

The copper ores are represented by the copper-pyrite and copper-porphyry depositions. The copper-pyrite ore bodies are known in the Kedabek region, where they, in the form of the stock-like bodies (50x100 metres), are located in the upper horizons of the stratum of the Bajocian quartzous plagioporphyries. The upper horizons of the stocks are formed by the copper and copper-zinc ores, the lower horizons are formed by the iron pyrite ores. The main minerals are chalcopyrite, pyrite, sphalerite, galena, arsenopyrite, etc. The copper-porphyry ores are concentrated in the Ordubad mining region, and are spatially associated with the apical and peripheral parts of the Paleogene-Miocene Meghri-Ordubad granitoidal batholith. The major minerals are chalcopyrite, molybdenite and pyrite. The ores on the surface are oxidized and contain 0.2-1% of Cu, and the ores in the deep horizons contain 0.3-0.6% of Cu on average. In the Aras zone along the line of the Nakhchivan fault, in the area of the development of the Oligocene and the Lower Miocene volcanites, there is placed the series of the manifestations of the native copper, which is forming the strip of the length of about 70 kilometres, the thickness of the certain copper bearing layers is from 0.5 to 9 metres.

The molybdenum ores associate with copper in the Paragachay and Diahchay deposits (Ordubad region), with copper and lead in the Temiruchandag-Bagyrsah deposits (Kelbadzhar region). The Paragachay molybdenum deposit is being developed. The content of Mo is 0.2-1.1%, of Cu is 0.002-2.1%, of Re in the molybdenite is 0.04%, of Se is 0.006%, of Fe is 0.02%. The ore manifestations of tungsten are known in the Nakhchivan ASSR and Kalbajar region; there have been noted the scheelite in the quartz veins, aplites and listvenites, and the wolframite in the quartz veins. The tungsten bearing ore bodies are confined to the hornfels of the Upper Eocene in the contact zones of the Meghri-Ordubad and Dalidag plutons.

The arsenic ores are represented by the Bittibulag deposit (enargite) in the Kedabek region and by the Darrydag deposit (orpiment-realgar) in the Julfa region (was developed before 1941).

The deposits of the mercury ores have been uncovered in the central part of the Sevan-Karabakh zone (Levchay, Shorbulag, Agyatag, Agkaya and Narzanlik).

Antimony has been noted in the Lev and Kesandag (Nakhchivan ASSR) deposits of mercury.

The lead-zinc ores are associated with the pyrite-polymetallic deposits of the Belokan-Sheki metallogenic zone of the southern slope of the Greater Caucasus (Filizchay, Katsdag, Katekh, Dzhikhikh, Cheer, Katsmala, etc.). In the Somkhit-Agdam zone of the Lesser Caucasus, there is known the small Mekhmanin lead-zinc deposit in the Middle Jurassic volcanogenic stratum. Two small deposits of the lead-zinc ores are noted in the Nakhchivan ASSR, namely, the Gyumushlug one, which is confined to the limestones of the Middle-Upper Devonian, and the Agdari one, which is confined to the volcanics of the Eocene.

The mineral raw materials for the metallurgy are also represented by the fluxing limestones (Hachbulag), dwarfs and refractory clays (Chardakhly), bentonite clays (Dashsalahli, Gobustan-Shamakhy zone), numerous manifestations of the secondary quartzites (Somkhit-Agdam region), pyrophyllites (Kyrvakar), andalusites (Nakhchivan ASSR), serpentinites (the central part of the Lesser Caucasus). The forecasted reserves of dolomite (the refractories of the 1st class) of the Nehram deposit, which are forming the Upper Triassic, are estimated at the hundreds of million tonnes.

The laying of the gas pipeline

Of the mined chemical raw materials, there are known the deposits of the iron pyrite of the Chiragidzor-Toganali group of the Khanlar region, which are located in the volcanogenic and volcanogenic-sedimentary depositions of the Middle Jurassic, and the deposits of the rock salt (Duzdag, Nehram and Pusyan), which are located in the Miocene sand-clayish and limestone-marlish depositions of the Nakhchivan ASSR. The total length of the salt bearing basin of the Aras zone is up to 250 kilometres, with the width of 15-20 kilometres, and the thickness of the depositions of several tens of metres. The balance reserves of the exploited Nakhchivan deposit contain 93 million tonnes in the A+B+C1 categories (1964), and the reserves of the spare Nehram deposit are 736 million tonnes (1970). The forecasted reserves are estimated at the 2-2.5 billion tonnes. There exist within the area of the Absheron peninsula the small deposits of the lake salt, of which 3-5 thousand tonnes of salt are extracted annually for the local needs. The barite deposits of the vein type (Chovdar, Kuschi, Zaglik, Bayan, Bashkishlak, Chaykend, Azat, Tonashen, etc.) are confined to the Middle Jurassic volcanites. The zeolite bearing ash tuffs of the Tauz region, which are laying among the carbonatic depositions of the upper Santonian in the form of the tabular deposition of the thickness on average of 25-30 metres, contain the high-cherty zeolites (clinoptilolite) in the tuffs from 20 to 80%, and 55% on average in the whole deposit.

The semi-precious and ornamental stones are represented by the amethyst and garnets in the skarns of the Dashkesan and Ordubad regions, by the rock crystal in the Alpine veins of the Greater Caucasus, by the tourmalines of the exocontact of the Atabek-Slavic intrusive of the Lesser Caucasus, by the chalcedony, agate and heliotrope in the Santonian volcanites. The agate accumulations in the form of the secretions, geodes, amygdules, veins and lenses are noted in the Aghjacand and Kazakh downfolds, and are associated with the Upper Cretaceous volcanites of the intermediate and basic composition. There occur the jewellery and technical varieties in the Sevan-Karabakh zone, the Eyvazli deposit in the Kubatly region is promising.

The travertine quarry

The non-metallic building materials are represented by the large array of the deposits of the gypsum, anhydrite, and carbonic calcium gypsum (Upper-Aghjacand, Kirovabad and Aras) with the total reserves in the A+B+C1 categories of 60 million tonnes (1981); of the bentonite clays (Dashsalahli) with the reserves in the B+C1 categories of 84553 thousand tonnes (1981); of the sawing stone (Gyuzdek, Dovlatyarli, Karadag, Dilagardi, Shahbulag, Naftalan, Martakert, Dashsalahli, Kedzherli-Kai, Dzegam, Agdag, etc.) with the total reserves in the A+B+C1 categories of 490 million tonnes (1981); of the facing stones (Gyulbaht, Dashkesan, Shakhtakhti, Gulabli, Shushi, etc.) with the reserves in the A+B+C1 categories of 41 million cubic metres (1981); of the cement raw materials (Karadag), including the trass (Kerogli, Aydag, etc.). The Quaternary andesite-basalts of the Kelbajar region, the reserves of which are very significant, are suitable for the melted stone casting. There have been researched about 200 deposits of the clays for the production of the expanded clay, agloporite, brick and tile products. The quartz sands for the glass production (glass packaging, window glass, etc.) are uncovered in the Miocene-Pliocene depositions of the Gobustan, Absheron peninsula, and Quba region. The reserves of the quartz sands are expressed in the tens of million tonnes. There exist the numerous deposits of the gravel, sand, and other building materials.

The thermal waters are common along the south-western side of the Kura depression (Dalimammadli, Shirvaldy, Mir-Bashir, Agdjabedi, and Zhdanovsk; the temperature of the waters in the spout is 65-90 degrees Celsius, the yield is 200-864 cubic metres per day, the mineralization is 5-10-15 grams per litre), in the Lankaran lowland (Masally, Lankaran and Astara; the temperature of the waters is 43-64 degrees Celsius, the mineralization is 35 grams per litre, the yields of the certain drilled wells reach up to 3500 cubic metres per day), in the Caspian-Quba area (Khachmaz, Khudat and Divichi regions; the waters contain up to 30 milligrams per litre of iodine and 75 milligrams per litre of bromine, the temperature of the waters is 50-70 degrees Celsius, the mineralization is up to 60 grams per litre, the depth of the availability is down to 3000 metres), and in the Absheron area (Kalaalty and Divichi regions; the water of the Naftusya type with the content of iodine, bromine, boron, etc., the temperature of the waters, which have been unsealed by the numerous drilled wells, is 65-90 degrees Celsius, the mineralization is 60-110 grams per litre). The industrial iodine-bromine waters of Azerbaijan are located in the Lower Kura depression, Absheron oil and gas bearing area, and on the Caspian-Quba plain. There are explored the reserves of the Neftchala, Khalli, Babazanan, and Mishovdag sources of the iodine-bromine waters in the Lower Kura depression. The Neftchala field has been put into operation in 1933, the Khilli field has been put into operation in 1978.

The history of the development of the mineral resources. The first evidences of the usage of the stone for the production of the tools on the territory of Azerbaijan are dated, apparently, by the early Acheulean epoch of the Lower Paleolithic era (the 6th layer of the settlement in the Azykh cave at the south-east of the Lesser Caucasus, about 700-300 thousand years ago). There were used flint, quartzite, limestone, and later obsidian. The start of the widespread extraction of the clays and sand for the production of the ceramic flatware (the culture of the Shomutepe type) is associated with the Neolithic era (6-5th millennium BC). The usage of the copper and copper alloys with arsenic (the Kultepe-I settlement on the territory of the modern Nakhchivan ASSR) starts in the 5-4th millennium BC.

The ancient salt mine

There are known the ancient workings at the deposits of the copper ores within the limits of the Lesser Caucasus (the deposits of the Belokan and Kedabek ore fields). The salt deposits on the territory of the Nakhchivan ASSR are developed since the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. In the Iron Age, there were extracted mainly rock salt, gypsum, sulfur, pottery clays. The start of the usage of the oil on the territory of the modern Azerbaijan belongs to the 4th century BC; the local people used it as fuel, and burned it in the clay lamps. According to the testimonies of the Arab geographers-travelers (Masudi, Istakhri, etc.), who have visited the Baku region in the 10th century, the oil and oil gas were used for the boiling of the water, cooking of the food, burning of the quicklime, and also for the medicinal and military purposes. There was used during this period the oil, which is flowing itself on the surface from the natural outcrops. There is said in the text by Marco Polo (the end of the 13th century) about the sources, which were gushing with such force, that it was possible to load with oil the whole hundred of the vessels during one hour; there is noted the construction of the primitive dug oil wells.

Various limestones were used ever more often for the construction (the fortresses at the Shahbulak in the Agdam region and of the Shirvanshah in Shemakha, the palace of the Shirvanshah and the Maiden Tower in Baku, etc.). The origin of the artisanal extraction of the oil belongs to the end of the 16th century. The development comprised the extraction of the oil from the dug wells from the depth of 30-40 metres. A.Oleary, who has visited the Caspian coast in 1636, notes that the oil was extracted from the dug wells in the large quantity for sale. The first comprehensive description of the Baku oil extraction enterprise has been made by E.Kaempfer in 1683. The oil was scooped from the dug wells by the leather buckets with the help of the manual winches, while only one dug well (the most oil rich) has been equipped with the special lifting mechanism, which has been driven into action by the two horses. There were employed at the oil extraction enterprises about 30 workers, the productivity of the each warker reached barely 23 poods per day. Peter I (great Russian tsar) has issued the special decrees about the procedure of the extraction of the oil, and required (in the letter to the General M.A.Matiushkin) the delivery of the "thousand poods or as much as possible of the oil, and to search for the master" (1723). There are known the attempts in the early 19th century of the extraction of the oil in the water area of the Caspian Sea (two dug wells of the depth of about 2.5 metres, which have been dug by the azerbaijan person Kasymbek at the distances of 20 and 30 metres from the shore on the territory of the Bibi-Heybat bay).

The vitalization of the mining industry in Azerbaijan started in the early 19th century in association with its subjection to Russia. During these years, there were performed by the Russian mining engineers, on behalf of the expedition on the organization of the mining industry, which has been organized in Tbilisi, the auditing inspections and descriptions of the known in that time deposits of the metallic and non-metallic minerals, which were assisting in the improvement of the systems of the development and in the increase of the extraction of the raw materials. The dug well method of the extraction of the oil has not been subject to the significant changes up to the middle of the 19th century.

The drilling rig

The drilled well method of the extraction of the oil has started to be introduced in the late 40's and early 50's of the 19th century. The first three exploratory wells have been drilled in 1848 at the Bibi-Heybat field by the manual augers. Two extraction wells have been drilled in 1869 and in 1871 in Balakhany. 1,395,114 poods of oil have been extracted in 1872 in the Baku region. The lease system has been abolished on February 1, 1872, and the law has been introduced about the oil extraction enterprises on the principles of the free competition. There were operating at the Baku oil fields 12 companies in 1873, 79 companies in 1883, 180 companies in 1913. There operated 9 drilled wells (average depth was 47 metres) in 1873, 170 wells (298 metres) in 1900, most of which were located at the Balakhany, Sabunchu, Bibi-Heybat, Ramani oil fields. The first oil (refinery) processing plant has been built in 1860 in Surahani, the paraffin wax plant has been built in 1861 on the Holy island (now the Artem island). The oil pipeline from the oil fields to the oil (refinery) processing plant has been constructed in 1878 in Balakhany, and the largest in the world at that time product pipeline from Baku to Batumi (diameter 200 millimetres, length 835 kilometres) with 16 pumping stations, which has been designed by the Russian engineer Vladimir Shukhov, has been commissioned in 1897-1907. The extraction of the oil in the Baku region has reached 11.5 million tonnes in 1901. The compressor operation of the drilled wells has been used in Balakhany for the first time in the history of the global oil industry. They have used the rotary drilling in 1911 in Surahani, and 12 wells have been drilled till 1917 by this method. They have started since 1915 in Ramani to extract the oil by the deep pumps, and the gas lift method of the extraction has been tested there in 1916 for the first time. The equipment of the oil fields has been destroyed by 1920 almost completely (the extraction of the oil was 2.9 million tonnes).

The mining industry. The share of the mining industry in the total industrial production is about 6% (in the volume of gross output, 1980). The dynamics of the extraction of the minerals is shown in the table, the placement of the mining industry is shown on the map (map).

The marine (offshore) oil fields

The oil and gas industry. After the establishment of the soviet government in Azerbaijan and the nationalization of the industry, its restoration and reconstruction were performed. On the personal instruction by V.I.Lenin, the actions have been developed on the restoration of the destroyed oil pipelines of Absheron and increase of the extraction of the oil. The first five year plan (1929-32) has been accomplished in 2.5 years. There were used the turbine drilling method (1924, M. Azerbaijan Kapelyushnikov, etc.), the automatic advancement of the drill bit (1925, M.M.Skvortsov), the deep pumping method of operation, the secondary methods of extraction, the directional drilling, the electrical logging, etc. The development of the offshore oil fields (the bay of (Lenin) Ilyich, the Artem island) has been started in 1925-35. There have been discovered before 1941 the oil and gas fields: Puta, Neftchala, Karachukhur, Sulutepe, Kala, Lokbatan, Kergez-Kyzyltepe, Zykh, Kushkhana, Shongar, Chakhnaglyar, Yasamal valley, Siyazan, Buzovny. The extraction of the oil has reached 23.5 million tonnes, which was 72% of all oil extraction of the USSR (1941).

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45, the level of the extraction of the oil has decreased (11.5 million tonnes in 1945) in association with the termination of the drilling and exploration works. During the afterwar years, the technical base of the oil and gas industry has been restored and re-equipped, as the result of which there have been discovered and commissioned into the development the new oil fields (Kyurovdag, Mishovdag, Kalmas, Karabagly, Kyursangi, etc.). The Oil Rocks offshore oil field has been discovered in 1949, and many oil fields of the Baku and Absheron archipelagos have been uncovered after it. The discovery (1955) of the Karadag gas condensate field, and later of the Zyrya, Kalmas, Bakhar, Bulla, Southern Area, and other fields, has led to the increase of the extraction of the gas from 1.3 billion cubic metres (1955) to 14.1 billion cubic metres (1980), which has allowed to create the new branch of the industry of the republic, namely, the gas industry. The offshore extraction of the oil has become since the middle 60's the leading one in the republic. The billionth tonne of the oil has been extracted in 1971 (750 million tonnes have been extracted after the October Revolution of 1917); 14.7 million tonnes of the oil, including the gas condensate, have been extracted in 1980.

The change of the (shift) watch on the offshore drilling platform

The extraction of the oil is mainly performed at the east of the republic and from the bottom of the Caspian Sea. 40 oil fields are developed on the land. The oil fields of the land of the Azerbaijan SSR are subdivided into the three groups in accordance with the rate of the usage of the reserves and the geological-operational characteristic. The first group includes the oil fields of the Absheron peninsula, which are at the late stage of the operation (the time of the development is 30-100 years or more), with low current reservoir pressures, high flooding of the production (80-97%), but still having the significant reserves (Bibi-Heybat, Surakhany, Balakhany-Sabunchu-Ramani, Binagady, Kala, Buzovny-Mashtaga, and others). The second group includes the comparatively new oil fields (the time of the development is 10-20 years), mainly of the Lower Kura depression (Kyurovdag, Mishovdag, Karabagly, Kyursangi, etc.), which are characterized by the abnormally high initial reservoir pressures, low litho physical properties, significant depths of the bedding of the productive horizons. The third group includes the new oil fields (Muradkhanli, Zagli-Zeyva), which are distinguishing themselves by the very complicated geological structure.

The offshore extraction of the oil

There are operated in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea the 12 major oil and gas fields, of which some are in the initial (Mud Hill, the shoal of Zhdanov, Bulla), second (Bakhar), late (Oil Rocks, Sangachali-sea and Duvanni-sea, Peschanyi, Artem Island and Gyurgyany-sea, the shoal of Darwin, Southern Area, Zhiloj-Azi-Aslanova) stages, and in the experimental-industrial operation (the Absheron shoal, the 28 of April, and others). The extraction of the oil is performed mainly by the gushing and mechanised methods. There are used the methods for the maintenance of the pressure, and the complex collection of the methods, which are increasing the rate of the displacement of the oil and of the intensification of the yield in the drilled wells. In addition to the water impact, they also use at the oil fields of Azerbaijan the new methods for the increase of the oil recovery ratio (the intra-layer sources of the burning, steam, and others). There is under construction at the Balakhany oil field the experimental site of the oil mine. There perform the prospecting, exploration, and extraction of the oil and gas on land and in the Caspian Sea the "Kaspmor-neftegazprom" all-union productive consortium of the Ministry of the gas industry of the USSR, and the "Azerneft" productive consortium of the Ministry of the oil industry of the USSR, in the system of which the oil and gas extracting administrations perform the extraction of the oil and gas. The development of the oil industry of Azerbaijan will be performed in the future by the rational development of the existing fields, by the discovery and the commissioning of the new fields, by the usage of the progressive methods of the extraction of the oil from the underground reserves.

The extraction of the iron ores is performed since 1954 using the two open pit mines at the Dashkesan group of the deposits by the Azerbaijan (GOK, Gorno-Obogatitelnyj Kombinat) Mining and Beneficiation Combine. The system of the development is with the transportation of the waste rocks. The depth of the development is 200 metres. The delivery of the ore to the beneficiation plant is performed by the dump trucks and the cableway carriages. The ore is subject to the three stage crushing, dry magnetic separation for the production of the concentrate (suitable for the blast furnace, with the content of iron of 50.7%) and of the industrial product, which is regrinded and beneficiated by the wet magnetic separation (the sintering concentrate with the content of iron of 61.8%).

The extraction of the ore is 2,925 thousand tonnes, from which 1,078 thousand tonnes of concentrate have been produced (1979).

The extraction of the ores of the non-ferrous metals is performed at the Zaglik (alunite), Paragchay (molybdenum and copper), Gyumushlug and Agdari (lead, zinc), and other deposits. The aluminium plants are acting on the basis of the Zaglik alunite deposit. They produce from the alunite, besides the alumina, the sulfuric acid and potassium sulphate. The deposit is developed by the open pit method. The system of the development is with the transportation of the waste rocks. The ore is delivered to the beneficiation plant by the dump trucks, the crushing of the ore is performed by the cone crushers.

The mining works

The extraction of the copper-molybdenum ores is perfomed since 1952 at the Paragchay deposit by the underground method. The deposit has been unsealed by the four capital adits down to the depth of 320 metres. The system of the development is by the blocks along the strike with the reinforced strut roof supports. The ore is delivered to the beneficiation plant by the dump trucks, the crushing of the ore is performed by the jaw and cone crushers, the grinding is performed by the ball mills, the benefication is performed by the flotation process.

The lead-zinc ores are extracted since 1954 by the underground method at the Gyumushlug and Agdari deposits. The deposits have been unsealed by the adits down to the depth of 200 metres. The system of the development is the room and pillar one with the shrinkage of the ore; the mining and transportation equipment and the benefication of the ore are analogous to that which is used during the extraction of the copper-molybdenum ores.

The rock salt on the territory of Azerbaijan is extracted by the underground method at the Nakhchivan deposit. The system of the development is the room and pillar one; the mining and transportation equipment includes the loaders, scraper conveyors, winches of the endless haul. The annual extraction is 80 thousand tonnes of salt. The blocky salt is shipped to the needs of the local industry, agriculture, and others.The beneficiation plant

The precious and ornamental (semi-precious) stones are extracted by the open pit method at the deposits as the independent raw material and as the by-product during the extraction of the other minerals. The jewellery grade agates (the colour is mostly grey, with the vague striped or blotchy pattern, about 90% are of the 2nd and 3rd grades) are extracted in the small quantity at the Adzhikend deposit. The thickness of the productive zone is 80-100 metres, the content of the agate reaches 25% per 1 cubic metre. The raw material is subjected to the washing in the water, cutting and manual sorting. The processing is performed at the industrial site. The obsidian (the colour is dark grey, iridescent in the blue, green and purple colours, translucent in the plates with the thickness of up to 1.5 centimetres) is extracted at the Kechaldag deposit. The raw material is subjected to the cutting, polishing, and other operations. The marble onyxes (of the white, light green, green, yellowish, pink and other colours, fiber-striped, semi-transparent, translucent) are extracted at the Tutkhun and Sirab deposits. The yield of the standard raw material is more than 70%. The processing is performed at the industrial site. The jasper and heliotropic jasper (of the tobacco, bluish-green, green, red and other colours, uniform, blotchy, variegated, brecciated) are developed at the Todan deposit. The yield of the standard raw material is 90%.

The mineral raw materials 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980
Oil, thousand tonnes 22175 14744.8 17830 20187 146911
      Including in the water area of the sea 800 1574.3 6551 12217 96001
Gas, million cubic metres 2295.4 1328.0 5839 5521 14099
     Including in the water area of the sea 24.5 278.0 340 3773 12738
Iron ore, thousand tonnes - - 2000 2500 3000
Rock salt, thousand tonnes - - 56 62 80
Wall stone, million pieces - - 40 50 130
1 With gas condensate

Non-metallic building materials. 15 mechanized quarries operate in Azerbaijan on the basis of the numerous (more than 200) industrial deposits of limestone, marble, travertine, and other building materials. The largest stone extracting enterprises are the Karadag, Gyuzdek, Kergez, Mashtani, Agdam, Stepanakert, Dzegam and Kazakh ones. Azerbaijan has the deposits of the decorative-facing materials (more than 120); of which there are operated the Dashkesan, Martouni, Gorov, Shusha, Gulabli and other deposits of the marbled limestones, Karadag limestone deposit, Shakhtakhti travertine deposit. There are extracted annually at the quarries the 10 thousand cubic metres of the blank blocks of the marble, 20 thousand cubic metres of the blank blocks of the travertine, and 15 thousand cubic metres of the blank blocks of the decorative limestones. The main consumers of the blank blocks and plates are the building organizations of Azerbaijan. The part of these products is hauled to the other parts of the USSR, the travertine blocks are also exported to the foreign countries. There are developed in Azerbaijan the 22 deposits of the clays, 32 gravel-sand deposits, the deposits of the granodiorites, limestones, and others. There are extracted annually more than 1.6 million tonnes of the limestone and 250 thousand tonnes of the clays, 170 thousand tonnes of the gypsum stone, which are used at the Karadag and Tovuz cement plants, Baku gypsum plant. The extraction of the gravel, sand and crushed stone exceeds 4 million cubic metres per year. All non-metallic building materials are extracted by the open pit method. The excavators, bulldozers, scrapers are used for the stripping and extraction works.

The open pit mine at the Zaglin alunite deposit

The mining works at the Dashkesan marble deposit

There are used on the territory of Azerbaijan the ground waters of the various mineralization: with up to 1 grams per litre for the household-drinking water supply; mineral with up to 26 grams per litre, which are containing the valuable medicinal micro-components for the balneotherapy purposes; thermal with more than 10 grams per litre at the temperature of more than 30 degrees Celsius for the balneotherapy (when the medicinal components are present) and for the large scale heating; industrial, which are containing the iodine, bromine, boron, and other elements. There have been created on the basis of the unique medicinal water resources the resorts of the world importance (Naftalan, Istisu, Kalaalty, Shusha), the resorts of the all-Union and local importance. The hydrochemical resources may be effectively used for the extraction of the series of the chemical substances, of the valuable elements, of the dry mineral salts, for the production of the liquid carbon dioxide. More than 6 thousand drilled wells on the Absheron peninsula yield the thermal waters with the temperature of 40-95 degrees Celsius, the amount of heat of which is equivalent to the 200 thousand tonnes of the conventional fuel.

There is also performed in Azerbaijan the construction of the underground structures, namely, the Baku Metro, the series of the railway, hydrotechnical and other tunnels; there is mastered the super-deep drilling of the wells. One of the super-deep wells (the design depth is 15 thousand metres) has been started near the Saatly city.

The protection of the underground resources and the reclamation of the lands. The lands are recultivated, which have been disturbed during the extraction of the oil, the laying of the oil and gas pipelines, more than 40 hectares annually (mainly the planting of the forests is performed). There have been built 40 water protection facilities, which are allowing to eliminate the discharge of the sewage waters into the sea. There are introduced the means for the performing of the repair works according to the closed-loop method with the recycling of the wastes, there is performed the collection of the oil and various wastes from the surface of the sea. During the drilling of the wells, the sealed decks are used, the waste waters are recycled, the drilling cuttings are hauled to the waste dumps. During the development of the solid minerals, the forest is planted at the waste dumps, the planting is performed<