Byelorussian Soviet Socialistic Republic

(Map) Byelorussian SSR

BYELORUSSIAN SOVIET SOCIALISTIC REPUBLIC (Belaruskaya Savetskaya Satsyyalistychnaya Respublika; RU: Белорусская Советская Социалистическая Республика), Belarus, borders Poland to the west, the Lithuanian SSR to the north-west, the Latvian SSR to the north, the Russian Federation to the north, north-east, and east, the Ukrainian SSR to the south. The area is 207.6 thousand square kilometres. The population is 9.8 million persons (at the 1 January of the 1983). The capital is the Minsk city. There are within the republic 6 provinces, 117 rural districts, 96 cities, and 111 settlements of the urban type.

General characteristic of the economy. The volume of the capital investments into the national economy of Belarus during the 1980 has amounted to 4.3 billion rubles (during the 1975, 3.8 billion rubles). The major sectors of the industry are the mechanical engineering, chemical, petrochemical, consumer products, and food. The total volume of the produce of the industry has grown (1980, relative to the 1940) by 29 times. Belarus is provided with the fuel on the account of the delivered combustible useful minerals (mineral coal, natural gas), and partially on the account of its own resources (peat, petroleum). The total production of the electrical energy, with taking into account the transfer of it into the United energetical system of the north-west and centre of the USSR, is 33.3 billion kilowatt-hours (1981). The length (1982) of the railways is 5.513 thousand kilometres, of the automobile roads with the hard pavement is 36.7 thousand kilometres.

Nature. Belarus occupies the western periphery of the East European flatland within the limits of the drainage basins of the Dnepr river (middle flow), of the Western Dvina river, and of the upper flow of the Neman river. It is characteristic for the flat surface of Belarus as a whole the alternation of the uplifted and lowland spaces, which are, within the certain places, swamped and occupied by the lakes. The major features of the relief are caused by the Quaternary mainland glaciations. The surface of the north-western part of Belarus is formed by the system of the terminal moraine ridges (Sventiany, Braslav, and Osveya), and there are at the north-east the Gorodok and Vitebsk uplands of the epoch of the Valdai glaciation. There extend between the ridges the swamped lowlands with the places of the moraine and kame hills (Polotsk, Naroch-Vileyka, upper Neman and middle Neman, and others).

From the west to the east, there extends the Belarusian ridge, which comprises the individual uplands: Grodno, Volkovysk, Novogrudok, Orsha, the highest of them Minsk (the altitude is 345 metres), and others, which have been formed mainly during the time of the Moscow glaciation. To the south of this ridge, parallel to it, there lies the strip of the glacial (water-glacial, loess, and alluvial) flatlands: Orsha-Mogilev, central Berezina river, Baranovichi, Bug river region. There is situated at the south of the republic the Belarus Polesia (the altitude is 100-150 metres), the monotonously flat surface of which is formed mainly by the fluvioglacial and postglacial alluvial depositions. At the extreme south, there expose themselves within the certain places the water-eroded moraine hills and ridges of the epoch of the Maximal (Dnepr) glaciation, namely, the Mozyr ridge, and others.

The climate is temperate continental. The average temperature of January is from -4 degrees Celsius at the south-west, to -8 degrees Celsius at the north-east, the average temperature of July is from 17 degrees Celsius at the north to 19 degrees Celsius at the south. The quantity of the precipitation is 550-700 millimetres per year.

The rivers (the total length is 90.6 thousand kilometres) belong to the basins of the Black and Baltic seas. There are navigable the Dnepr, Pripyat, Sozh, Berezina, Neman, Western Dvina rivers. For the transportation of the crushed gravel from the "Mikashevichi" combined enterprise for the non-metallic materials, there has been excavated the Mikashevichi - Pripyat canal. The most significant lakes are located at the north of the republic, namely, the lakes Naroch, Osveiskoe, Lukomlskoe, Drisvyaty, Nescherdo; and at the south, there are the lakes Chervonoe, Vygonovskoe. They serve together with the rivers as the transport routes, and are used as the coolants for the thermal electrical power stations. The forests (coniferous and wide-leaf deciduous) occupy more than 1/3 of the territory of the republic, the swampy and bush vegetation occupy more than 1/10 of the territory.

Geological structure. The territory of Belarus is situated within the western part of the East European tectonic plate. According to the depths of the embedment of the crystalline basement, there have been distinguished the following tectonic structures. Within the central and western parts of Belarus, there stretches the large positive structure, namely, the Belarus anteclise with the depth of the embedment of the basement of up to 100 metres. From the central part of the massif, there protrude the buried structures, namely, the Mazury, Vileyka, Bobruisk, Ivatsevichi protrusions. At the south, the anteclise is bounded by the dip-slip fault, to the south of which there is located the Brest depression, which on the territory of Poland is transitioning into the Podlaskie depression. There occupy the southern part of Belarus the Pripyat downfold, the northern part of the Ukrainian shield, the Polesia and Zhlobin saddles, the Bragin-Loev saddle, the parts of the Dnepr-Donets depression. Within the western part of the Pripyat downfold, there introduces itself the spur of the Polesia saddle, namely, the Mikashevichi-Zhitkovichi protrusion, the basement of which within the certain places exposes itself onto the surface. Within the north-eastern part of Belarus, and within the adjacent regions of the Russian Federation, there have been distinguished the Orsha depression (the depth of the embedment of the basement is 1400-1600 metres), which comprises the Vitebsk and Mogilev troughs, which are separated by the central Orsha horst. From the Mogilev trough to the Belarus anteclise, there stretches the Cherven underground protrusion.

The crystalline basement is formed by the Archean (Neman, Okolov series) and Lower Proterozoic (Zhitkovichi series) metamorphic rocks (gneisses, crystalline schists, amphibolites, and others), which have been breached by the numerous intrusions of granites, diorites, gabbro, and so on. There are associated with the rocks of the crystalline basement the deposits of the iron ores, nonferrous metals, rare and dispersed elements. The sedimentary cover on the territory of Belarus is represented by the depositions of the Upper Proterozoic and Phanerozoic. There are confined to the Upper Proterozoic rocks (Riphean - sand-siltstone, clayish; Vendian - sand-siltstone, clays, tuffs, tuffites, tillites) the fresh and mineral waters, and the highly mineralized brines. The depositions of the Paleozoic (sandstones, clays, siltstones, carbonatic, sulfatic, halogenous rocks) are developed within the Orsha and Brest depressions, Pripyat downfold, Belarus anteclise. There belong to them the deposits of the mineral and potassium salts, petroleum and gas, oil shales, mineral coal, mineral waters. The Mesozoic depositions (siltstones, marls, sandstones, clays, limestones) are distributed within the Pripyat downfold, and Brest depression. There are associated with them the deposits of the chalk for writing, brown coal, phosphorites. The Paleogene and Neogene rocks are mainly developed within the southern part of Belarus, and are represented by the sandstones, sands, siltstones. The stratum of the Quaternary depositions overlays with the continuous cover (the thickness is up to 300 metres) the rocks of the more ancient depositions, and is formed by the glacial and interglacial complexes mainly of the Dnepr, Moscow, and Valdai glaciations. There are associated with the Cenozoic rocks the deposits of the brown coals, of the non-metallic building materials, and also the fresh waters.

Seismicity. On the territory of Belarus, there are recorded the echoes of the Carpathian earthquakes; their magnitude reaches 4 points.

Hydrogeology. Within the limits of Belarus, there are known the Baltic, Orsha, Podlasie-Brest, and Pripyat artesian basins, where is the feeding region for which the central part of the Belarus anteclise. The aquifers of the Baltic basin are confined to the depositions of the Upper Proterozoic, Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, and Anthropogenic. Within its marginal parts, the waters of the Lower Paleozoic are used for the water supply. The aquifers of the Orsha basin are confined to the depositions of the Upper Proterozoic, Middle and Upper Devonian, Jurassic, Upper Cretaceous, and Anthropogenic. The waters of the Upper Proterozoic and Middle Devonian are of the sodium chloride type; the waters of the old Oskol and overlying horizons are fresh, and of the sodium bicarbonate type; they are used for the water supply. The Podlasie-Brest basin at the south-west of Belarus is tightly associated with the Lviv basin; within the marginal part of the basin, the waters are fresh; with the submergence to the centre, the waters are up to the highly mineralized, of the sodium chloride type (more than 20 grams per litre, within the depositions of the Upper Proterozoic and Lower Paleozoic). The Pripyat basin is situated at the south-east of Belarus. There are distinguished within it the lower (the underground waters within the depositions of the Upper Devonian), medium (the aquifers within the depositions of the Carboniferous - Triassic), and upper (from the Jurassic to the Anthropogenic depositions inclusive) tiers. The lower tier contains the highly mineralized brines (320-430 grams per litre), which are enriched with iodine, bromine, and other elements. The middle tier contains the waters of the sodium chloride and sulfate-chloride types. The upper tier contains the fresh waters. They use the highly mineralized waters of the artesian basins for the medicinal purposes.

The extraction of the petroleum with the pumping method

Useful minerals. The most important useful minerals within Belarus are the potassium and mineral salts, petroleum, non-metallic building materials, peat.

The fields of the petroleum and gas are situated mainly within the northern part of the Pripyat downfold. There have been identified within its limits the industrial petroliferous zones: Rechitsa-Vishanskaya (Vishanskoe, Davydovskoe, West Tishkovskoe, Krasnoselskoe, Marmovichskoe, Ostashkovichskoe, Rechitskoe, Sosnovskoe, Tishkovskoe, South Ostashkovichskoe, South Sosnovskoe fields), Malodushinskaya (Barsukovskoe, Zolotukhinskoe, Nadvinskoe fields), Pervomaiskaya (Eastern Pervomaiskoe, Ozemlinskoe, Ozerschinskoe fields), and others. The petroleum is confined to the under-salt (Semiluki and Voronezh horizons), inter-salt (Zadonsk-Elets horizon), above-salt (Elets-Lebyadinsk horizon) depositions of the Upper Devonian. Its reservoirs are multi-layered, massive, vaulted. The petroleums are with the low-sulfur, high-sulfur, paraffin, and tar content. The gas is extracted as the by-product.

Belarus possesses the small reserves of the brown coals (the Zhitkovichi and Brinev deposits near the Pripyat downfold, the coal manifestations within the Brest depression). The depositions of the brown coal are confined to the Neogene, Paleogene, to the lesser degree to the Jurassic and Carboniferous depositions. The coals within the Pripyat downfold of the BI group are characterized by the ash content of up to 18.5%, and by the specific heat of combustion of up to 20.16 megajoules per kilogram. The Zhitkovichi deposit is represented by the 4 coal layers with the total thickness of up to 15.6 metres, the depth of the embedment is 50 metres, the reserves are 92.3 million tonnes. The Brinev deposit is represented by the coal layer with the thickness of up to 20 metres, the depth of the embedment is up to 90 metres, the reserves are 40 million tonnes. The peat holds the leading place among the combustible useful minerals within Belarus. There are known up to 7 thousand deposits with the total area of 2.5 million hectares, the reserves of the peat are 1.1 billion tonnes. There prevail the small (in terms of the reserves) deposits. The thickness of the peat depositions sometimes reaches 11 metres. The peat (39 types) is of the sedge, wort, wood-cane, and other types (lowland and transitional swamps), of the sphagnum, complex, upper, cotton grass, and other types (bogs, upper swamps). Its humidity is The installation for the preparation of petroleum

The deposits of the oil shales (the regions of the Pripyat downfold and of the Orsha depression) are confined to the depositions of the Upper Devonian (the Famennian stage). The thickness of the layers is up to 4 metres, the depth of the embedment is from 70 to 550 metres, the ash content is up to 87%, the specific heat of combustion is 9.6 megajoules per kilogram. The forecasted reserves (up to the depth of 600 metres) for the Turov deposit only are estimated at 11 billion tonnes. The deposits of sapropels on the territory of Belarus are represented by the organic silica and carbonatic sapropels, which are sometimes overlain by the peat mires. The average thickness of the depositions is 3 metres, the total reserves are 1.1 billion tonnes, at the 50% of the conditional humidity.

The deposits of the iron ores (Novoselkovskoe, Okolovskoe) are confined to the pre-Cambrian rocks of the basement of the Belarus anteclise. The Novoselkovskoe deposit is represented by the ore zone (the length is 1200 metres, the thickness is up to 180 metres), which is formed by the five ore bodies (the thickness is up to 27 metres), and which is embedded at the depth of 150 metres. The ores are ilmenite-magnetite, the average content of Fe is 35.7%. The reserves of the iron ores (up to the depth of 700 metres) are 48 million tonnes. The Okolovskoe deposit is represented by the ore zone (the length is 10 kilometres, the thickness is up to 140 metres), which is formed by the ore bodies of the ferruginous quartzites with the thickness of up to 35 metres. The average content of Fe is 26.2%, the reserves of the ore (up to the depth of 700 metres) are 533 million tonnes. The bog iron ores (more than 300 deposits, the largest ones are within the Belarus Polesia) are mainly distributed on the swamped territory of Belarus.

The mineral chemical raw materials on the territory of Belarus are represented by the potassium and mineral salts (the Starobin, Petrikov, Mozyr, Davydov deposits), phosphorites (the Mstislavl, Lobkovichi deposits), which are confined to the Pripyat downfold. The two strata of the Late Devonian age (the Famennian with the thickness of up to 3000 metres, the Frasnian with the thickness of up to 1100 metres) are formed by the salt horizons with the thickness from 1 to 40 metres. The salt-bearing rocks are embedded under the stratum of the carbonate-clayish rocks, and consist of the rhythmically alternating packs and layers of the salt, clays, marls, limestones, dolomites, less often anhydrites, siltstones, sandstones. The potassium sulfate-less salts are represented by the sylvinite, less often by the carnallite rock. The layers of the mineral salt are formed by the alternating interlayers of halite and carbonate-clay-anhydrite rock. The reserves of the potassium salts are 7.8 billion tonnes. The largest deposits of the potassium salts are: Starobin, Petrikov, the potassium-bearing stratum with the thickness of 270-1480 metres, the depth of the embedment is 428-750 metres, the reserves are more than 1 billion tonnes. The deposits of the mineral salts are: Davydov, the salt-bearing stratum with the thickness of up to 465 metres, the depth of the embedment is 820-840 metres, the reserves are 20 billion tonnes; Mozyr, the salt-bearing stratum with the thickness of up to 751 metres, the depth of the embedment is 699-794 metres, the reserves are 600 million tonnes. The phosphorites on the territory of Belarus (the reserves are 400 million tonnes) are confined to the Cretaceous (the concretions and nodules within the quartz-glauconite sands of the Cenoman stage), Paleogene (the clusters and single nodules within the quartz-glauconite rocks of the Buchak and Kiev stratigraphic suites), and Quaternary (within the glacial dislocations) rocks. The deposits of the phosphorites are: Lobkovichi, the layer of the phosphorites with the thickness of up to 3 metres, the depth of the embedment is 25-77 metres, the content of P2O5 is 6.3%; Mstislavl, the stratum of the phosphorites with the thickness of up to 1 metres, the depth of the embedment is 7.5-30 metres, the content of P2O5 is 9.5%.

The gas processing plant

The non-metallic building materials on the territory of Belarus are represented by the deposits of the building and facing stone, chalky rocks, clays and loams, building and glass sands. The building (the reserves are 457 million cubic metres) and facing (the reserves are 4.6 million cubic metres) stones (the Mikashevichi, Glushkovichi, and other deposits) are confined to the outcrops of the pre-Cambrian rocks (granites, granodiorites) at the south of Belarus. The dolomites (the reserves are 437.8 million tonnes) emerge onto the daylight surface at the north of the republic. The deposits of the chalky rocks with the reserves of 3679 million tonnes (chalk, marls) are within the Grodno, Mogilev, Brest, and other provinces. The deposits of the brick clays and loams, of the refractory clays with the reserves of 587 million cubic metres (glacial-lacustrine, lacustrine-alluvial, moraine depositions) are situated within the Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno, Minsk provinces. The deposits of the sand-gravel materials with the reserves of 815 million cubic metres (alluvial, fluvial-glacial, moraine Quaternary depositions) are mainly situated within the northern, western, and central regions of Belarus. The deposits of the building and silicate sands with the reserves of 612 million cubic metres (fluvial-glacial, alluvial, lacustrine, eolian depositions) are distributed on the entire territory of the republic. The deposits of the glass (quartzous) sands of the Neogene age (Lenino, Gorodnoe, and others) with the reserves of 44 million tonnes are situated at the south of Belarus, the deposits of the molding (feldspar-quartzous) sands with the reserves of 337 million tonnes are situated within the valley of the Pripyat river, and also on the first terrace above the flood plain of the Dnepr river.

(Table) The extraction of the mineral raw materials
Mineral raw materials 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980
Peat (at 40% of the conditional humidity) million tonnes 3.4 3.9 37.8 31.2 24.9
    including the fuel one, million tonnes 3.4 3.9 8.3 9.2 4.5
Potassium salts, million tonnes - - - 16.478 1.448
Crushed gravel, million cubic metres 0.425 0.898 0.599 1.168 6.816
Gravel, million cubic metres - 0.95 2.060 2.070 1.323
Sand for building, million cubic metres 0.615 1.918 4.386 8.093 17.8

The sources of the mineral waters on the territory of Belarus are mainly confined to the outcrops of the Archean, Upper Proterozoic, and Middle Devonian. The waters are of the sulfate, calcium, sodium, chloride, bromide-iodine, and other types, with the temperature of 8-15 degrees Celsius. Within the Minsk region, there are the sodium chloride waters; within the Elsk and Narovlya region, there are the hydrogen sulfide brines, and others; within the Grodno region, there are the hydrogen sulfide and radon waters, and others; they are used for the medicinal purposes (the Bobruisk, Zhdanovichi, Naroch, Rogachev resorts).

History of the mastering of the mineral resources. The extraction of the high-quality flintstone from the surface of the ground on the territory of Belarus is known since the epoch of the late Paleolithic (approximately 30 thousand years ago). During the epoch of the Neolithic (the middle of the 2nd millennium BC), here was developed the extensive flintstone-extracting productive activity. Within the Volkovysk district of the Grodno province, on the Ros river, there have been discovered the archaeological memorial sites, namely, the numerous mines, which have been headed within the chalky rocks. There served as the object for the development the concretions of the flintstone, which are embedded within the chalk in the form of the chains, less often in the form of the disordered clusters. The total quantity of the mines within this region exceeds several thousands (there have been performed the excavations of 225 mines). The depth of the mines is up to 6 metres, the diameter of the upper part is 1.5-1.6 metres, of the lower part (in case of the absence of the lateral excavations or drifts) is 0.8 metres. There may be found the individual mine workings in the form of the wells (including among them the explorative ones), the mine workings with lateral excavations and niches, the complexes of the mines (up to 5), which are connected by the drifts, and enclosed chambers. The configuration of the mines has been dictated by the shape of the embedment of the flintstone concretions. The soft country rock did not permit to excavate the long drifts and chambers (the diameter of the drifts is, as a rule, 0.8 metres, the length is up to 4 metres). The entrance into the drifts was always located near the bottom of the mine, the drifts were never situated one above another, the lateral excavations were sometimes with many levels. For the safety purposes, the drifts and lateral excavations were separated by the non-excavated bedrock. There have been found sometimes the small "windows" for the lighting and ventilation. On the walls within the shafts of the mines, there have been preserved the traces of the ancient mining tools, which have been made of the deer antlers, the soot from the burning wooden chip, and the horizontally placed holes of the wooden stakes, which probably served as the flooring, and also the traces of the tree with truncated branches, which was used, obviously, as the ladder.

There have been uncovered within the mines the large bone needles, which served, probably, for the repair of the leather bags, within which there were hoisted the rock and flintstone concretions. The flintstone, which has been extracted, was purposed exclusively for the crafting of the axes. The processing of the concretions for these purposes was performed immediately near the mines, or within the seasonal settlement of the ancient miners, which has been situated nearby. During the period of the Neolithic, there has started the usage of the various clays for the crafting of the ceramic crockery. Since the middle of the 1st millennium BC, they extracted on the territory of Belarus the iron from the turf, bog, and lake iron ores. The ore depositions were determined with the help of the wooden dipsticks; they excavated the ore by the wooden spades. They smelted the iron with the raw-air-blowing method within the primitive domnitsa-rudnya furnaces. Of the non-metallic useful minerals, there were used clays and sand within the pottery and building crafts, the limestones for the obtainment of the lime. The shale and sandstone were used for the building activity. During the 16th-19th centuries, there worked on the territory of Belarus the small glassware plants, which utilized the local glass sands. During the middle of the 18th century, on the base of the bog iron ores, there emerged the iron ore manufactories (Malorita, Vishnevskaya), which have been during the 1794 reconstructed (Vishnevskaya) into the metallurgical plants.

During the start of the 19th century, there were created the large metallurgical combined enterprises (Nalibokskiy) and cast iron foundry plants (Starinkovskiy, Borisovschinskiy). Because of the depletion of the bog iron ores near the enterprises, and the delivery of the better quality and cheap metal from Russia and Poland, the local industry became unprofitable, thus by the 1870 almost all enterprises have terminated their activities. Since the middle of the 19th century, there were conducted by the expedition of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and later by the Geological Committee, the studies of the geological structure, and the searches for the useful minerals on the territory of Belarus, namely, the route searches along the valleys of the large rivers (T. A. Antonovich, N. I. Venyukov, G. P. Gelmersen, A. P. Karpinskiy, P. A. Armashevskiy, S. P. Nikitin, E. V. Oppokov, and others). The systematic geological researches, and the search for the deposits of the useful minerals, have been started during the 1920-ies by the soil-geological sub-section of the Institute for the Belarus culture. During the 1924, there has been created the Mining department at the Council for the National Economy of the Byelorussian SSR, on the base of which there has been organized the Belarus geological-explorative group of enterprises (1930). During the 1929, there has been drilled the first deep borehole (354 metres) within the Minsk region. Within the structure of the Academy of Sciences of the Byelorussian SSR, there has been organized the Institute for the geology and hydrogeology. By the 1940, there have been identified on the territory of the republic more than 500 deposits of the non-metallic raw materials, tens of the large deposits of peat. The prospecting and explorative works have got the greatest momentum during the 50-ies - 60-ies. During this period, there have been discovered the deposits of the potassium salts, petroleum, coal, and others.

The quarry of the Miloshevichi combined enterprise

The processing of the stone plates

The sawing of the stone blocks

Mining industry. Within the structure of the mining-extracting industry of Belarus, there hold the major place the fuel industry, the mining-chemical industry, and the industry of the non-metallic building materials (see the table and the map).

The share of the mining-extracting industry within the gross produce of Belarus during the 1980 has amounted to 1.54%.

The industrial extraction of petroleum and gas has been started during the 1965; during the 1966, there has been established the "Belorusneft" consortium, the enterprises of which perform the exploration and extraction of petroleum and gas on the territory of the Gomel province, between the Dnepr, Berezina, Ippa, Pripyat rivers. The unsealing of the productive layers within the operational columns is performed by the cumulative hydraulic abrasive blasting perforation, with the subsequent processing of the bottomhole zone with the hydrochloric acid. There prevails the pumping method for the extraction. The reservoir pressure is maintained by the injection into the drilled wells of the formation waters, after the preliminary settling and mechanical cleaning of them. The yields of the drilled wells are from 1.5 to 300 tonnes per day, less often up to 1500 tonnes per day. The system for the petroleum and gas collection is hermetized. The separation of petroleum is performed with the single step at the petroleum collecting places within the four petroleum fields; the petroleum is transported from the remaining fields without separation. The dehydration of petroleum is performed by the thermochemical method, the desalination is performed by the washing with fresh water, with the water separation within the electrical dehydrators. The petroleum, which has been processed, is delivered to the Gomel administration for the "Druzhba" trunk petroleum pipelines. There performs the processing of gas the Belarus gas processing plant within the Rechitsa city.

The milling of the peat

The stacking of the peat

The peat industry within Belarus is developing as the independent sector of the national economy since the first years of the Soviet governance. By the 1926, the volume of the extraction of the peat has exceeded the level of the 1913 by 2.6 times, and has amounted to 21.6 thousand tonnes. There have been commissioned the first peat extracting enterprises, namely, the "Osintorf", "The Way of Socialism", "Tatarka", and others. The increased demand for the fuel has caused the increased development of this sector of the industry. The peat was mined mainly with the hydraulic, elevating, and excavation methods. During the years of the Great Patriotic War of the 1941-1945, almost all enterprises of the peat industry have been completely destructed. During the 1949, the extraction of peat has reached the pre-war level. The peat is mainly extracted at the peat enterprises of the Ministry for the fuel industry of the Byelorussian SSR. The major type of the produce is the peat briquettes (they use them as the fuel). The excavation of peat is performed with the milling method; the drying, harvesting, storage, and hauling are mechanized. The level of mechanization for the extraction, processing, and transport-loading works is 98%. There work 39 plants (workshops) at 37 enterprises (1980). The largest peat briquetting plant is the "Starobin" (the productive capacity is 240 thousand tonnes of the briquettes per year). There is also performed the extraction of peat for the agriculture. There has been organized the production of the baled sphagnum peat of the low degree of decomposition (the "Tatarka" and named after Dauman peat enterprises). The largest peat enterprise is the "Sergeevichskoe" (the Pravdinskiy worker settlement within the Minsk region), which has been founded during the 1966-69, the raw materials base is the Orekhovskiy Moss, Rada-Golyshevka, and other peat deposits, the productive capacity is 730 thousand tonnes of the milled peat and 105 thousand tonnes of the peat briquettes per year.

The thickener

Mining-chemical industry. Within the mining-chemical industry, there hold the major place the potassium salts. During the 1961, there has been started the development of the Starobin deposit of the potassium salts of the "Beloruskaliy" productive consortium, within the structure of which there are 4 mining administrations. The method for the development of these deposits is with the underground mines. The major systems of the development are the with the chambers, and with the stiff support of the roof. Less often, they use its variants, namely, with the landing of the roof onto the pliable pillars, and also the pillar system with the complete or partial collapse of the roof within the long wall stopes, which are equipped with the mechanized complex aggregates. In small volumes, the selective excavation of sylvinite is performed within the "chambers - long wall stopes": the mineral salt, which is separating it, is cut into the blocks, of which there are constructed the artificial pillars. The heading of the mine workings with the simultaneous extraction of the salt is performed by the combined cutter-loader machines, the transportation of the ore and rock is performed by the belt conveyors. The extraction of the potassium salts with the mechanized method has increased from 60% (1965) to 98.5% (1980), the dilution of the mining mass has decreased, the content of the KCl within the ore, which has been extracted, has increased from 13.2% (1975) to 35% (1980). The beneficiation of the ore is performed prevalently by the flotation, and also by the halurgical method. In the first case, the ore is subjected to the crushing (5-10 millimetres), grinding (0.8-1 millimetres), desliming, repeated cleaning of the concentrate (after flotation), dehydration and thickening, drying, granulation, and so on. The processing of the ore according to the halurgical method is performed by the crushing (till the fraction of 5-8 millimetres), dissolving, dewatering of the halite concentrate and clarification of the mother liquor, vacuum crystallization, dewatering and drying of the granulated produce. The production of the potassium fertilizers is 10.5 million tonnes (1981).

The peat processing works

he extraction of the potassium salts

The Ural - 10 KR combined cutter-loader machine

The share of the industry of the non-metallic building materials accounts for 7.5% of the major productive assets of the republic (1981). There performs the extraction and processing of the building stone the "Mikashevichi" combined enterprise for the non-metallic materials, which produces the crushed gravel, artificial sand, stone plates for the facing, and building blocks. Gravel, crushed gravel, sand, building stone (boulders) are extracted at the 64 open pit quarries. They produce cement at the Volkovyssk and Krichev plants (the total productive capacity is approximately 2202 thousand tonnes of cement per year). On the base of the Kommunarskoe deposit of the marls, there is being built (1983) the cement plant with the designed productive capacity of 3970 thousand tonnes of cement per year. Lime is produced at the Novoberezovskiy, Grodno, Klimovichi, "Kolyadichi" plants with the total annual productive capacity of 791 thousand tonnes.

On the base of the brick and ceramic clays, there work within Belarus the 166 brick plants and ceramic combined enterprises, including 23 large highly mechanized enterprises, which are producing bricks, ceramic stones (blocks), sewage and drainage pipes, facing tiles, expanded clay, and so on. There work for the production of the silicate wall materials the 15 silicate plants and workshops, which are producing bricks, silicate-concrete blocks, panels, insulation plates, and other products, which are made of the dense and cellular silicate-concrete.

On the base of the deposits of the glass sands, there work 8 glass plants, including the Gomel combined enterprise named after M. V. Lomonosov. There is conducted the construction (1983) of the beneficiation plant for the processing and beneficiation of the glass sands, there is being prepared for operation the Gorodnoe deposit within the Brest province.

The flotation machine

Protection of the underground resources and recultivation of the lands. The most significant areas of the disturbed lands are associated with the peat developments, extraction of the non-metallic useful minerals (mainly building materials), petroleum, potassium salts, and also with the construction of the roads, gas and petroleum pipelines. The area of the disturbed lands is 173 thousand hectares (1982), of which the area of the lands, which have been disturbed during the extraction of peat, is 143 thousand hectares (there have been recultivated 105.6 thousand hectares, 1982), the area of the lands, which have been disturbed during the development of the non-metallic useful minerals, is 30.0 thousand hectares (there have been recultivated 6.5 thousand hectares, 1982). During the extraction of peat (milling method), the developed areas represent by themselves the vast depression with the flat smoothed relief, which is sometimes complicated by the small hills of the underlying rocks. There is performed on such areas the agricultural recultivation, namely, there are created the arable lands, hayfields, pastures (42% of the disturbed areas), is conducted the planting of the forests and protective forest plantations (20% of the disturbed areas). The specificity of the objects for recultivation, which are associated with the extraction of the non-metallic useful minerals, is caused by their territorial dissociation, small areas (2-20 hectares, rarely up to 100 hectares), depths of the open pit workings (5-10 metres, sometimes 25-50 metres), non-significant thicknesses of the overburden rocks (1.5 metres, rarely 10 metres and more). There are conducted at such objects the forestry recultivation, namely, the forest plantings for the operational, soil protection, water conservation, and landscaping purposes (43% of the total area), the agricultural recultivation (27% of the disturbed lands). In the series of the cases, there are conducted the water management recultivation (the creation of the water reservoirs, ponds), and the forming of the recreational facilities on the disturbed territory.

Scientific establishments. There conduct the researches within the field of geology and mining craft 5 institutes. The Institute for the geochemistry and geophysics of the Academy of Sciences of the Byelorussian SSR (has been founded during the 1971 on the base of the Laboratory for the geochemical problems and of the Pleschenitsy geophysical observatory), the works on the geochemistry of the Earth's crust, lithology, petrography, metallogeny, general and regional tectonics, paleogeography, geothermy and hydrochemistry, physics of the Earth, dynamics of the landscapes, geology of the Quaternary depositions (Anthropogenic), rational nature usage, and others. The Belarus scientific-research Institute for the geological exploration (has been founded during the 1964 on the base of the Institute for the geology of the Academy of Sciences of the Byelorussian SSR), the works within the field of the regional geology, petroleum geology, solid useful minerals, hydrogeology, lower geology, geophysics, drilling, economics of the mineral raw materials, mathematical methods for the researches within the geology, and others. The Belarus subsidiary of the All-Union scientific-research and design Institute for the halurgy (has been organized during the 1972 within the Soligorsk city, is within the Minsk city since the 1973), the comprehensive scientific and design servicing for the enterprises within the potassium industry of Belarus. The Institute for the peat of the Academy of Sciences of the Byelorussian SSR (has been founded during the 1933), the researches on the physical-technological properties, on the development of peat, and others. The scientific-research Institute for the fuel industry (Belniitoppromproekt), the works within the field of the perfecting the peat briquette production, of the perfecting the extraction works, of the protection of the environment, of the rational usage of the reserves of peat.

Training of the cadres. Within Belarus, there performs the training of the cadres for the mining-extracting industry the Belarus polytechnic Institute (mining-mechanical faculty). The colleges prepare the specialists for the development of the peat deposits (the Minsk polytechnic college, Minsk correspondence polytechnic college), for the underground development of the ore and non-metallic deposits, and also of the petroleum fields, for the beneficiation of the useful minerals (the Soligorsk mining-chemical college named after Maurice Thorez).