In 2016 the works were carried out under 6 State Contracts, 4 of them were concluded with the department ‘Morgeo’, 2 – with FSBI ‘VNIIOceangeologiya’; 1 special Agreement was signed with the Stock Company ‘Rosgeo’. All 6 State Contracts were completed in the accounting year.
The areas of activities traditionally embraced the Antarctic, the World Ocean and the Arctic Region.
1. GEOLOGICAL-GEOPHYSICAL INVESTIGATIONS IN THE ANTARCTIC
(2 Government Contracts in 2016). Being carried out on the Antarctic continent and in the adjacent seas, as part of annually organized Antarctic Expeditions (RAE).
The works of PMGE aimed at the research of the geological structure and Antarctic mineral-raw resources, guarantee the rightful participation of Russian Federation in any Antarctic depths explorations possible in Future – from working out the regulation mechanism of such activities to their direct realization.
Current order of PMGE works in the Antarctic:
-Marine policy of Russian Federation for the period to 2020 affirmed by the President of Russian Federation on 27 July 2001;
-‘Development strategy of Russia in the Antarctic’, passed by the RF Government Regulation of 30 October 2010;
-Order of RF Government on Russian Antarctic expedition activities of 21 January 2013 No 28-p;
-Governmental program ‘Reproduction and Utilization of the Natural Resources’, approved by the RF Government Regulation of 15 April 2014, No. 322.
In 2016 PMGE accomplished the office data processing of geological-geophysical activities in the Western part of the Cosmonaut Sea and mountainous areas of Mac. Robertson Land and Princess Elizabeth Land, as part of RAE 60, and the final account was made up. The complex marine geophysical works were carried out on board the R/V ‘Akademik Alexander Karpinsky’, they included the CDP seismic exploration with incidental magnetometric and gravimetric measurements and seismic sounding by seismic refraction method. The continental geological-geophysical works comprised the specialized geological explorations of Ray Mill, Bloomfield and Stinear mountainous areas, comprehensive airborne geophysical research (airborne magnetic measurements with incidental radar sounding of glaciers), refraction seismic sounding on Vostok Lake.
In the account year PMGE successfully fulfilled the field activities on exploration and evaluation of mineral-raw resources in Eastern part of Weddell Sea and mountainous regions of Princess Elizabeth Land , as a part of RAE.
In the Eastern part of Weddell Sea PMGE is through with
-Seismic data processing; preparation of temporary seismic sections and deep sections on profiles;
-Charting of magnetic and gravity fields , scale 1 : 2 500 000;
-Working out of structural-tectonic scheme scale 1 : 2 500 000 in the Eastern Part of the Weddell Sea, on the base of preliminary interpretation of geophysical data.
On Reuer Islands PMGE is through with:
-Field mapping of Reuer Islands geological structure, scale 1: 100 000, with locations of mineral resources occurrence.
-Field mapping, scale 1 : 25 000, of Tockler Island;
-Field catalogue (as a table) of ore mineralization in the Southern part of Reuer Islands;
-Working map of Cainozoic bodies in Southern part of the Reuer Islands, scale 1 : 50 000, with geomorphological features;
-Correlation field scheme of Cainozoic bodies in the Northern and Southern parts of Reuer Islands with Vestfold oasis bodies;
On Princess Elizabeth Land (the Eastern part) PMGE is through with:
-Outfit of geophysical maps and schemes of the Eastern part of Princess Elizabeth Land, scale 1 : 500 000 – 1 : 1 000 000, (anomalous magnetic field in graphs and isolines, subglacial relief hypsometric curves, ice coverage thickness isolines).
For the Eastern Antarctica, Mac. Robertson Land and Princess Elizabeth Land:
-Preliminary schematic maps were made of the sub-glacial relief and ice coverage thickness (taking into account the data of RAE 45-60 ).
In 2016 the arrangements of RAE 62 began, within which in 2017 the works have been already carried out in Cooperation Sea, on Banger Hills and on Princess Elizabeth Land. In 2017, on 2 completed State Contracts the office processing on RAE 61 (stage 3) are being finished, as well as the field works on RAE 61 (stage 2), and the preparation for RAE 62 is beginning (stage 1).
2.GEOLOGICAL –GEOPHYSICAL STUDIES IN THE WORLD OCEAN
Works according 1 State Contract and 1 Special Agreement in 2016 are being carried out in the Atlantic Ocean on Deep-Water Polymetallic Sulfides (DPS) in the limits of realization of the international obligations, incurred by the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russian Federation under the contract, concluded with the International Sea-Bed Authority under the United Nations Organization on 29 October 2012.
Deep-Water Polymetallic Sulfides (DPS) are solid type Cu-Zn-Au-Ag-Pt ores, building up the hummocky structures up to the top tens of meters high, on the hydrothermal activity sites in the limits of the rift zones of Mid-Atlantic ridges and back-arc basins at the ocean depth 2900-4200 m. The ore bodies several tens of meters thick have the mushroom shape with a stockwork. The preliminarily estimated DPS resources in the World Ocean are hundreds of millions tons of the ore mass.
The Russian investigations on Deep-Water Polymetallic Sulfides have been carried out by Polar Marine Geological Expedition and VNIIOceangeologiya in MAR axial zone since 1985. In the course of the works, till 2010, in the ridge rift valley the prominent DPS objects have been discovered, containing ores rich in copper, zinc, gold, silver and other useful elements.
Since the acceptance of the application of Russia to the 17th UN Assembly of International Sea-Bed Authority in June of 2011, the investigations were aimed at the study of the actual seabed site allocated to Russia. In October 2012 in Moscow the International Seabed Authority and RF Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology concluded the Contract for the prospecting of the Deep-Water Polymetallic Sulfides. The Russian Prospecting Region (RPR) is situated in the axial zone of Mid-Atlantic Ridge, in the latitude range 12 48’36” – 20 54’36”, and includes 100 blocks of about 10 x 10 km each.
The prospecting works of the first 6-year stage of studies (2012 – 2018) are targeted at the tasks stated in the Contract: areal bathymetric survey, profile sonar survey combined with the natural electric field measurement, television profiling, hydrophysical sounding, bottom sampling, engineering-geological and ecological investigations. The 1-st stage must result in determination of the top-priority promising regions, more detailed prospecting works, for which the complex geological-geophysical and ecological studies of all RPR blocks by the indicated in the Contract methods are necessary.
The 2-nd stage, related to more detailed studies, is starting in 2019. No later than in the middle of 2020, we’ll have to submit the reasonable refusal from 50 (unpromising) blocks of 100 included in RPR. No later than in the middle of 2022 we’ll have to give up another 25 blocks of the selected 50. The final conclusion on the prospectivity of the remaining 25 blocks must be ready no later than in the middle of 2017.
Currently in the limits of the first stage 53 blocks have been examined. It’s necessary to realize three geological expeditions up to 2019, to complete the fully-featured investigation of all 100 blocks. However the reduction of the annual state funding of works on DPS admits such an investigation only in the simplified mode, failing to provide the guaranteed discovery of all the prospective targets. Preliminarily 12 ore clusters and DPS fields had been discovered on PPP exploration blocks, with the ore mass predicted resources of P ₂₋₃ categories no less than 100 millions of tons. More accurate forecast is possible on more advanced stages, when using the hard-rocks drilling to a sub-bottom depth of 50 m (and more) and innovative geophysical methods.
In 2016 the office processing of the materials on blocks 31-45 was done, and the final report was rendered at the end of the year. The carried out investigations resulted in the new data on geological structure of the explored blocks and discovery of new hydrothermal objects: the hydrothermal ore field ‘Pobeda-1’ (block 37), hydrothermal ore field ‘Pobeda-2’ (block 39), and the ore occurrence ‘Pobeda-3’ (block 37); the preliminary evaluation of the forecast resources was made for sulfide ores of P₂-P₃ category.
The increase in DPS resources in 2016 due to ‘Pobeda’ discovery was: P₂ - 4,1 million tons, P₃ - 5,0 million tons of ore mass. The increment in metals is: Cu-281,7 thousand tons, Zn – 136,3 thousand tons, Au – 13,8 tons, Ag – 223,0 tons.
By 01.01.2017 all the resources of DPS Russian exploration area make: P₂ - 42,9 millions of tons, P₃ - 61,9 millions of tons, total – 104,8 millions of tons of ore mass. As for metals, the resources are: Cu – 3949,5 thousands of tons, Zn – 738,4 thousands of tons, Au – 119,0 tons, Ag – 1679,7 tons.
In the second half-year period of 2016 the three-year topical works started, on compliance of the obligations to International Sea-Bed Authority, according to the contract of DPS prospecting.
By Order of RF Government, since the middle of 2015,‘Professor Logachev’, vessel used in the works on DPS, had been upgraded and provided with modern geological survey equipment. The vessel was supplied with 15 new scientific equipment systems, including the multibeam echosounder. Some seaborne machinery and sampling facilities were replaced. The renovated vessel ‘Professor Logachev’ is ready to continue the first stage of DPS investigations and pass in 2019 to the second, more detailed stage, according to the requirements of the Contract with International Sea-Bed Authority.
In 2017 it is planned to continue the marine activities on the studies of the geological and geomorphological structure of MAR axial area bottom in PPP blocks. In the limits of the new three-year object, the next 25 blocks – 47-60, 62-71, 74 – will be comprehensively examined. To complete the preliminary investigation of 100 blocks (including 19 remaining unexamined by the end of 2018) by 2020, additional geological survey expedition in the limits of another new objects is necessary in 2019.
3.GEOLOGICAL-GEOPHYSICAL EXPLORATIONS IN THE ARCTIC REGION. (3 State Contracts in 2016)
The contracts are being executed on archipelago Spitsbergen and in the Russian Arctic seas. The explorations on archipelago Spitsbergen are being realized according to ‘Conception of RF Policy on the Norwegian Archipelago Spitsbergen’, approved by the Russian Federation Presidential Decree No 1386c of 31 December 1997. For the hard-to-reach places (seas, islands and Russian Arctic continental firm-land) the Enterprise works on the construction of Russian Federation State Geological Map, scale 1 : 1000 000.
In 2016 the geological investigations started in the Northern part of Wedel Yarlsberg Land, archipelago Spitsbergen (the first field season). The field works proceeded from July to September 2016.
The walking geological routes were taken with associated sampling and construction of the key litho-stratigraphic sections; specialized geological-geomorphological investigations with the associated sampling, clearing and back-filling, exploration of the lithological sections.
The realized works resulted in:
a)Preliminary geological map of the region, scale 1:100 000;
b)Preliminary schemes, sections and tables, reflecting the corrected age, tectonic position, limits, development areas and real characteristic of the geological formations, objects of geological mapping:
-Of Upper Riphean Vendian metasedimentary formations, Sofiebogen and Bellsun series;
-Of Middle Riphean metasedimentary-volcanogenic thickness, Werensheldbreen serie;
-Of the Middle Riphean differentiated metabasite-ultrabasites in the area of Cherberlendalen valley (determining its formational belonging and mineragenic characteristic).
c)Trial geomorphological map, scale 1 : 100 000, of the Northern part of Wedel Yarlsberg Land;
d)Trial scheme of quaternary sediments, scale 1:25 000, of Dunder-bay area.
In the course of works the ferreous mineralization manifestations were additionally appraised and new spots of copper mineralization discovered, and the mineral water source discovered and explored.
Besides in 2016 the office processing of the geological-geophysical works in the Northern part of Nu Friesland (archipelago Spitsbergen) was finished, and the final report was rendered including the map, schemes and sections outfit. The ore manifestations and mineralization occurrences were defined: iron, chrome, copper, rock crystal and gangue quartz, muscovite, fossil linen; the schlich- mineralogical scheme was constructed. Gold and molybdenum specks were found out. The resource potential of the area P? category for chrome (1584 thousands of tons Cr2O3), gangue quartz (4 thousands of tons), muscovite (25 thousands m?) was identified.
In 2016 the office processing was finished on the results of geological-geophysical works on sheets S-44- (Dickson), S-45-(Ust-Tarea), and the final account was made up. The new data were received on different aspects of the region geological structure, the most important are: geological studies of formerly underexplored islands; further appraisal and age adjustment of laminated and intrusive formations; generalization and interpretation of geophysical data; studies of bituminological and gas-geochemical characteristics of the bed deposits; determination of development sites, content and chemical composition of ferromanganese nodules (FMN), which can be recommended as new species of mineral resources; collection and analysis of materials on the region geological-ecological characteristic.
For 2017 PMGE is planning to continue the field works on the geological exploration and evaluation of raw-mineral potential of the Northern part of Wedel Jarlsberg Land (Archipelago Spitsbergen), and to start making up the State Geological Map 1000/3 of U-45-48 sheets (Komsomolets island).
All in all for 2017 the works are planned for 4 new State Contracts (2 – on the Antarctic, 1 – on Spitsbergen, 1 – on the sheets of the State Geological Survey, scale 1:1000000), concluded with FSBI ‘VNIIOceangeologiya’; and 2 Agreements on DPS, concluded with Joint Stock Company ‘Rosgeo’.
Сhief geologist of Stock Joint Company