Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of the Russian Federation  
The Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency


The Joint Stock Company "Polar Marine Geosurvey Expedition" will turn 55 this autumn. It seems only recently that the Polar Expedition celebrated its 50th anniversary - and now a new significant milestone has come up.

At the present hard times, when many, even fairly large enterprises, disappear, having existed for 3-5 years - the 55-year period of our activity may seem enormous and difficult to achieve. And this phenomenon has one and very simple explanation. The matter is that all these years the Polar Expedition was in demand, as it solved the most urgent tasks necessary for society and the state, "protected" by long-term state programs.

So it was at the time of the foundation of the Expedition in the far-off 1962, when the Government of the USSR set before the Scientific Research Institute of the Arctic Geology (NIIGA) a complicated task of airborne gravimetric surveys in the Arctic in the shortest possible time, and at the instigation of the "progenitress" of the current PMGE - Head of the NIIGA Department of Geophysics Raisa Mikhailovna Demenitskaya - a group of enthuasiasts- geophysicists was formed to complete the task, and this very group became the key personnel of the future Polar Geophysical Expedition (PGE).

And ever since, the energy, the purposefulness of the founders of the Polar Expedition, the ability to solve "unsolvable" problems have been passed on to the next generation of geologists researching the most remote places of our planet.

In the fall of 2012, PMGE celebrated its 50th Anniversary. The achievements of the Polar Expedition in the course of its 50-year activity were widely covered during the festive commemorative events held in Lomonosov. To this date was also timed the issue of the anniversary collection "50 years of PMGE. From Polar latitudes to Ocean depths ", where all the stages of the development and formation of the Expedition and its main achievements are described in detail. We want to recall the most significant of them:

•identification of large sedimentary basins, promising for oil and gas in the Arctic and Antarctic;

• discovery of the Severo-Lyakhovsky tin placer site (Bolshoi Lyakhovsky Island, the Novosibirsk Islands archipelago), discovery of a gold bearing area and placers on Bolshevik Island (Severnaya Zemlya archipelago), discovery of the Pavlovsk polymetal deposit (Novaya Zemlya archipelago); discovery of the unique Tomtor deposit of rare earth metals in Northern Yakutia;

• discovery and study of the fields of iron-manganese nodules (FMN) in the Pacific Ocean;

• discovery and study of deep-sea polymetallic sulphide ores (DPS) in the Central Atlantic;

• obtaining unique scientific data on the geological structure of the Antarctic and its marginal seas.

Today we are proud to announce that one of the world's largest Pavlovsk lead-zinc deposit, the honor of discovery of which belongs to the geologists of the PMGE, entered the stage of industrial development with the creation of all the necessary infrastructure on the island Novaya Zemlya. Tomtor deposit is also being prepared for development.

This year, large-scale jubilee events are not planned. The main reason is that the Expedition is in the process of reorganization, which has been going on for more than a year and a half.

Therefore, the purpose of this publication is to highlight the life of the Expedition and summarize the results of its activities for the last five years (2012-2017).

Of the most significant events and achievements of the Expedition in this period, it is necessary to distinguish the following:

• Signing in late 2012 of a long-term contract between the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and the International Seabed Authority (ISA) under the United Nations for the exploration of deep-sea polymetallic sulphides (DPS). In simple terms, with the signing of this contract, the Polar Expedition and R/V "Professor Logachev" are provided with work for at least the next 15 years;

• detection and mapping of new large ore fields of the DPS in the Atlantic Ocean, which provided a significant increase in the ore mass in addition to the previously discovered ore occurrences;

• successful implementation of large-scale reconstruction of PMGE's research vessels (R/V) ;

• reorganization of the PMGE into the Joint Stock Company.

In general, over the past five years, the Expedition has managed to maintain and successfully continue operations in all three main and traditional areas of our activities - in the Arctic, in the Ocean and in the Antarctic, within the framework of the State Target Programs and Government Decrees. The objectives of the work - studying the geological structure of the regions of interest, compiling geological and geophysical maps and assessing the prospects of the study areas for different types of minerals - have been successfully achieved.

Work in the Arctic

Geological and geophysical research in the Arctic 2012-2017 were carried out on the Svalbard archipelago and in the seas and on the coast of the Russian Arctic. Studies in the Svalbard archipelago are conducted in accordance with the "Concept of Russian Policies on the Norwegian Spitsbergen Archipelago", approved by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 1386c of December 31, 1997. Also for the most inaccessible regions of Russia (the seas, islands and continental land of the Russian Arctic), the enterprise carries out works on compiling sheets of the Russian Federation State Geological Map at a scale of 1: 1,000,000.

Works on Spitsbergen include annual field expeditions to various areas of the archipelago with the following types of fieldwork: geological routes; drawing up sections of pre-Quaternary sediments; specialized geological and petrological works and large-scale mineralogical sampling; specialized geological and mineralogical studies with various types of sampling; geophysical and topogeodesic works, etc. The carried out complex of geological works makes it possible to compile a set of preliminary maps and schemes of geological content of different scales on the objects of research. As a result of these works, the State receives information about Spitsbergen mineral potential and the prospects of the oil and gas potential of the archipelago and the surrounding water areas. In total over the past 5-year period, such areas as the Western Spitsbergen islands (the area of Petunia Bay and Serkap Land), the northern part of the Ny-Friesland peninsula, the northern part of the Wedel Jarlsberg Land. On the results of the work, for the first time in the northwestern part of the archipelago, the manifestations of pyrite and copper pyrite mineralization have been revealed; for the first time molybdenite deposits have been discovered in Svalbard and the prospectivity of the region for rare-metal (Mo-W) mineralization has been revealed.

The work on the creation of 1: 1 000 000 scale 3rd-generation State Geological Maps of the S-44 (Dixon) and S-45 (Ust'-Tareya) sheets included two field seasons in the summer and autumn of 2014 and 2015 and the corresponding cameral period. During the field seasons, complex marine work was carried out on an area of 68 thousand km2, including bottom and gas-geochemical sampling of sediments, seismoacoustic and hydromagnetic magnetic profiling. Field work on land covered an area of 97 thousand km2 and is represented by geological routes, radiometric and magnetometric observations, study of reference sections; different types of sampling. As a result of the work performed, new data have been obtained on various aspects of the geological structure of the region, the most important of them are: geological study of previously poorly studied islands; further study and specification of the age of stratified and intrusive formations; generalization and interpretation of geophysical data; studying bituminological and gas-geochemical characteristics of bottom sediments; the determination of development areas, content and chemical composition of ferromanganese nodules (FMN), which can be recommended as a new type of minerals. Special contributions to the successful implementation of the Expedition in the Arctic were made by such PMGE specialists as Makaryev A.A. Makarieva E.M, Tebenkov A.M, Sirotkin A.N, Miloslavsky M.Yu., Kosteva N.N.


Landing of geologists for survey of the Arctic coast

                The base of the PMGE on Spitsbergen


Works in the Ocean

For many years PMGE has been performing the work in the Atlantic Ocean on the problem of deep-sea polymetallic sulphide ores (DPS), which are Cu-Zn-Au-Ag-Pt massive type ores that form ore bodies up to 100 meters at depths of 2900-4200 m. The estimated DPS resources of the Ocean are hundreds of millions of tons of ore.

The signing of the Contract for exploration of polymetallic sulphides between the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Russian Federation in October 2012 in Moscow, was the most important event that determined the future of the work on the DPS and, to a large extent, the fate of the Polar Expedition. In accordance with this contract, the Russian Federation has the right within the next 15 years to conduct exploration work within its exploratory area located in the axial zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR). The Russian exploration area (REA) includes 100 blocks measuring 10 × 10 km, and its total area is 10,000 square meters. km. Forecast resources of ore mass within the exploration area only for already known ore objects were about 90 million tons.

The main executor of the MAR work under the contract with ISA is the Polar Expedition and the R/V "Professor Logachev". Within the framework of the 1st stage under the contract with ISA in the period 2012-2015 the vessel carried out three flights (flights 35-37) to the Russian exploration area with the survey of blocks 1-45. The focus in the course of the work was put on geophysical methods (sonar profiling with the side-scanning MAK-1-M complex and electro-prospecting by the natural-field method), which have shown in recent years their high efficiency in the search for new ore objects. In addition, the types of research envisaged by the contract such as teleprofiling, hydrophysical sounding, bottom sampling, engineering-geological and ecological studies were carried out.

In the course of marine works in 2012, two new ore fields were discovered in a single season: “Jubilee” (20 ° 09'N) and “Surprise” (20 ° 45'N). The forecast resources of new ore fields are preliminary estimated at no less than 3 million tons of ore mass. In the following cruises (Nos. 36-37), as a result of the studies, data were obtained on the geological structure of the exploration blocks and new hydrothermal objects were discovered: hydrothermal ore fields "Kholmistoye" (block 28), "Pobeda-1" (block 37), "Pobeda -2 "(block 39) and ore occurrence" Victory-3 "(block 37); the structure of the "Pobeda-1" ore field has been preliminary studied. Since mid-2015, in connection with the reconstruction of R/V "Professor Logachev," the maritime work was suspended.

At the moment, within the framework of the first stage of work under the contract with ISA, 53 blocks have been inspected. Until 2019, it is necessary to perform three more geological exploration expeditions to complete a preliminary full-fledged survey of all 100 blocks. At already surveyed exploratory blocks of Russian Exploration Area 12 ore clusters and DPS fields were discovered. As on 01/01/2017, all DPS resources of the Russian Exploration Area were: P2 - 43.8 million tons, P3 - 61.9 million tons, total - 105.7 million tons of ore mass. For metals: Cu - 3949.5 thousand tons, Zn - 738.4 thousand tons, Au - 119.0 tons, Ag - 1679.7 tons.


It is necessary to note a significant contribution to the results of offshore work on DPS under the contract with IAS of such PMGE specialists as: Ivanov V.N., Beltenev V.E., Antipov G.V., Antipova I.V., Dobretsova I.G., Zheleznyak S.A..

On September 15, 2017 the R/V "Professor Logachev" after reconstruction and long downtime not through the fault of PMGE went to another cruise on a contract with ISA to study the blocks 47-60, 62-71, 74.

We wish them a successful cruise.

Work in the Antarctic.

Geological and geophysical research in the Antarctic is carried out by our Company on the Antarctic continent and in the adjacent seas as part of the annually organized Russian Antarctic Expeditions (RAE). The works of the PMGE aimed at studying the geological structure and mineral resources of the Antarctic are of geopolitical nature. They ensure guarantees of Russia's full participation in any form of possible future exploration of the Antarctic mineral resources - from the development of a mechanism for controlling such activities up to their direct implementation. As a result of these works, the Russian Federation receives information on the mineragenic potential of the Antarctic continent and on the prospects of the oil and gas potential of the seas washing it.

Land works on the continent during the period under review were conducted in the field season of 57-62 RAE. Terrestrial geological-geophysical and airborne geophysical operations allowed to study the sites in the mountainous areas of Mac. Robertson Land and Princess Elizabeth Land, as well as in Central Antarctica on the subglacial Lake Vostok. Geological and geophysical work consisted of specialized geological studies, complex aerogeophysical studies (aeromagnetic surveys with associated radar sounding of glaciers), SRM seismic soundings on Lake Vostok. In the course of ground geological work, new data on geology, geomorphology, and Quaternary formations of the areas of interest were obtained. The complex airborne geophysical survey of a scale of 1: 500,000 made it possible to reveal the main structure features of the northeastern part of Princess Elizabeth Land. In the central part of the basin of the subglacial Lake Vostok, according to the seismic data obtained below the water layer, it is possible to assume the presence of highly dense consolidated, probably meta-sedimentary rocks lying on a crystalline basement.



Mobile geophysical module in Antarctica

     R/V "Akademik Aleksandr Karpinskiy" in the Antarctic

Marine works were carried out within the framework of the 57-62 RAE in the marginal seas of Antarctica: the Commonwealth Sea, Lazarev Sea, Mawson Sea, Cosmonauts Sea and in the eastern part of the Weddell Sea. Complex marine geophysical works were carried out by R / V "Akademician Alexander Karpinsky" and included CDP seismic reflection method exploration with associated magnetometric and gravimetric measurements and seismic SRM sounding. Based on the results of the offshore works, the sets of maps, schemes and sections (scale 1: 2 500 000 ) of sedimentary basins of marginal seas envisaged by the projects were compiled; the structure and nature of the basement, the main parameters of the sedimentary cover were revealed, and hydrocarbon resources were estimated.

As for the work in the Antarctic, I want to highlight the effectiveness of such PMGE specialists as Masolov V.N., Gandukhin V.V., Vorobyev D.M., Pogorelsky A.I., Ksenofontov I.V., Guseva Yu.B .

Reconstruction of R/V

Apparently, this event is the most important for the whole period under review. The reconstruction of the PMGE vessels had been strived for approximately 7-8 years. Preparations were made and sent to different authorities, starting from Rosnedra Federal Agency of Mineral Resources) and ending with the Ministers of the Government, dozens of appeals and programs with various kinds of justifications. At its own expense, the PMGE, with the assistance of design-engineering department "Vostok", developed a reconstruction project for the R/V "Akademik Aleksandr Karpinskiy". And only after the Rosnedra Head A.P.Popov visited the PMGE vessels and expressed his clear positive position, the matter moved off dead center and the necessary funding was opened.

R/V "Akademik Aleksandr Karpinskiy" was reconstructed in the first place. For these purposes, Rosnedra has provided the necessary financial resources for 2013-2014. in the total amount of 495.195 million rubles.

At the end of 2013, on a competitive tender PMGE concluded a contract with "Tallinn Shipyard" for reconstruction works and this contract was implemented in full by November 1, 2014. The most worn-out ship systems and mechanisms were replaced, scientific equipment was almost completely updated. The vessel again had the opportunity to perform sampling operations, which was so lacking in carrying out work in the Antarctic. It should also be noted that the reconstruction of the R / V "Akademician A. Karpinsky" was carried out during the inter-cruises period and without disrupting the current schedule of the vessel as part of the RAE.



The new seismic stream is 8000 m long

The recording seismic complexDigiSTREAMER

At the present moment (autumn 2017) R/V "Akademik Aleksandr Karpinskiy" has already successfully completed three cruises with seismic and gravimagnetic operations with new complexes in the Antarctic within the framework of the 60-62nd Russian Antarctic expedition under State contracts and carried out the survey with a multi-beam echo sounder under a commercial contract on the shelf of Nigeria.

Reconstruction of R/V "Professor Logachev" was carried out in 2014-2016., and for this purpose the financial resources in the amount of 989.5 million roubles were allocated (including the design - 55 million roubles).

In November 2013, on a competitive basis, a contract was signed with Federal State Unitary Enterprise "Krylov State Research Center" for the development of a ship reconstruction project, and in November 2014, based on the results of an open tender, after agreement with the FAS of Russia, a state contract was concluded with Closely-Held Stock Company "Kanonersky Shiprepair Plant" (KSZ) for the execution of works on the object "Reconstruction of the research vessel" Professor Logachev ". After carrying out the necessary preparatory work and returning the vessel from the cruise, KSZ in mid-2015 started the work that was completed in September 2016. Reconstruction of R/V "Professor Logachev" was the most massive and in addition to replacing worn-out mechanisms and a science park included a major overhauling of living quarters with bringing their level up to high modern requirements.



Remotely controlled underwater device (TNPA-ROV)

Renovated cabins with bathrooms and showers

At present, the R/V "Professor Logachev" is carrying out a planned cruise to the MAR on the contract with the International Seabed Authority (ISA), during which all the installed new equipment will be tested in real marine conditions.

When carrying out works on the reconstruction of the PMGE vessels it is to note the enormous contribution of the following PMGE staff members: Temeryev S.N., Urban V.I., Reshetnikova M.O., Ksenofontov I.V., Gandyukhin V.V., Malin V.B.

Reorganization of JSC PMGE.

The reorganization of the FSUE PMGE into JSC "PMGE" was carried out in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 82 of February 19, 2015 and was launched in February 2016. The enterprise "was included in the prognostic plan (program) of privatization of federal property provided that the enterprise is to be transformed into an open joint-stock company, 100 percent of its shares are in federal ownership with subsequent transfer of shares (parts of shares) to the authorised capital of the Joint-Stock company "Rosgeologiya" in the manner specified in the Presidential Decree No. 82 ". The reorganization procedure includes three main stages: corporatization and privatization of the enterprise, transfer to the Federal Property Management Agency, transfer to Rosgeologiya holding.

In January 2017, the Federal State Unitary Research and Production Enterprise "Polar Marine Geological Exploration Expedition" was privatized by converting it into a joint-stock company with 100% participation of the Russian Federation. At present the enterprise is in charge of the Federal Property Management Agency of the Russian Federation and at the stage of joining the holding "Rosgeologiya". In accordance with the new Regulations, the governing body of the JSC PMGE is the Board of Directors, consisting of 5 persons. The current management of the activities of the JSC PMGRE is carried out by the Director General. At present, the duties of the General Director are entrusted to V.D. Kryukov.

It should be noted that the processes of reorganization of enterprises do not always go smoothly. The JSC PMGE did not avoid the problems. In particular, due to various organizational delays the Expedition failed to conclude a state contract with JSC "Rosgeologiya" in time for the continuation of work on the DPS, therefore the setting out of R/V "Professor Logachev" on a cruise was delayed for more than six months.

The most active participants In the reorganization of JSC PMGE were Reshetnikova M.O., Umnikov S.A., Lastochkin A.V., Savitskaya E.Yu.

Summerising the above, we can state that the Joint Stock Company "Polar Marine Geological Exploration Expedition" enters a new stage of its activity in an updated organizational and technical manner and in full readiness to successfully fulfill all the tasks assigned to it as part of the holding "Rosgeologiya"

Directorate of JSC PMGE

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