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Development of the mineral resource complex as an increase in the geopolitical status of Russia

Albertyan Aida Pogosovna

Lecturer of the Department of Theory and History of International Relations, Candidate of the Department of Political Science of the Institute of International Relations and Socio-Political Sciences of the Moscow State Linguistic University

119034, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Ostozhenka, 38, str 1

7800989@gmail.com

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8671.2022.1.37713

Received:

19-03-2022


Published:

29-03-2022


Abstract: The state of the mineral resource complex is one of the foundations of the functioning and development of Russia in the context of the global geopolitical struggle. The geopolitical status of the state today largely depends on how the country will be able to respond to the challenges associated with the depletion of traditional mining areas and the beginning of a new stage of energy transition. In this article, the author provides an overview of the mineral resource complex of Russia, and also analyzes the dependence of the geopolitical status on the state of the mineral resource complex. According to the results of the study, the author concludes that the mineral resource potential of Russia, although it is one of the largest in the world, at the same time, there is a problem of shortage of certain types of minerals (manganese, chromium, titanium, bauxite, zirconium, beryllium, lithium, rhenium, rare earths of the yttrium group, hydrofluoric spar, bentonites for foundry production, feldspar raw materials, kaolin, large-leaf muscovite, iodine, bromine) and the country's dependence on imports. The deficit is caused by both the growth of consumption of certain types of minerals, and low quality, as well as poor development of some domestic deposits. In order to successfully develop Russia, the country needs to increase the volume and improve the quality of the mineral resource base that can meet the demand of high-tech and technological sectors of the economy (military-industrial complex, dual-use systems, medicine, etc.).Increasing the volume and improving the quality of the country's mineral resource base is possible due to the development of new areas and the search for new, high-quality deposits of strategic and scarce mineral raw materials. In this connection, the author examines in detail the cooperation in the field of mineral resources development in the Republic of Kazakhstan, in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, as well as with the People's Republic of China. In carrying out this research, the author applied the methods of content analysis, historical and systemic.


Keywords:

mineral resource complex, mineral resource base, russian federation, geopolitical status, public diplomacy, minerals, problems and solutions, Republic of Kazakhstan, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, China

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

 

 

Introduction

The processes of globalization observed today have a significant impact on the development of both the domestic and world economy. Active initiation of the energy transition in economically developed countries of the world, such as the United States, Great Britain, the European Union, etc. led to an increase in the use of alternative energy sources and negatively affected the energy security of these countries. The instability of the country's energy industry, whose activities are provided by alternative energy sources, has affected the need to return to the use of traditional energy sources to ensure the sustainability of economic development. For this reason, at the end of 2021, the European Commission, in order to ensure the Green Agenda, announced the assignment of nuclear energy and natural gas to environmentally friendly energy sources, which predetermines the already increased role of natural gas in the global energy balance. In this connection, the development of the mineral resource complex of the Russian Federation becomes not only strategically important, but will also strengthen the country's geopolitical position on the world stage, which determines the relevance of the study. The purpose of the study is to determine the role of the development of the mineral resource complex of the Russian Federation in ensuring the strengthening of the geopolitical status of the state. Based on a certain goal, the tasks that were solved in the study were formed, they include: to determine the current geopolitical status of the Russian Federation, to consider the main methods and principles aimed at improving the geopolitical status of the country, its economic development, ensuring the national security of the country, analyzing the current state of the mineral resource complex of Russia and determining its role to increase the geopolitical status of the state, to determine the role of the mineral resource complex in the processes of public diplomacy.

The geopolitical status of the Russian Federation

Initially, the theory of public diplomacy was presented in the USA, where it was defined as a system of institutions and mechanisms whose activities are aimed at ensuring effective dialogue with foreign societies to achieve political goals [1, pp. 26-44]. It is worth noting that in the United States, public diplomacy is aimed at achieving the foreign policy strategy of the state and is carried out by the State Department of the country and is expressed in close cooperation between the state and non-profit and commercial organizations [2].

Considering the works of domestic researchers devoted to the issue of public diplomacy, I would like to highlight that the domestic definition differs from the American one and represents one of the areas of activity together with cultural and humanitarian cooperation, public diplomacy and strategic communications and affects a certain target audience, therefore, the definition of public diplomacy in the domestic scientific literature can be defined as the interaction of the state with commercial and non-profit organizations abroad, which ensures the achievement of the foreign policy goals of the Russian Federation [3, pp. 22-25]. In this case, it is the foreign policy orientation of the goal of diplomacy that is a distinctive feature from the public one.

Thus, public diplomacy (or soft power) plays one of the key roles in ensuring the foreign policy interests of the state abroad. In our opinion, the ability of the state to protect its interests is provided primarily by the level of its military and financial and economic power, as well as scientific and technological potential, natural resource potential, level of education, size of the territory and population. The states with the highest values of these indicators have the greatest potential for domination in a particular region or in the world, which ultimately affects their geopolitical status.

In terms of its geopolitical status, Russia is at the forefront of countries that have a direct impact on global processes in the world that determine the current and future agenda of international relations. This was also facilitated by the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union, the conclusion of more than 20 cooperation agreements between the EAEU and third countries, which significantly strengthens the geo-economic and geopolitical position of the integration association, which is already the largest in the world both in terms of economic and resource potential. However, the global competitive environment in which the country is located requires a constant search for new resources to maintain the achieved position and pushes the state to the need to find new ways and sources to achieve a competitive advantage over other players. Depending on how effectively the national economy will develop and what the level of the state's defense capability will be, it depends on how successful the state can be on the world stage.

Effective development of the national economy and ensuring the defense capability of the state are the fundamental principles of maintaining the political stability of the state. The implementation of these principles is a complex task implemented through the symbiosis of many factors, including, but not limited to, the availability of the necessary resource base, the development of competitive technological competencies and optimal state regulation [4].

The development of the national and world economy accompanies the growth of consumption of certain types of minerals. The currently observed increase in the consumption of subsurface components and the pace of discovery of new high-quality mineral deposits that is not keeping up with it has led to a shortage of the total reserve of economically viable mineral deposits in the world.

Against this background, the Russian Federation stands out as a country with one of the largest mineral resource potentials on the planet. At the moment, almost all types of minerals known to science have been discovered in Russia, for many of which the country occupies a leading position both in terms of reserves and in terms of their production. Among the main components of the subsoil of economic interest are natural gas, oil, coal, iron, nickel, copper, gold, silver, platinoids, diamonds, potassium salts [5]. At the same time, it should be noted that in the Strategy for the Development of the mineral resource base of the Russian Federation, it was determined that in order to fill the deficit in the mineral resources of the country, the issue of implementing foreign projects for their development becomes especially important.

According to the data of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia, the reserves of the main types of minerals as of 2019 in Russia amounted to:

 

 

Table 1

Reserves of the main types of minerals for 2019

Stocks of the main types of minerals for 2019

No. p / p

Type of mineral

Mineral reserves in kind

1.         

Oil

9 781 458.3 thousand tons

2.         

Gas

15 285 262.0 million m3

3.         

Gold

1,627,038.3 kg

4.         

Copper

18,924,6 thousand tons

5.         

Iron ore

3 259 862.8 thousand tons

6.         

Coking coal, energy

2,806,866 . 6 thousand tons

7.         

Brown coal

556 186.0 thousand tons

8.         

Diamonds

361 671.6 thousand carats

Source: [6].

 

At the same time, the current change in the technological structure leads to the fact that today there is a serious shift in the consumption of certain types of minerals, such as lithium, nickel, rare earth metals, platinum group metals, in connection with which the issue of ensuring demand for the above minerals, as well as technologies for their processing, is particularly acute., which leads to the emergence of competition among major players for the resources of explored deposits and the search for new ones.

Thus, in accordance with the assessment given in the Strategy for the Development of the Mineral Resource Base of the Russian Federation until 2035, approved by the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 2914-r dated December 22, 2018, the provision of Russia with profitable reserves of strategic and most significant types of minerals does not exceed 25-30 years [5]. According to the estimates of the Federal Agency for Subsoil Use, the reserves of profitable oil fields in the country will last no more than 19 years [7]. From the above data it can be seen that the real resource reserve in the country is not so great.

In the future, the demand for certain types of minerals will only grow, and therefore it is already necessary to develop a state policy in this area in order to ensure a uniform and progressive approach to the development of the country's mineral resource complex. In particular, at the moment, there is a steady increase in demand for lithium in the world, as the main component of lithium-ion batteries, the use of which is no longer limited to cellular communication devices and other wearable equipment. An example is the commissioning in 2017 in Australia of the world's largest lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 100 megawatts, powered by a wind farm, necessary to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the grid and capable, in case of special need, to provide electricity to 30 thousand homes within one hour [8].

The development and introduction of new technologies in the world made it possible to significantly reduce the cost of battery production while increasing their capacity, and therefore this made it possible to implement an active transition of cars from internal combustion engines to electric motors. In the next five years, high demand and a decrease in the price of lithium-ion batteries will give automakers the opportunity to start producing electric vehicles at the price of conventional cars powered by fossil fuels.

At the same time, it is too early to discount the usual hydrocarbons. The environmental agenda in the near future will not be able to lead to the complete abandonment of fossil fuels by states and businesses due to the still weak efficiency and reliability of "green technologies" in relation to industrial scales. As the experience of the winter of the 2020-2021s has shown, the variability of weather conditions has seriously affected the energy security of individual provinces and states both in Europe and in the United States. So, with the onset of low temperatures and precipitation, the blades and mechanisms of wind turbines generating electricity in Texas (USA) froze, and therefore more than half of the wind turbines failed, the solar panels did not work, which led to a sharp transition to the use of gas and, as a result, the price for it increased several tens once. Thus, climate change has contributed to the return of the use of fossil fuels, which is a more stable and reliable source of energy.

Most modern types of materials are the product of petrochemistry, and without the use of the properties of rare earth metals, it is generally impossible to operate and develop high-tech industries: electronics and microelectronics, medicine, aerospace, nuclear power, oil refining and many others.

In terms of reserves of rare earth elements, Russia ranks 3rd in the world, behind China, Brazil and Vietnam, sharing second place, and in terms of production, 6th place, behind China, the USA, Myanmar, Australia and India [9]. The dominant position in the rare earth metals market is occupied by China, which today provides more than 95% of the supply on the world market.

The list of applications of the properties of rare earth elements in military-industrial, dual-use and civilian products is extremely extensive and allows us to say with confidence that control over the entire production chain from the development of deposits to the processing of raw materials is a fundamental issue of preserving the real sovereignty of states in the XXI century.

In these conditions, the development of its own base of deposits and the establishment of a full production chain for the Russian Federation is a matter of ensuring the defense and security of the state.

In Russia, there is a problem of shortage of certain solid types of mineral raw materials, the domestic demand for which is not provided by the current level of production and is satisfied mainly either through imports, or, in the case of uranium raw materials, through stocks and secondary sources. For example, domestic reserves of such mineral raw materials as manganese ore, being one of the largest in the world, at the same time, are of extremely low quality. The average metal content in the ores of known manganese deposits is about 21%. The main part of the balance deposits belongs to the category of small deposits. The main consumer of manganese and its compounds is the Russian metallurgical industry, whose demand is more than 80% covered by imports from China and 20% from other countries. A similar situation applies to other types of minerals.

The shortage of any minerals or raw materials necessary for critical sectors of the economy complicates the state's ability to ensure its defense potential and, consequently, maintain its geopolitical status on the world stage.

Based on the conducted research, it is clear that Russia has one of the largest mineral resource potentials on the planet. At the same time, there is a shortage of some types of minerals and a serious dependence on imports. The deficit is associated with an increase in the consumption of certain types of minerals, as well as low quality and poor development of domestic deposits. For successful development and technological leap, the country needs a raw material base capable of meeting the demand of high-tech and technological sectors of the economy (military-industrial complex, dual-use systems, medicine, etc.). Increasing the volume and improving the quality of the country's mineral resource base is possible through the search for new, high-quality deposits of strategic and scarce mineral raw materials, including abroad. In this connection, projects for the development of mineral resources jointly with the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People's Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam are of particular importance for meeting the needs of the Russian economy [10].

Kazakhstan

To date, cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan is one of the most successful examples of joint activities in the field of projects for the development of mineral resources of Kazakhstan. One of the key factors of the effectiveness of mutual cooperation in the development of the mineral resource base of the Republic of Kazakhstan by Russian companies is the historically established prerequisites for the relationship between the two countries. Thus, Kazakhstan began its development as a territorial unit of the Russian Empire, which later also became the Republic of the USSR. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia began to lose its geopolitical influence in the post-Soviet republics, which was due to the lack of strength and interest in the country to promote and protect its interests in Kazakhstan.

However, by the beginning of the XXI century, Russia began to show interest in the country's participation in foreign economic activity in post-Soviet countries, especially in the Central Asian region. As a result, already in 2015, the world's largest integration association of the EAEU was created, the participants of which included such countries of the former USSR as: the Russian Federation, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republic of Belarus, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Armenia. It is the unification of the economic and political interests of the states within the framework of the integration association, as well as the geographical proximity of the states that have become one of the key factors in increasing the geopolitical influence of Russia in Kazakhstan.

I would like to note that the Republic of Kazakhstan is rich in natural resources, the country is among the leaders of the countries in terms of reserves of hydrocarbons, non-ferrous metals, uranium, etc. In addition to the fact that since 1991 Russian oil and gas companies have already implemented a significant number of joint projects in Kazakhstan, it is worth noting the increasing role of nuclear energy in the global energy balance. This is due to the fact that over the past years there has been an increase in the share of nuclear energy in global electricity consumption, which determines the importance of developing this area of cooperation between the two states. All this fully becomes a prerequisite for the development of bilateral cooperation between states in the nuclear energy sector, since the Republic of Kazakhstan is one of the three world leaders in uranium reserves, and Russia is a world leader in nuclear technology. In this context, there are prospects for the implementation of projects for the construction of nuclear power plants using Kazakhstan's raw materials abroad, which will lead to an increase in the influence of the Russian Federation in those countries where these projects will be implemented. At the same time, before the beginning of active involvement in the economic and political processes of Russia in Kazakhstan, China successfully pursued a policy of public diplomacy (or soft power), which allowed not only to strengthen the influence of the PRC in the region, but also contributed to increasing the loyalty of the Kazakh leadership to foreign economic cooperation, including in the field of development mineral resource base, which is an obstacle to the intensification of cooperation in this area with the Russian Federation. Based on the above, in our opinion, today Kazakhstan is one of the key goals of realizing the geopolitical potential of the Russian Federation in the Central Asian region.

China

Considering the cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China in the development of mineral resources, it is worth noting the involvement of the Chinese side in participating in Russian projects. To a greater extent, this is due to the fact that today the mineral resource base of China is experiencing a number of difficulties caused by depletion of reserves, as well as the complication of production due to natural and other factors. Despite the fact that the development of projects for the extraction of mineral resources in China is becoming increasingly difficult, the country continues to be one of the world's largest producers of semiconductor and rare earth metals (the country accounts for more than 1/3 of world production) [12], which are used for the production of high-tech products. To solve this problem, China is actively investing in the development of mineral resources abroad, being one of the key partners of the countries of the African continent in this area. To strengthen mutual cooperation between Russia and China in the development of mineral resources both in the countries themselves and abroad, a special role is played by the presence of Chinese experience in their implementation on the African continent, which is currently developing a significant number of projects for the development of the mineral raw materials base of African states [14]. In our opinion, the strengthening of this cooperation will not only meet the needs of the two states in mineral resources, but also strengthen Russia's geopolitical position in Africa.

One of the most successful examples of cooperation between the two states is the implementation by the People's Republic of China of a project to develop the Kyzyl-Tyshtyg polymetallic ore deposit in the Republic of Tyva. So, the cooperation agreement was concluded in 2006., after more than ten years, in 2017, the second phase of development of this field began. It is worth noting that for the Russian side, the implementation by the Chinese company Heilongjiang Mining Company Zijin Longsin LLC during the validity of the agreement led to an increase in tax payments and fees to the budget by more than 4 billion rubles [13]. In addition to this deposit, Russia is actively attracting Chinese investments in the development of the mineral resource base of the Siberian and Far Eastern Federal Districts.

Vietnam

The history of mutual cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam dates back more than 60 years, an important component of bilateral cooperation is the active support of the USSR to Vietnam during the Vietnam War, providing support to Vietnam in the post-war period, as well as the development of oil and gas projects on the territory of the republic.

The importance of developing cooperation between Russia and Vietnam is due to the republic's high involvement in the economic and political processes of the Asia-Pacific region, the presence of significant reserves of mineral resources in the country, as well as the fact that the country has one of the highest rates of economic development in the world.

Considering the reserves of Vietnam's mineral resources, oil, natural gas, metals, ores, etc. should be singled out. In terms of oil reserves, the country is on the third line in terms of reserves among the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, in terms of gas reserves, the country is also among the leaders in the region. It is worth noting that significant reserves of semiconductor and rare earth metals are concentrated on the territory of the SRV, the degree of importance of which is growing from year to year at a high rate, which is associated with the active development of technologies, as well as the production of electrotechnological equipment. I would like to note that according to the US Geological Survey [9], although the country has large reserves of these metals and other mineral resources, the country lacks the necessary technologies to increase their production and subsequent sale on the world market. In this case, the issue of cooperation between Russia and Vietnam in the development of mineral resources becomes particularly relevant, since the Russian Federation is in need of their supplies, and Vietnam has a favorable investment climate, it seems promising to intensify the participation of domestic companies in the development of Vietnam's mineral resource base.

Conclusions

Summing up the results of the study, I would like to draw a number of conclusions:

1. Cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan has been going on for more than a century, which largely determines the importance of strengthening foreign economic and foreign policy cooperation between the two states.

2. Kazakhstan has a significant mineral resource potential, and the Russian Federation has the financial capabilities necessary for their development, which simplifies the country's entry into projects for the development of mineral resources in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

3. The need to increase cooperation between the two states brings not only economic benefits for the country, but also contributes to increasing its geopolitical status in the Central Asian region.

4. The successful implementation of joint projects of the Russian Federation and China in the field of mineral resources development both in the countries themselves and abroad will not only increase the degree of provision of the two countries with mineral resources, but also contribute to the formation of Russia as one of the world's largest owners and suppliers of these resources, which will lead to to strengthen and strengthen the geopolitical status of the Russian Federation on the world stage.

5. With the joint implementation of projects for the development of mineral resources of Russia together with Vietnam, the Russian Federation will be able not only to provide the necessary volumes of supplies of these resources, but also strengthen its geopolitical role in the Asia-Pacific region, which will greatly contribute to strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation between the two states.

 

 

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This research is carried out on a very relevant and topical topic against the background of current world events in conditions when the structure of the global economy and the order of the world order as a whole are changing. States are forced to rethink their own strategic and geopolitical role in the context of ongoing crises and direct conflicts of interests. The author considers the definition of the resource factor of politics as a source resource in ensuring the stability of the foreign policy of the Russian state as a key target. The author of the publication defines the establishment of the current geopolitical status of Russia, the main trends in ensuring Russia's national security, its energy and economic reliability as the leading tasks of the study. In general, the author fairly consistently analyzes modern means of geopolitical interaction between world powers, public diplomacy, economic exchange, and the creation of large economic and political alliances. The article uses a strategic approach to the analysis of long-term economic planning within the Russian Federation, approaches to the use of hydrogen and the definition of areas of energy security. At the same time, the author of the article assigns an important role to Russia's interaction with key Russian partners who are potentially able to play a positive role in the development of Russia's mineral and raw materials resources to meet the needs of its economy - these are, first of all, China, Kazakhstan, and, according to the author, Vietnam. If the partnership with Kazakhstan and the People's Republic of China as the leading powers in the eastern region is beyond doubt, then interaction with Vietnam is logically poorly justified and is limited to pointing out the investment attractiveness of this Southeast Asian state without concrete empirical confirmation. Nevertheless, the article has a significant degree of scientific and practical significance and has elements of scientific novelty, and in this regard, it will undoubtedly be of interest to the readership who wants to get acquainted with current approaches in the study of modern geopolitical dispositions. The list of references is represented by scientific papers and publications, materials of statistical reports, reviews and news sources in a total of 14 positions. There are also political and legal documents of the Russian Federation in the field of development of the raw materials and industrial economy. Most of the sources are not older than 5 years, there are foreign sources that make the presented material as objective as possible, at the same time, the list of references could be expanded through modern theoretical research on the geopolitical dimension of the global and world economy. The article is based on a good empirical base, but at the same time, from the point of view of the theoretical and methodological structure, in addition to using a comparative approach in the logic of scientific research, it does not comprehensively analyze the degree of scientific elaboration of the problems of modern geopolitics. However, despite the existing shortcomings of the structural plan, the article is written at a good scientific level and can be recommended for publication in the journal "World Politics" as fully relevant to the topic studied in this publication.
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