Geographic location. The region lies in the centre of Eurasia, in the southern part of the Ural mountains, separating two parts of the world – Europe and Asia. The total area of Chelyabinsk Region is 88.5 thous. sq.km. It stretches 490 km from the north to the south, and 400 km from the west to the east. Its northern neighbour is Sverdlovsk Region, the eastern neighbour is Kurgan Region. In the south it borders on Orenburg Region, in the east – to the Republic of Bashkortostan, in the south-east – to the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Federal district: Ural
Administrative center: Chelyabinsk, distance to Moscow – 1,767 km
Major cities: Magnitogorsk, Zlatoust, Miass, Kopeysk, Ozyorsk
Primary economic activities. In 2010 the gross domestic product (GDP) of Chelyabinsk Region surpassed RUR 645.9 bln. RUR 138.1 bln was invested into the capital stock. As of January 1, 2010 the registered level of unemployment among the economically active population made 3.6%.
Main branches of industry. Chelyabinsk Region is one of the most highly developed industrial regions of the Russian Federation, and it has the second largest industrial output in the Urals after Sverdlovsk Region.
76% of bulldozers, 31% of motor-graders, 28% of finished ferrous steel products, 26% of iron smelting, 28% of steel smelting, 23% of tractors, 13% of steel pipes, 2.4% of iron ore are manufactured in the region.
Over 150 enterprises of Chelyabinsk Region are engaged with extraction and processing of natural raw materials. The most highly developed branches of industry are:
Metallurgy. Over 60% of all the regional output is produced by this industry. The major ferrous metallurgy enterprises are the JSC «Magnitogorsk iron-and-steel works», the JSC «Chelyabinsk iron-and-steel works», metallurgical plants in Asha, Zlatoust, pipe-making plants, ferroalloys plants (Chelyabinsk), metalware plants in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk. The regional non-ferrous enterprises produce zinc, nickel, refined copper.
Machine-building provides over 10% of the regional output. The major enterprises of this industry are the JSC «Automobile factory «Ural», the JSC «TeploPribor», the JSC «Chelyabinskiye stroitelno-dorozhnye machiny» (Chelyabinsk road construction machines), Industrial group «Metran».
Agriculture. Known originally as the industrial region, Chelyabinsk Region is presently developing its agriculture. Chernozem soils allow planting of wheat and other crops. People are engaged with meat and dairy farming, fine-wool sheep-breeding. The well-known trade marks such as «Argayash», «Ravis», «Uvelka», «Ariant», «Makfa», «Pervy Vkus» originate from Chelyabinsk Region.
Natural and mineral resources. Chelyabinsk Region lies in the eastern slope of the South Urals and the adjusting territories of the Transural plain and West-Siberian lowland. Nurgush mountain is the highest peak (1 406 m high).
Over 350 rivers flow through the region, the largest are Miass, Uy, Ural, Ay, Ufa, Uvelka, Gumbeyka. Sometimes Chelyabinsk Region is referred to as “the land of lakes”: one can find 3170 lakes in its territory, their total area over 2 thous. sq.km. 98 lakes are more than 5 sq.km. in the area. The largest lakes are Irtyash, Turgoyak, Chebarkul, Bolshye Kasly. The lake Uvildy has the largest water surface area – 68 sq.km.
A lot of these lakes are salty and rich in balneological resources (organic and mineral muds, alkaline water). Chelyabinsk region is one of the national leaders in the diversity of therapeutic muds.
27% (2.8 mln ha) of the regional territory is occupied with the forests, which lie mostly in the mountainous zone. 28% of the forest-covered territory is occupied with commercial coniferous forests.
Chelyabinsk region is one of the oldest ore-mining territories with the considerable potential mineral resources. About 300 deposits have been explored and estimated.
Large iron ore deposits (Magnitogorskoye, Bakalskoye, Zlatoustovskoye and others), copper and nickel ores, mineral construction raw materials (especially magnesite and cement) are located here. The region possesses reserves of brown coal (Chelyabinsk basin). About 400 deposits of various metals and non-metals («non-metallic feed») have been discovered. Two and a half centuries of mining in the Bakalskiye pits gave about 150 mln tons of ore, the present reserves total 1.2 bln tons.
22.6% of all the national extracted fireclay capacity are obtained from the clay pits located in Chelyabinsk region. Besides, the region possesses 13.2% of the national vermiculite reserves. Burned expanded vermiculite is a market product, used effectively in building industry, agriculture and light industry.
25% of the national graphite ore reserves lie in the region. Two explored furnace dolomite deposits are presently being exploited, the overall volume of its reserves in the region reaching 20% of the national capacity.
12 fluxing limestone deposits (15% of the national reserves) are located in Chelyabinsk region. 5 quartzite deposits (30% of the national reserves) have been explored. 100% of the Ural and 21% of the national magnesite reserves are found here. The JSC «Magnesite» plant, exploiting Satkinskoye minefield is the absolute Russian monopolist, mining 95.2% of the national magnesite capacity.
Ilmen state mineralogical park lies near the town of Miass.
The regional fuel-energy complex is mostly represented with electric power industry and fuel industry. 7.3% of the total regional industrial output falls on the enterprises of fuel-and-energy complex.
Electric power industry involves 146 electric power stations (providing over 72% of the total required electric power), two of which are water power plants and the rest are heat power plants.
Fuel industry is based upon coal-mining and oil refining. Coal industry serves the raw-material base for the electric power industry of Chelyabinsk Region, over 90% of the consumed coal is mined here. Natural gas and oil products are brought from the outside.
Foreign trade turnover of Chelyabinsk Region made USD 7.8 bln (104% to the figures of 2009) in 2010. Exported goods brought USD 5.1 bln (103.8%), imported goods brought USD 2.66 (104.5%). Metalware is the primary exported article (around 90%), which reflects the structure of industry in general: about 28% of the national steel and rolled products, 13.5% of steel pipes are manufactured by the metallurgical factories of Southern Ural.
The companies of Chelyabinsk region perform import-export operations with 122 countries, the chief partners are Kazakhstan, Iran, the Ukraine, Belgium, Turkey, Italy and the Netherlands.
Transport infrastructure. The total mileage of motorways running through Chelyabinsk region is over 18 thous. km, of them public roads stretch 9.1 thous. km. 97.6% of all the motorways are hard-surface roads. The highways Moscow - Chelyabinsk and Kazakhstan - Yekaterinburg are of strategic importance.
The airports lying in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk carry out regular air service. The international Chelyabinsk airport can accommodate aircrafts of all the types, except Boeing-747. Regular flights to Germany and charter flights to many European and Asian countries are carried out by the Russian air-companies from Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk airports.
The South-Ural railway running through Chelyabinsk Region crosses the European and Asian continent and comprises of 4 feeders, leading to Chelyabinsk, Kurgan, Orenburg and Petropavlovsk.
Tourism. Chelyabinsk Region is famous for its sanatoria and SPA-resorts, mineral water resorts and mud-treatment. The unique federal park «Zyuratkul», housing over 20 natural and archeological monuments is waiting for the visitors. The other places of interest are the only one in Russia Ilmen mineralogical park, historic park «Arkaim», the beautiful lakes Uvildy, Turgoyak, Sladkoye, Argazi, Arakul, the mountain caves known for their ancient rock painting. The historic-and-natural complex «Porogi» lying in Satka enjoys great popularity, considered the global monument of industry, culture and history. Here lies the oldest Russian water power plant occupying several hectars, supplying Porogi settlement with electricity.