With a total area of 233,062 square miles, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe and the 46th largest on the globe.

Donetsk, Ukraine – August 16, 2013: A coal mining combine is being repaired by a miner.
Donetsk, Ukraine – August 16, 2013: A coal mining combine is being repaired by a miner.

With a total area of 233,062 square miles, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe and the 46th largest on the globe. With the exception of Crimea, which is now claimed by Russia, Ukraine has a population of around 42 million people, making it the world’s 32nd most populous country.

Kiev, the country’s largest and capital city, is located in the north-central region. The geography of Ukraine is characterised by rich plains and plateaus, with various rivers flowing into the Black Sea.

In the former Soviet Union, the country was a major economic player. The World Bank classifies it as a middle-income country. Natural resources are abundant in Ukraine, and they are considered vital to the country’s economic development. The exploration of some of these natural riches has been hindered due to corruption and resource mismanagement.

An Overview of Ukraine’s Natural Resources

Ukraine is endowed with a diverse range of natural resources, including Ukraine’s natural resources can be split into three categories: energy, metal ores, and non-metal ores. Despite accounting for only 0.4 percent of the Earth’s land surface and 0.8 percent of the world’s population, the country contains around 5% of the world’s mineral resources.

In Ukraine, there are about 20,000 deposits of 194 recognised minerals. Over 90% of the 7,800 deposits found contain key commercial minerals. Ukraine boasts some of the world’s best manganese, iron, and non-metallic raw material deposits and exploitation. The deposits can be found in a variety of locations throughout the country. These are some of Ukraine’s most important natural resources.


Coal is a major fossil fuel source, with sufficient reserves to supply Ukraine’s energy and industrial needs for the next 500 years. It is Ukraine’s greatest hydrocarbon fossil resource, accounting for nearly all of the country’s fossil resources. With around 34 billion tonnes of coal reserves, Ukraine ranks seventh in the world and second in Europe.

According to some sources, the reserves are believed to be around 115 billion tonnes. The Donbas Basin and the Lviv-Volyn Basin contain most of the country’s coal deposits.

The two deposits account for 95% of Ukraine’s coal reserves, with Donbass accounting for 92.4 percent and the Lviv-Volyn Basin for 2.5 percent. Cooking coal accounts for more than a third of the reserves in the two basins. These deposits, which produce roughly 100 million tonnes of coal each year, are estimated to last for about 570 years.

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The Dnieper Basin also has some coal resources. The vast majority of coal produced in Ukraine is consumed domestically, particularly for electricity generation. Coal is the second-most important fuel after nuclear power, accounting for around 44% of the fuel used by energy-generating industries.

Oil and Natural Gas

Ukraine was estimated to hold over 1.1 trillion cubic metres of natural gas reserves in 2004, ranking it 26th among the countries with proven gas reserves before Crimea was annexed. It is also estimated to hold over 135 million tonnes of oil and 3.7 billion tonnes of shale oil reserves. The country also has reserves of gas condensate of about 80,000 tons.

Several oil and gas fields have been exploited for years, and some are almost exhausted. Gas fields, alongside oil fields, are mainly located in three provinces of Ukraine. The major field is the Dnieper-Donetsk, which was discovered in the 1950s. 

Natural Gas and Oil

Before Crimea was seized, Ukraine was projected to have approximately 1.1 trillion cubic metres of natural gas reserves, placing it 26th among countries with confirmed gas reserves. It also has around 135 million tonnes of oil reserves and 3.7 billion tonnes of shale oil deposits, according to estimates.

The country also has 80,000 tonnes of gas condensate reserves. Several oil and gas reserves have been mined for years, and some are nearly depleted. Gas and oil reserves are mostly found in three Ukrainian provinces. The Dnieper-Donetsk field, which was discovered in the 1950s, is the most important.

Manganese ore

Ukraine is one of the top 10 manganese ore producers in the world, with Europe’s largest manganese ore reserve. In 2010, the country generated about 736,000 metric tonnes of marketable manganese ores and concentrates, with 121,000 metric tonnes exported and the remainder used to make ferroalloys in the country.

The majority of the reserves are found in Ukraine’s south. The Nikopol basin contains around a third of the country’s explored reserves, while the Veliko-Tokmakskoye field contains 66% of the country’s discovered reserves.

Ukraine’s Other Major Resources

Ukraine has Europe’s greatest titanium reserve. There are 15 recognised deposits around the country, four of which are currently being researched. These deposits can be found in the regions of Kharkiv, Kiev, Donetsk, and Dnipropetrovsk. The country also boasts Europe’s largest uranium deposit, accounting for 1.8 percent of global uranium reserves.

A total of 45,600 tonnes of uranium is believed to be in the proven reserves. Ukraine has 300 graphite resources, holding about 1 billion tonnes of graphite, or 20% of the world’s graphite. Only China has larger graphite reserves (26% of all graphite reserves in the globe).

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