The Khibiny region is called a real fairy-tale treasure island, mineralogical museum under the open air because its subsoil has a lot of minerals. For a long time different minerals have been mined: apatite, nepheline, mica, iron ore, copper, nickel and other metals, and besides, construction materials. Once famous Russian scientist Michail Vasilyevich Lomonosov in his well-known work «On metals origin due to Earth quake» predicted that «Based on evidence I can conclude that in the northern subsoil a vast and rich nature reigns».
But during one and a half or two centuries these words of the greatest scientist and philosopher were taken only as a genius foresight. However, in the notes of a journey of natural scientists of the last centuries there is little or even not mentioned about subsoil of Lapland.
Later enough the situation has changed. Only in 1920 several teams of scientists-geologists from the Russian Academy of Sciences have arrived to the Kola North. Soon the geological map included different mineral deposits: apatite and nepheline in the Khibiny mountains, nickel and copper in Monchetundra and Pechenga area, iron ore in Olen’ya station and Kovdor, mica-muscovite in Neblagora surroundings. Of course, deposit discovery was preceded by geological studies of great importance: lithological maps were plotted, ores were explored based on features indicating its location. But nevertheless the first discoveries were made by happy chance.
After geologists discovered minerals it was followed by geological exploration that is to reveal conditions and depth of ore deposit, its reserves, amount and commercial element content in ore. Mining methods were studied; possibility of recovery of commercial components and obtaining required metals and alloys, fertilizers and multipurpose products for national economy was investigated.
These tasks are for geologists of exploration. After all issues settled the deposit is considered ready for development and mine construction, processing plant, automobile roads start as well as community settlement or town for miners and processing engineers. In our region the list of such town is big enough: Kirovsk, Apatity, Monchegorsk, Nickel, Olenegorsk, Kovdor, miners’ settlement Revda, Yena, Prirechny and others.
Usually decades pass from deposit discovery to its development. However, in our region in spite of severe climatic conditions and scarcely populated area the deposits were developed without delay, in particular during pre-war years 1930-1940, due to lack of ores and metals in the country. On the basis of discovered, explored and ready to operate deposits in the Kola North there are several large mining companies: industrial group «Apatit», mining and metallurgical enterprises «Severonickel» and «Pechenganickel», mining and processing plants «Lovozersky», «Kovdorslyuda», «Kovdorsky GOK» , «Olenegorsky GOK» as well as a large number of open-pits of construction stone, sand and clay mining.