Kerch Iron-Ore Basin

Kerch’ Iron-Ore Basin


a group of iron-ore deposits located in the northern and eastern parts of the Kerch’ Peninsula, Crimean Oblast, Ukrainian SSR, and confined to very gently sloping synclines (troughs) formed of Cimmerian deposits. They include (from south to north) the Kyz-Aul, El’tigen-Ortel’, Kamysh-Burun, Katerlez, Kezen, Northern, and smaller synclines. The structure of all the synclines is rather uniform; they have a troughlike shape (about 8 × 5 km), the angles of dip on the limbs do not exceed 10°-12°, and in the central portion the strata are almost horizontal. The ore bed in all the lower and middle portions of the troughs is composed of primary sedimentary ores; in the upper parts and along the periphery of the troughs it is composed of secondary oxidized ores (see Table 1).

All the ores are characterized by various admixtures of sand particles, glauconite, quartz, feldspar, and so forth; in the oxidized ores sporadic intercalation and segregation of gypsum and barite are noted. A predominant portion of the ores is characterized by an oolitic composition. The average content of Fe, Mn, P, S, and As in the most widely found tobacco, brown, and oolitic ores is 37–40 percent for Fe, 0.7–3 percent for Mn, 0.9–1.1 percent for P, 0.1–0.2 percent for S, and 0.08–0.12 percent for As. The increased phosphorus content of the ores makes it possible to obtain phosphoric slags used for fertilizer. The arsenic content does not have any substantial effect upon the quality of the smelted metal. The total area of the basin exceeds 250 sq km, and the balance reserves of iron ore in the Kerch’ Basin are as high as 1.7 billion tons, including 0.6 billion tons of brown ores and 1.1 billion tons of tobacco ores.

The Kamysh-Burun and El’tigen-Ortel’ synclines are worked; more than 7 million tons of ore are mined each year, including more than 1 million tons of tobacco ores (1972). The ores undergo washing and gravity concentration. The iron content in

Table 1. Mineral content of ores
Ore typesMain mineralsSecondary mineralsMinerals in small quantities
Tobacco . . . . . . . .HydroferrichloritesMn, Fe-carbonates (manganosiderite)Phosphates (vivianite, kerchenite, and others), pyrite, aragonite
Carbonate . . . . . . . .Mn, Fe-carbonatesHydroferrichloritePhosphates, aragonite
Brown . . . . . . . .Hydrogoethite, ferrimontmorilloniteManganese oxides and hydroxides (psilomelane, pyrolusite, and others)Phosphates (oxykerchenite and others), pyrite, aragonite, calcite
Oolitic . . . . . . . .HydrogoethiteFerrimontmorillonite, manganese oxides and hydroxidesPhosphates (oxykerchenite and others)
Concretionary . . . . . . . .PsilomoelaneHydrogoethite, pyrolusite, ferrimontmorillonite, Ca, Mn-carbonatesPhosphates (oxykerchenite) and others

the concentrates is 46 percent. After the development of a profitable method for concentrating the tobacco ores, the national economic significance of the Kerch’ Basin will increase sharply. The Kerch’ Basin is the source of supply for blast furnace production at the Azovstal’ Plant in the city of Zhdanov.


Malakhovskii, V. F. Geologiia i geokhimiia kerchenskikh zheleznykh rud i ikh vazhneishikh komponentov. Kiev, 1956.
Mineralogiia zhelezorudnoi formatsii Kerchenskogo basseina. Simferopol’, 1960.
Kerchenskii zhelezorudnyi bassein. Moscow, 1967.


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Out of 80 iron ore deposits in the country, the four most significant deposits are the Kremenchuk iron-ore region (Poltava oblast), Kryvyi Rih iron-ore basin (Dnipropetrovske oblast), Kerch iron-ore basin (Crimea) and Bilozerka iron-ore (Zaporizhia oblast).