Udokan copper deposit was discovered by Forest Expedition of the chief directorate of the Ministry of Geology of the USSR in 1949 and afterwards became the subject matter for Udokan exploration team.
Deposit reserves were estimated and for the first time submitted for approval to GKZ (State Reserves Committee) of the USSR in 1960. In 1961-1966 detailed exploration was performed and economic copper reserves approved. In 1966-1974 extensive geological exploration works were carried out at prospective areas in close proximity to Udokan deposit, industrial sites for the facilities of the future mining and processing plant were checked for barren ground and ground water deposits were explored for the plant`s water supply.
In 1975-1990 integrated geological exploration works were conducted in the context of BAM construction, and as a result economic copper reserves were increased. Giprotsvetmet and Zabaikalye Construction Engineering Studies Trust (ZabTICIZ) design institutes elaborated a general mining plan, and sites for the camp, tailings storage and other facilities were selected.
In 1992 an international tender for the right to develop Udokan copper deposit was held. The tender was won by Udokan Mining Company (UMC), which prepared a Feasibility Study for the construction of Udokan mining and processing plant. The project was not implemented, however.
At the end of 1999 Zabaykalskaya Mining Company obtained a license for further appraisal of Udokan copper deposit for 5 years.
In 2006 a pilot plant was built, which was used for semi-industrial processing of ore samples taken at the deposit.
The license for subsoil use for mining of copper and associated minerals in Udokan deposit was obtained by OJSC Mikhaylovsky GOK according to tender results in 2008.