The NCFD has land borders with Kalmykia, the Rostov Region, the Krasnodar Territory, Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and South Ossetia, and a water border with Kazakhstan (in the Caspian Sea).
The NCFD borders the Caspian Sea in the east, with the Greater Caucasus mountain range and Georgia and Azerbaijan bordering in the south.
Administrative territorial division
The total territory of the NCFD is 170, 400 km2 (about 1% of the territory of Russia). It includes the Republic of Dagestan, the Republic of Ingushetia, the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, the Republic of Northern Ossetia-Аlania, the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, the Chechen Republic and the Stavropol Territory.
Pyatigorsk is the NCFD's administrative center. In addition to Pyatigorsk, the NCFD has another 12 cities with populations exceeding 100,000: Vladikavkaz, Grozny, Derbent, Essentuki, Kaspiysk, Kislovodsk, Makhachkala, Nalchik, Nevinnomyssk, Stavropol, Khasavyurt and Cherkessk.
As of 1 January 2011, the population of the NCFD was 9.5mn people. The District's ethnic composition is fairly diverse: about 30% are Russians, 16.2% are Chechens, 8.5% are Avars, 5.6% are Kabardinians, 5.3% are Darginians, 5.2% are Ossetians, 5% are Ingush, and 24.2% are other nationalities.
The NCFD's climate is determined by the region's geographic location – in proximity to the Black Sea, the Azov Sea and the Caspian Sea – and its complex and diverse landscape. In terms of temperature, the NCFD is one of the warmest Russian regions both in summer and in winter. The mean temperature is -3.2°С in January (-10°С in the mountains) and +20.4°C in July (+14°C in the mountains). Annual precipitation amounts to 300-500 mm (in steppe lowlands), and over 600 mm in the foothills of the Greater Caucasus mountain range.
The NCFD's water resources fully cover demand for water from households and industry. Water sources are rich and diverse, including the Caspian Sea, Kuban Reservoir, Dovsun Lake in the Stavropol Territory, the Blue Lakes and Chegem Waterfalls in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, and the Kuban, Terek, Baksan, Zelenchuk, Sulak, Bolshaya Laba, Ardon, Sunzha and other rivers. The Kuban, Terek, Sulak and Sunzha rivers are classified as main waterways.
The NCFD has a unique combination of balneological (therapeutic bathing) resources: mineral drinking waters, thermal waters and therapeutic muds. The district accounts for about 30% of all Russian mineral water and also over 70% of its thermal water resources.
The NCFD contains 41% of Russia's discovered reserves of tungsten, 11% of its molybdenum, up to 2% of its copper, lead, zinc and titanium, 4.8% of its oil and 2.1% of its gas.
The Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia and the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria lead in tungsten ore deposits, and the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria also leads in molybdenum ore deposits. The largest copper deposit in the NCFD is the Kizil-Dere deposit in the Republic of Dagestan, containing 1.4% of Russia's total copper reserves.
The largest zinc deposits are located in the Republic of Northern Ossetia-Аlania, the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia and the Republic of Dagestan. Most of the deposits are considered to be small and most have been depleted.
All lead deposits in the NCFD are located in the Republic of Northern Ossetia-Аlania.
Oil reserves are primarily located in the Chechen Republic.
The most promising titanium and zirconium deposits are the Beshpagirskoye and Pravoberezhnoye placer deposits in the Stavropol Territory, with a total area of about 1, 700 km2. Titanium and zirconium are critical strategic resources: ilmenite, rutile and zirconium concentrates are not produced in the Russian Federation and these ores are entirely exported.
The Stavropol Territory, the Republic of Dagestan and the Chechen Republic produce natural gas and gas condensate.
The extraction of mineral resources in the NCFD, other than of fuel and energy resources, also includes:
operation of gravel and sand quarries in all regions, although the largest extraction volumes are located in the Stavropol Territory and the Republic of Dagestan;
extraction and processing of copper ore (the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia);
extraction of limestone, gypsum stone and chalk (the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia and the Republic of Northern Ossetia-Аlania);
extraction of ores and precious metal sand: gold, silver and platinum-group metals (the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia);
extraction of stone for monuments and construction (the Republic of Dagestan and the Stavropol Territory);
extraction of clay and kaolin (the Republic of Ingushetia);
extraction of precious and semi-precious stones; extraction of natural abrasives, pumice stone, asbestos, quartz and other nonmetallic minerals not included in other groups (the Republic of Dagestan).
The NCFD is one of Russia's priority regions in terms of agricultural development opportunities, including subtropical farming.
The NCFD's agricultural sector contributes to the country's food supply security by producing 50% of grapes harvested in the Russian Federation, over 10% of grain, fruits, berries and vegetables, and over 7% of sugar beet.
The total area of agricultural land in the NCFD is 113, 500 km2, of which 53, 900 km2 is arable land.
NCFD farms account for 10.6% of the cattle stock and 38.2% of the sheep and goat stock Russia. The NCFD accounts for 7.4% of milk and 43.8% of wool produced in Russia. The district is also developing pig, poultry and bee farming (apiculture).