Kemerovo region – the center of coal-mining
Сауленко Елена Валерьевна
г. Кемерово МБОУ «Гимназия №17»
учитель английского языка
высшей квалификационной категории,
победитель конкурса лучших учителей РФ
In the heart of western Siberia, the Kemerovo region is a unique area in terms of the combination of mineral resources it contains. Despite suffering from decline, they continue to play a huge part in the lives of people there. Home of about three million people, the Kemerovo region is the most densely populated part of Siberia. Kuzbass is one of the world’s largest coal deposits. Man and machine plunder Earth’s natural resources at western Siberia’s Chernigovets open-cut mine. Its 2,500 workers, drills and giant-like BELAZ trucks work around the clock to produce some 150 million tons of coal each year. The engines only stop on New Year’s Day. “We work in extreme conditions. The weather here can range from minus to plus 35 degrees. But still, over 60 per cent of all Russian enriched coal is produced in the Kemerovo region, and every family here is in some way connected to the industry, so we all feel as though we are part of the process,” assistant of the General Director of the Chernigovets mine, Ilya Mazurov, says. Coal has been the region’s lifeblood since it was first discovered in 1721. But it was during the 1920s that Kuzbass, as the region is known, morphed into the economic powerhouse it is today. It was Lenin who invited like-minded industrialists from across the world to build a new worker’s paradise. Foreigners from over 30 countries answered the call, and the “Autonomous Industrial Colony of Kuzbass” was born. But success was short-lived. In 1927 Stalin ordered the colony closed and its expats expelled or banished to Siberia’s gulags.
The safety record in the region’s coal mines is not good. Over the past few years, several major explosions have taken lives and made headlines. But in Kemerovo, a life without mining is unimaginable. While so many of Russia’s former industrial centers faded into ghost towns with the breakup of the Soviet Union and Perestroika, Kuzbass survived. Its economic clout as the country’s major mining region is assured; but it remains a risky business.
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