Sibirginsky underground coal mine

From Global Energy Monitor

The Sibirginsky coal mine is an underground mine, operated by Southern Kuzbass Coal, a subsidiary of Mechel, producing 0.5 million tonnes per annum, near the village of Chuvashka, in the Kuzbass coalfield, Kemerovo Oblast, Russia.[1]

The mine is separate from the opencast Sibirginsky coal mine which is part of the same complex.


The undated image below shows the exact location of the mine's offices within the complex which extends to the other side of the Reka Mrassu river.

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Coal Mine Background

Southern Kuzbass Coal Company was formed in 1993 when several mining and processing enterprises joined forces.[1]

Southern Kuzbass Coal Company joined Mechel Group, in 2003.[2]

In 2007 Southern Kuzbass Coal Company joins Mechel’s coal division Mechel Mining.[2]

The combined Sibirginsky complex produced 2.4 million tonnes of coal in 2011.[2]

In 2014 the second part of the mine was opened, adding 0.9km2 to the mine.[3]

Total amount of coal so far mined by Southern Kuzbass Coal Company’s enterprises is 325 million tonnes. Southern Kuzbass Coal Company’s products are sold in both Russia and abroad.[1]

As of 1 January 2020, in-situ reserves at Southern Kuzbass Coal's six coal mines are estimated at about 1.8 billion tonnes. The project capacity of the company’s assets, including underground and open pit mining, totals 18 million tonnes annually, while washing capacity totals 17 million tonnes.[1]

In October 2019 a new longwall was opened within the Sibirginsky mine.The longwall lies 450 meters deep and is 220 meters long, with an average seam height of four meters and an extraction panel of 750 meters.[4]

In 2019 there were two underground permits being exploited. These have licenses to mine until 2024 and 2032. A third is being investigated.[3]


The predominantly indigenous Shor village of Chuvashka lies 2km south of the Sibirginsky mine. The Shors are shamanist and animist, believing that mountains, streams, forests and soil have souls. While their beliefs have evolved over time, their deep connection to nature remains.[5] According to Russia’s 2010 census, there were 12,888 Shors in the entire country, with 10,672 living in the Kemerovo Oblast. In 2014, it has been estimated that the number of Shors living in the region has fallen to between 4,500 and 5,000.[6]

Local people say that the coal mines which surrounding Chuvashka pollute the water, making it undrinkable. The mines produce dust which blows off the waste tips and into the rivers and the animals have fled the area, leaving the Shor people heavily reliant on bought goods, rather than foraging and hunting their own food and medicines, as they have done within living memory. The extension of the Sibirginsky coal mine meant that the Shor village of Kazas was cleared of residents in 2012. The former residents are angry that they cannot freely access the graves of their ancestors and that armed security guards control the access to the former village.[7]

Prior to the destruction of the village, living conditions in Kazas had become unbearable. Sicknesses increased. The fresh streams where people retrieved water and caught fish had become undrinkable. Coal dust coated their garden vegetables. Explosions became the soundtrack to their lives. The mining company even set up a checkpoint at the entrance to the village.[8]

There were five houses in Kazas destroyed by fire in in 2013. Local people suspect the coal company, but the arsons have not been investigated. The local people say that this was a direct consequence of the residents refusing to sell their homes to the coal company.[9]

150 households in the village of Kurya were displaced, many of them moving to Chuvashka, because of the expansion of the Sibirginsky coal mine.[10]


Mechel is looking to expand this mine to cover an additional 7.6km2, an area larger than the current operating licenses.[3] Mechel will invest approximately RUB 147.9 million ($2.3 million USD) in 2019-2021 for increasing coal production at Sibirginskaya Underground.[11]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Southern Kuzbass Coal[1]
  • Parent Company: Mechel[1]
  • Location: Chuvashka, Kemerovo Oblast
  • GPS Coordinates: 53.613953, 87.822139 (exact)
  • Status: Operating[1]
  • Production Capacity: 0.5 million tonnes in 2018
  • Total Resource:
  • Mineable Reserves: 42.7 million tonnes[12]
  • Coal type: Coking coal[13]
  • Mine Size: 6.8km2 with extension plans for a further 7.6km2 expansion plan[3]
  • Mine Type: Underground[1]
  • Start Year: 2002[3]
  • End Year: 2058[3]
  • Source of Financing:

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Mechel, "Southern Kuzbass," Mechel website accessed 4 February 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mechel, "History," Mechel website, accessed 4 February 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Mechel, "Form 20-F report, 2018," page 73, Mechel website, 2019.
  4. Mechel, "Mechel Reports Launch of New Longwall at Southern Kuzbass," Mechel, 7 October 2019.
  5. Daria Andreeva and Anne Harris, "Slow Death in Siberia," page 14-15, Fern and Coal Action Network, May 2018.
  6. Daria Andreeva and Anne Harris, "Slow Death in Siberia," page 15, Fern and Coal Action Network, May 2018.
  7. Anne Harris, "Slow Death in Siberia," Red Pepper, 17 May 2018.
  8. Daria Andreeva and Anne Harris, "Slow Death in Siberia," page 11, Fern and Coal Action Network, May 2018.
  9. Anti-discrimination centre, "Kuznetsk Basin: Indigenous Peoples Threatened with Extinction," Anti-discrimination website, 9 august 2019.
  10. Daria Andreeva and Anne Harris, "Slow Death in Siberia," page 10, Fern and Coal Action Network, May 2018.
  11. Mechel, "Form 20-F report, 2018," page 106, Mechel website, 2019.
  12. Mechel, "Form 20-F report, 2018," page 85, Mechel website, 2019.
  13. Mechel, "Form 20-F report, 2018," page 74, Mechel website, 2019.

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