The government has abandoned the mass closure of coal mines

Russian coal producers may be advised to suspend the operation of the mines in the event of problems with their security, said the head of Rostekhnadzor Alexey Aleshin, speaking on air of TV channel “Russia 24” on 2 March. The occasion was the accident at the Vorkuta mine “Severnaya” company “Vorkutaugol” (part of “Severstal” Alexey Mordashov) at the end of February, which claimed the lives of 36 people.

The fate of the mines with a high content of methane and the danger of emissions will be discussed on Monday, April 4, at a meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. This tells the employees of several companies, representatives of which will participate in the meeting, and confirmed the Federal official. The representative was not Medvedev on Friday to confirm the meeting.

On March 16 at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich Deputy Minister of energy Anatoly Yanovskiy presented a list of 20 critical mines (presentation of the Ministry of energy is at the disposal of RBC). It includes four Vorkuta mine “Severstal” including “North” where there were explosions from methane; eight mines of Evraz Roman Abramovich and partners; two — “Mechel-mining” Igor Zyuzin (see infographic).

At the same meeting voiced the idea to close all coal mines with hazardous concentration of methane and dust, and develop open-pit mining. The proposal was made by the owner of “Mechel” Igor Zyuzin, wrote “Vedomosti”.

How did you find RBC mass closure of mines with an increased probability of an accident of speech does not go yet. According to the draft report of meeting at Prime Minister (who also is at the disposal of RBC), the government plans to gradually eliminate only loss-making mines in Prokopyevsk, Kiselevsk and Anzhero-Sudzhensk.

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Mine in Kiselevsk and Anzhero-Sudzhensk was not mentioned in the list of the Ministry of energy as a threat. In Prokopevsk two municipal mines — im. Dzerzhinsky and Krasnogorskaya. The list Yanovsky was only mine “Krasnogorsk”. Dvorkovich’s representative are unable to say whether or not they closed the mine. Dzerzhinsky.

The Ministry of Finance proposed to include in the Federal budget for 2017-2019 years, 1.7 billion rubles for the elimination of mines and the resettlement of people. To call the representative of company “SDS-coal” (owns a coal mine in Kiselevsk) failed, and in MC “Nina” (mine in Anzhero-Sudzhensk) the request is not answered. An employee of the company said that the mine is in a state of bankruptcy.

Basically the instructions in the draft Protocol regarding the improvement measures of work safety of miners and to improve the systems of warning and prevention of accidents. For example, the Ministry of energy, Rostekhnadzor, EMERCOM, Ministry of natural resources, Rosnedra, and interested companies will be requested to create a Commission to analyze the operation of the mines of the first category of danger.

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Now the mass closure of dangerous mines is almost impossible, said in March the General Director of “Raspadskaya” (one of the mines of the company appeared in the list of the Ministry of energy) Sergey Stepanov during a conference call with analysts on March 29. In the most gassy mines coal produces premium raw materials from the quarries of inferior quality, he explained. According to Stepanova, the alternative is steel imported coal, but it will cost the Russian metallurgists more expensive by $0,5–1 billion per year.

Besides steelmaking facilities in Russia, as a rule, were built under the specific coal deposits and to reconstruct blast furnace to another raw material is almost impossible, explained RBC a source in two steel companies.

The government can still return to the issue of the closure of dangerous mines, assured sources of RBC in the industry. In the draft minutes of the meeting Medvedev should order the relevant ministries to study the issue of substitution of Vorkuta’s coal other raw materials. However, a source close to “Severstal”, argues that “the closure of the production in Vorkuta in the coming years, it is not”.