Russian coal mines suspension gains momentum in 2022

Federal service for environmental, technological and nuclear supervision of Russia (Rostekhnadzor) has summarized the outcomes of intensified inspections of coal mines since the beginning of February 2022. As a result of the revealed violations, operations of a number of mining enterprises in Kuzbass were suspended.

Coal extraction was halted at Pervomayskaya mine (owned by Severny Kuzbass JSC) and Yuzhnaya mine (SDS Holding Company) for non-compliance with mining technology. The restrictions also affected Osinnikovskaya mine (Raspadskaya Coal Company).

In February 2022, Rostekhnadzor identified methane accumulation and suspended production for 10 to 90 days at three mines in Kuzbass, including Alardinskaya mine (Yuzhkuzbassugol), Yesaulskaya mine (Evraz Holding) and Anzherskaya Yuzhnaya mine. Also, due to the mining technology violations, operations at the south face of the coal mine #12 (Stroyservis) were ceased for 90 days. On February 15, Kirova mine (SUEK-Kuzbass) had to halt coal mining after numerous violations were discovered by specialists of the Federal service.

The safety checks at coal mines and open-pit mines increased significantly after the accident at Listvyazhnaya mine that killed 51 people last year. The regulator’s attention was also drawn to the fire at Rubana mine, owned by SUEK, where coal production was also suspended on December 19 because of the incident (see CAA Russian Coal Weekly dated December 24, 2021). In December 2021 Rostechnadzor also temporarily halted coal extraction at Sibirskaya mine and at TalTEK open-pit mine, where mining operations were carried out with numerous violations (see CAA Russian Coal Weekly dated January 21, 2022).

In addition, at the end of 2021, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak stated that the government should stop issuing new licenses for underground coal mining in the Kuzbass region. According to Novak, as the licenses expire, the number of mines should decrease.

At the end of January – beginning of February 2022 about 15 coal-mining enterprises were halted. The emerging trend of suspending coal mines after mass inspections may have a significant impact on the volume of production and supply of Russian coal to the world market.

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