Russia’s northernmost coal-producing region experiences decline

(iStock)Russia’s northernmost coal-producing region in 2014 experienced hardship and decline.

Figures from Patchwork Barents, a regional data portal, show that coal production in the Komi Republic in 2014 shrunk with about 12 percent from 14,8 million tons to 13,1 million tons. The decrease took place at both the region’s two coal-producing companies, the Vorkutaugol and Intaugol.

Vorkutaugol in 2014 produced a total of 11,4 million tons, a decrease of seven percent from 2013, company owner Severstal informs. “Last year was very difficult “, Vadim Shablakov, Vorkutaugol CEO, says in a press release. The company had major problems with its equipment in the first half of the year and production returned to normal only in fall.

Meanwhile, the situation at Intaugol took dramatic turns as the company, a cornerstone employer in the town of Inta, came on the verge of bankrupcy and was taken over by the Komi regional government. Head of the republic, Vycheslav Gaizer says the mismanagement of Tavrichesky, the former owner, forced the regional government to take measures. “We had to take on the management and in an operational manner deal with a wide range of problems”, Gaizer said in a recent speech to the Komi regional parliament.

Despite the problems, Intaugol in 2014 produced a total of 1,7 million tons of coal, the governor said .

The Komi Republic is the biggest coal-producing region in the Russian north.

Russia in 2014 upped its total production of coal with six million tons to 356 million tons. The country over the next years plans for a major extension of production. In a recent meeting with President Putin, Minister of Energy Aleksandr Novak confirmed that Russian coal production will be boosted to 380 million tons by year 2020 and further to 480 million tons by 2035, a transcript reads.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Arctic mining – unexpected social negatives for Inuit women, Radio Canada International

Finland:  Does Nordea’s divesting of coal shares signal shift in Nordic market?, Yle News

Norway: Norway announces white paper on Svalbard’s future, Barents Observer

Sweden:  Bids given for Pajala mine in Arctic Sweden, Barents Observer

United States:  Alaska – Judge temporarily halts EPA process on Pebble Mine, Alaska Dispatch

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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