#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The mainland designers did not believe that in our conditions it was possible to conduct mining operations in an open way. They believed that with the Norilsk drifts, miners would remove 99 percent of the snow and ice and only one percent of the ore.
But the head of the Norilsk combine, Avraamy Zavenyagin, in a memorandum to the government proposed an open method.
In the technical project, local experts proved that open work is possible, that the snow can fight itself: that is, the shield system would create barriers to protect the mine from drifts.
Zavenyagin managed to prove his case. In 1940, the Ugolny Ruchey (Coal Creek) mine began operations – the first open pit mine in the Arctic.
On August 29, the first explosion thundered and with almost complete lack of equipment overburden operations began. Manual labor was widely used, and the first American excavator for open work was delivered only in 1941.
Ugolny Ruchey successfully operated for 30 years. It was closed in July 1970.
In 1943, it was revealed that an open-pit method could be used to develop another ore body – at Medvezhy Ruchey (Bear Creek). Construction of the Medvezhy Ruchey quarry began in 1945, and it is still in operation.
In the last issue of the History Spot photo project, we told how Norilsk became a village.
Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive