Open pit mining used in Norilsk despite skepticism

Open pit mining used in Norilsk despite skepticism

April 08, 2022

According to the initial plans for the Norilsk combine construction, Norilsk ores were to be mined only in underground mines.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Mainland designers did not believe that in our conditions it was possible to carry out mining operations in an open way. They believed that with the Norilsk snow drifts, the miners would take out 99 percent of the snow and ice and only one percent of the ore.

But the Norilsk combine head, Avraamy Zavenyagin, in a memorandum to the government, proposed a variant of the open method.

In the technical project, local experts proved that open-pit mining was possible, that snow can fight itself: a system of shields would create barriers to protect the mine from drifts.

Zavenyagin managed to persuade the country authorities. In 1940, the first explosion thundered at the Coal Creek, and there, in the almost complete absence of equipment, overburden work began.

Manual labor was widely used, as the first American excavator for open work was brought only in 1941.

In 1943, it was revealed that one more ore body could be mined by open pit mining – at the Bear Creek. The Bear Creek quarry began to be built in 1945, and it is still working.

The open-pit mine Coal Brook successfully worked for exactly 30 years, it was closed in July 1970.

In the last issue of the History Spot photo project, we told that in 1970 the first two high-rise buildings had appeared in Norilsk.

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Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive

April 08, 2022

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