In the late 1950s, they talked of a possible curtailment of work in Norilsk, but with the discovery of the Talnah field, the situation changed radically.
At the beginning of 1962, after the appointment of the chief engineer of the Norilsk Mining and Metallurgical Combine (NMMC) Vladimir Dolgih, the construction of the first Talnah mine began immediately. Moreover, it was not without justified risk, since the calculation of reserves was preliminary. In 1964, the optimistic forecast of geologists was confirmed, and Vladimir Dolgih celebrated his 40th birthday as a winner. Talnah gave the first commercial ore in 1965. In the same year, the director of NMMC was awarded the first, but not the last star of the Hero of Socialist Labor in his biography.
From Norilsk, Vladimir Dolgih started his party work, first to lead the Krasnoyarsk region, and then to the Central Committee of the CPSU, where he oversaw the metallurgical industry of the entire country. The secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, a candidate member of the Politburo received the second star of the Hero – in this field. And in the new status, Dolgih continued to consider himself primarily a business executive. His main activity was aimed at solving important production and personnel issues in the metallurgical, oil, gas, coal industries, construction, energy, transport and communications.
Not a single important event in the Norilsk industrial region could do without Dolgih. As a secretary of the Central Committee, he closely followed Nadezhdinsky metallurgical plan: in 1981, he came with the Minister of Non-Ferrous Metallurgy, Petr Lomako, to the commissioned plant and, first of all, the Talnah Concentrating Plant, visiting mining enterprises and copper smelters. 1982 was no exception, marked by the beginning of the Taimyrsky mine construction and the formation of the Nadezhdinsky metallurgical plant.
The man of the era was in the ranks until the last days of his life. After retiring in 1988, he continued to solve, among other things, the Norilsk problems. At that time, the Norilsk combine was going through the crucible of reorganizations, and Dolgih’s vast experience greatly helped his successors. Until the last days, the former director of the giant of nonferrous metallurgy, an honorary citizen of the city, remained in the know about the affairs of Big Norilsk, heading the Krasnoyarsk community in Moscow.
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Text: Varvara Sosnovskaya, Photo: Norilsknickel Polar Division archive