Mining University Holds Memorial Service for Miners Dead in Kuzbass

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© Форпост Северо-Запад

On Monday, November 29, in the house church of St. Petersburg Mining University, a memorial service was held in memory of the miners who died in the Listvyazhnaya mine. It was attended by professors and students of the university.

In the opinion of the rector Vladimir Litvinenko, the main cause of the tragedy was the degradation of the system of training for the coal industry, which needs urgent review. Today there is a 40% shortage of mining engineers in core companies, and about half of the remaining 60% lack the required competencies.

The situation is no better in the sphere of training of managers who should deal with state regulation of the industry at different levels, from ministries to regional authorities. In particular, economists who understand the specifics of mining. It is equally important to improve the professional skills of mine rescue teams by retraining experienced miners who have firsthand knowledge of the peculiarities of working underground.

“Coal has to be mined in Russia, but the state regulation of this activity must be more systematic and obvious, both in the field of training and retraining and in terms of setting strategic objectives. Modern technologies make it possible to receive more profit than today, even if the volume of production is reduced. For example, by building processing plants where coal is used to produce synthesis gas and then high-margin products demanded by the petrochemical industry. Such production facilities work in China, but they require ‘long’ money, and our regional authorities and businesses cannot afford such large-scale projects. This is why a road map has to be adopted at the federal level,” pointed out Vladimir Litvinenko.

The program aimed at increasing the profitability of the industry was developed at Mining University back in 2006. It pointed out two problems: the significant environmental damage done by coal mines and the “changes in natural physical fields and processes in the rock massif and far beyond it” that lead to geodynamic instability and reduced safety in the Kuzbass coal mines.

As recommendations scientists have offered to approve the national policy of state regulation of the branch, including provision for state participation in the implementation of the most important projects for the country. However, the initiative has remained on paper.

“The insurance sum, which in the USA is paid to the families of the killed miners, is up to $1 million. In our country, the compensation is several times less. We also have to raise it to at least 200-300 thousand dollars. Then, the authorities and owners will value miners' lives differently and pay much more attention to health and safety issues,” concluded Litvinenko.

Let us remind, the tragedy in the Listvyazhnaya coal mine occurred last Thursday, November 25. After the accident that killed 51 people, the General Prosecutor’s Office started mass inspections at specialized enterprises of Kuzbass. The results are disappointing. As a result, almost 450 violations were detected, first of all, in the sphere of labour protection and fire safety. 180 administrative cases and one criminal case of negligence were filed.