Skip to main content

The amount of economic effect from the work submitted for the state award became known


The Academic Council of the Empress Catherine II St. Petersburg Mining University has voted to nominate for the Russian Government Prize in Science and Technology 2024 a work dedicated to improving labor safety during the exploitation of deposits located at great depths. The full title of this project, which was worked on by a scientific team of ten people, is "Development and implementation of R&D and technological solutions for mining rich ores under industrial and water bodies in shock hazardous conditions, ensuring the reduction of the risk of man-made disasters and effective subsoil use".

According to experts, the chances of winning the contest are very high, because the need for natural resources such as aluminum, nickel, copper and many other metals will continue to grow in the future, including in connection with the implementation of the energy transition. But it will be much more difficult for mankind to provide itself with raw materials than before, because the depth of deposits is constantly growing, and there are practically no more of them near the surface of the Earth. It goes without saying that extraction at greater depths is a priori more difficult, which means that technologies and methods aimed at increasing its efficiency and safety will be more and more in demand every year.

"Now, for example, at one of Norilsk Nickel's mines, mining operations are carried out at a depth of 2 kilometers. And this is not the limit. Prospective scientific research based on existing patterns will make it possible to increase this figure, taking into account the provision of proper safety. This can bring the industry to a new level," Arkady Shabarov, one of the authors of the project and Director of the Scientific Center for Geomechanics and Mining Problems at the St. Petersburg Mining University, is confident.


He has special hopes for mothballed safety pillars. This is the name given to parts of the strata of already developed deposits that have not been previously involved in development due to economic inexpediency or because the risks of roof collapse are too high. There are such deposits, which are dangerous or prone to rock impacts, on the Kola Peninsula, in the Norilsk industrial region, in Western Siberia, and in the Far East. That is, the potential here is enormous, and its realization is largely due to the work of the team of scientists and engineers, which includes Arkady Shabarov.

The representative of the oldest technical university in Russia specified that among his co-authors are both representatives of industrial enterprises, such as Andrei Abrashitov, Director of the Kirov branch of Apatit, and Tigran Darbinyan, Director of the Mining Department of Norilsk Nickel, and employees of research organizations. In particular, Andrei Yeremenko, Head of the Laboratory of Physical and Technical Geotechnologies at the Institute of Mining Engineering of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is leading the work. This approach allowed to find an optimal balance between the knowledge gained from laboratory experiments and practical tests.

© Форпост Северо-Запад / Павел Долганов

"The strategic importance of the work nominated for the Government Award lies in the application of innovative methods for determining the safe depth of mining reserves located under water bodies, as well as advanced technological schemes for opening and mining ore bodies. The relevance of the proposed solutions can be understood by the negative experience of the Oktyabrsky and Taimyrsky mines, whose operations had to be partially suspended due to waterlogging. As a result, the company suffered huge economic losses," said Arkady Shabarov.

He explained that now both facilities are functioning normally. This became possible after pumping out the water and subsequent studies conducted by the specialists of the Mining University. They identified factors and dependencies that need to be taken into account in specific mining and geological conditions and gave clear recommendations on preserving the protective strata between water bodies and mine workings.

"The development of deep horizons has undoubtedly aggravated the problems of predicting and preventing geodynamic phenomena that cause significant material damage to industrial enterprises and increase the risks associated with mining strikes. In this regard, the need for research and development work to create and implement fundamentally new systems, devices, methods of regional and local forecasting of geodynamic phenomena will increase every year," - emphasized Arkady Shabarov.

шахта Апатиты
© ПАО "ФосАгро"

The recommendations outlined in the work nominated for a state award have found practical application not only at Norilsk Nickel's enterprises. They were also implemented by such companies as Giproruda, Apatit, Dalpolymetal and many others.

As experts note, thanks to the implementation of the results of the studies, a decrease in the intensity of man-made earthquakes and geodynamic phenomena has been recorded, which has significantly reduced the number of injuries to miners. The economic effect achieved against this background amounted to about 1.5 billion rubles.