Republic of Buryatia
Exploration of the Pre-Baikal and Trans-Baikal coal-bearing regions began during the construction of the Trans-Siberian Mainline. In 1926, first geological survey of the Tugnui River valley was made. Further geological prospecting work proved good reserves in the Olon-Shibirsky and Nikolsky coal deposits.
The Tugnuisky strip mine became one of the first extracting operating units of SUEK. It became part of the company's sphere of interests in 2001. Today it is one of the largest industrial facilities in Buryatia. Due to high quality of the product, a significant part of the Tugnui coal is exported to Europe and Asia-Pacific countries. The Tugnuy strip mine will be able to increase high quality coal supplies and to strengthen the position of major export-oriented business of SUEK's upon commissioning the coal enriching facility in 2009.
Industrial development of the Kuznetsk Basin was initiated by Ural industrialist, A.N. Demidov, who built the Kolyvan and Voskresensk facilities at the end of the 18th century. Large-scale operations here began only in the 20th century, when a section of the Trans-Siberian Mainline was laid in the Kuznetsk Basin; it was a shot in the arm for the entire industrial sector in what is now Kemerovo Region. During World War II, Kuzbass became the main supplier of coal and metals for the defence industry. Today, Kuzbass is one of the largest coal basins in the world. The standard black coal reserves are estimated to contain 693 billion tons. SUEK undertook operations in the Kemerovo Region in 2003. The main consumers of coal from OAO SUEK's operating units in Kuzbass are power generating companies, homes, and public utilities. Two thirds of the coal extracted here are exported to Europe - mainly to the UK, the Ukraine, Romania, Spain and Finland. Other exports go to Asia, with Japan being the main consumer within that region.
Huge coal resources are concentrated in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. The Kansk-Achinsk Basin, containing 640 billion tons of coal, is the largest deposit in the region and one of the most promising in the world. Most of the coal in the Krasnoyarsk Territory is mined using the open-cut method. The presence of coal deposits in the Yenisei (now Krasnoyarsk) Territory was acknowledged in the first half of the 18th century, but industrial use of the «burning stone» from the Kansk-Achinsk Basin began in 1905. In 1939-1954, after the discovery of thick seams in the Borodino, Nazarovo, Abana, Itata and Partizansky areas, the coal basin became one of the country's major mining-industry bases. After the discovery of the Berezovsky coalfield with commercial reserves exceeding 5.9 billion tons the area became one of the main suppliers of coal fuel for heavy industry and power generation. The Borodinsky and Berezovsky strip mines were the largest in the USSR. SUEK undertook operations in the region in 2002. The Krasnoyarsk branches provide more than a third of the company's total coal output.
The Primorsky Territory is one of the oldest coal-mining areas in Russia. Coal production began in the middle of the XIX century, when Russian mariners explored and began to control coal deposits in order to supply the Pacific Squadron and the Siberian Naval Flotilla, which purchased the fuel from Japan, China and Sakhalin. In 1943, the Primorsk coal companies laid the foundation for the largest integrated coal producer in the Far East - Primorskugol. The OAO Primorskugol became part of SUEK in 2003. Today it is a regional production enterprise, which has grown to include the Novoshakhtinskoye strip mine office, the Vostochnoye mine office and the Artemovskoye RMU operating unit. Major part of the coal is produced using open-cut mining methods. The SUEK companies meet more than 42% of the Territory's demand for solid fuel.
The earliest records of coal-mining in the Verkhnebureyinsky Area, where the Urgal black coalfield is situated, dated from the 1840s, but full-scale exploration of this area began a century later,in early 1930s, when construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) increased the demand for fuel. Commercial exploitation of the coal deposit began in 1939. The Urgalugol company became part of SUEK corporation in 2004. Urgalugol's customer base includes energy generating companies and municipal utilities. Due to its advantageous location, SUEK was able to implement several projects of great importance in the Khabarovsk Territory. The first among them was the construction of a terminal in the Muchka Bay of the Vanino port, with a planned annual capacity of 12 million tons. Currently, OAO SUEK is considering the construction of an enrichment factory in the Urgal coalfield to allow for an increase in higher-quality coal exports.
Republic of Khakassia
Khakassia is one of the oldest coal-producing regions in Russia. The first public record of coal-mining in Khakassia is dated 1772. In his book "The Journey to Various Provinces of the Russian State", scientist Pyotr Simon Pallas tells about black coal found in Mount Isykh. Commercial coal production in the Republic was initiated by businesswoman and scientist Vera Balandina. Having earned degrees from the Bestuzhev program in St.-Petersburg as well as the Sorbonne in Paris, she enjoyed much success in the sciences. Her achievements were celebrated by Dmitry Mendeleyev, Maria Sklodovsky-Curie, Nikolai Vavilov, Ilya Mechnikov. Upon her return to Siberia, Balandina committed herself to philanthropic and entrepreneurial activities. In 1907 she undertook development of the first coalmines in Chernogorsk. Coal companies of the Republic of Khakassia became part of SUEK corporation in 2002. Khakassia is one of SUEK's export bases. Coal for export comes from the Chernogorsky strip mine, having undergone enrichment at the factory located at the Chernogorsk subsidiary. Due to its high quality, coal from the Vostochno-Beisky strip mine is sent to the foreign consumers without preparation. The main consumers of the Khakassia coal are power generating companies, homes, and public utilities; about 40% of the produced coal is exported.
The earliest references to industrial development of coal deposits in the Zabaykalye Territory dated from the 1900s. From 1907 to 1915, various merchants and private partnerships took up the development of the Chernovskiye coalpits (15 km from Chita). One of the first operators of the Chernovskiye coalpits was Ivan Yefimovich Zamyatin, a top Irkutsk guild merchant. Mining operations began in 1907, producing 700 tons of coal; by 1909, the annual output reached 72,000 tons. The Chernovskiye coalpits yielded a steady supply of coal for Chita and the Trans-Baikal railway line for many years. In 1982, with the development of the Taturovskoye coalfield, mining of the Chernovskoye coal deposit came to an end It is currently used by the Vostochny strip mine.