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Meeting with heads of coal-mining regions

August 22, 2019

Vladimir Putin held a meeting with the governors of Russia’s coal-producing regions to discuss the current state of the coal industry and its development strategy.

The meeting was attended by the heads of the Government’s economic bloc, competent ministries, as well as Head of the Komi Republic Sergei Gaplikov, Head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Aisen Nikolayev, Head of the Republic of Khakassia and Chairman of the Khakassian Republican Government Valentin Konovalov, Governor of Krasnoyarsk Territory Alexander Uss, Acting Governor of Trans-Baikal Territory Alexander Osipov, Governor of Kemerovo Region Sergei Tsivilyov and Governor of Novosibirsk Region Andrei Travnikov.

Energy Minister Alexander Novak, the main speaker, reported on the industry’s progress in the past decade, including increased coal mining, investment and labour productivity, and on the exploration of new deposits and the introduction of new technologies. The report also touched on the growth of Russia’s share in world coal trade, transport and port infrastructure development and on upgrading the programme for the industry’s development.

According to the Minister, the most urgent issues are developing the Eastern section of the rail network in line with the Russian Railways Development Programme to 2025, which supports the shipping of coal eastward, including for export, considering the programme’s future to 2035, and resolving the issue of long-term tariffs to stabilise the industry’s performance in the long run.

Vladimir Putin stressed the need to align efforts to increase coal mining and develop infrastructure, as well as the need to be aware of certain threats and risks related to dependency on foreign markets, considering their volatility.

The meeting took place ahead of Miners’ Day that is marked in Russia on the last Sunday of August.

* * *

Speech at a meeting with heads of coal-mining regions

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

We are meeting today on the eve of a special occasion, Miners’ Day. So, first of all, I would like wish you and not only you, but also and primarily those who are involved in the industry, long-time miners and their families all the very best on the upcoming event. I would like to greet everybody whose life is dedicated to the production of coal, one of the most important and essential sectors of the Russian economy.

A miner’s hard and often high-risk job enjoys great and well-deserved respect in our country. A miner’s tough character is formed through hard work and is passed down from generation to generation. We know how miners rose to the challenge during the most difficult times our country was experiencing, the years of hardships, including the Great Patriotic War, when women worked in the coalmines alongside men.

Our glorious miners have always demonstrated courage, integrity, perseverance and earnest work. Numerous families of miners that we are so proud of continue the strong traditions of this profession.

The coal-mining industry has been making a tremendous contribution to this country’s development for almost 300 years. The industry now posts good coal production volumes and a confident export potential, as well as substantial growth prospects at new coal deposits, including those in Siberia and the Far East. We will get back to this once again today.

Large-scale plans are also linked with the development of logistics and the coal-mining industry’s transport infrastructure, including efforts to expand the capacity of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and that of seaports in eastern and western Russia. We discussed this matter at our meeting in Kuzbass a year ago. I know that there are some questions regarding the fulfilment of the agreements that were reached. We discussed this on an ongoing basis.

Today, we will review current activities and what should be done, as well as some aspects that should be adjusted in the context of the situation on global and domestic markets

The heads of the Russian regions where the coal-mining industry plays a key role are represented at the meeting. Quite often, the coal-mining industry acts as the main employer, and the well-being of regional residents and their quality of life directly depend on its development.

It is important that you and your teams maintain permanent working contacts, as well as substantive dialogue with the shareholders and managers of coal-mining and coal-processing companies.

Topical problems, primarily the creation of safe and worthy working conditions for miners, are effectively addressed in areas where such cooperation has been streamlined, and where such work is conducted in the interests of the people.

I would like to note that expanded coal production should go hand in hand with the active introduction of modern technologies, greater investment in reliable safety systems and the implementation of programmes stipulating social support for corporate workers and regional communities in general.

And, of course, it is necessary to focus on environmental matters. It is dangerous and therefore unacceptable to try to produce millions of tonnes of coal to the detriment of the environment. Nor should we forget how people live and what problems they face, we should know whether their family members have ample employment opportunities, as well as whether they have enough preschool, healthcare and education facilities, and besides this, we should deal with improving miners’ cities and towns.

We know that all these highly important and significant matters directly affect dozens and even hundreds of thousands of people. Their total number is about one million, especially if we include their families.

We will discuss all these matters today. I am sure that miners in Russia will achieve new results, while relying on the experience of their predecessors and using the entire arsenal of advanced engineering solutions.

I would like to wish each and every one of you, all miners, their families and retired workers all the very best on the occasion of the upcoming Miners’ Day.

Let us start discussing our working matters.


August 22, 2019