The coal reserves of the Olzherasskaya Mine in southwestern Siberia are estimated at 160Mt of coking coal, with the mine’s annual capacity of 3Mt expected to be reached by 2010.
The new mine will also boost Mechel subsidiary Southern Kuzbass’ coal output by 1.8Mt in 2007.
The majority of coal produced at Olzherasskaya will be shipped to Asian and West European countries, with some supplies sold domestically.
“The mine’s development ends are worked up by high-capacity roadheaders, and coal is extracted with a powered mining complex using the sub-level caving method that enables thick seam mining in one layer,” the company said.
Southern Kuzbass will become the first company in Russia to employ modern mining technology of this kind.
“Along with advanced mining equipment, special surface machinery was installed that provides for degasification in the extraction area, and for prevention of spontaneous coal combustion,” the company said.
The licence to develop the coal deposit was acquired by Southern Kuzbass for $US15.5 million at an open auction in June 2005.