The coal-pit “Podmoskovnaya”


The coal-pit “Podmoskovnaya” is located in the Tula region and now it is the only coal-pit in the whole central region of Russia. The pit has always been considered to be a very promising undertaking, but lately they have been refusing to use coal for power generation in the central region. The degradation began in the 90s, but formerly only in the Tula region there worked more than 30 coal-pits and there were coal-pits in the Ryazan region, in the Tver region and in the Smolensk region.

The coal-pit construction began in 1967, it was supposed to be one of the largest pits of Podmoskovny coal-basin. In 1974 it was put into service.


Currently the enterprise has about 80 employees who work in four shifts. Coal mining is being produced in low volumes and in view of a current coal transfer price all that is absolutely unprofitable for the pit.


The main means of transportation in the pit – a construction railroad with the gauge width 900mm.


The pit refuse heap. Its height is about 50 meters and the highest top of the mast is about 120 meters.


The general view of the pit.


Coal-mining industry is within a hair of death here.


In theory there are projects aimed to develop this field but still no real actions are undertaken. Until the 90s more than 1800 employees were working in the pit.


The coal is mined at the depth 74 meters from the land surface. There are two bores going underground – the main one and the auxiliary one. The main bore serves for coal lifting and air injection. The auxiliary bore is for lifting of people and equipment. The pit has three wings: northern, southern and eastern. The southern is partially flooded and the eastern is gas-polluted. The total extent of the subways is about 26 km.


The classrooms of the pit.


The multiple conveyer system scheme.


The teaching model of the tunneling machine 4PP-2.


Overalls, a helmet, a lamp and a self-rescuer are required to descend into the mine.


The main clock.


Here we step into the cage to go underground.




“Acclimatization” in a special room underground.


Air gate in the northern direction.





No entry to the eastern wing as it is gas-polluted (on the left).



Ahead is the vault sagging resulting from groundwater stream. To prevent the fall,  the gate vault has been strengthened by extra bearings.



A cart with a pumping unit.


A long face. The telephone on the left. The power train on the tracks, it feeds the mechanized complex.


The working itself.


Over the bearings.


The conveyor.


The conveyor drive.







The underground roundhouse. Electric locomotives are repaired right here, they are not lifted.


The works done in the pit are very impressive and it is sad to realize that soon all this will probably disappear. The pit has arrears of electricity and if it is shut off, in 6 hours there will happen its complete flooding. Theoretically it would be possible to restore the flooded pit but hardly anyone would be concerned. Though the coal supply is enough for some decades…

18 thoughts on “The coal-pit “Podmoskovnaya””

  1. Coal mining in Russia? ? ? ?Russia don`t have to wast time ito dug “black dirt”.natural gas,oil and un limited and “environment friendly” Nuclear power are best option for Russian.abandon it before the cave in! ! ! ! ! !

  2. Their mining techniques looking very ancient and called Mining machine has to retire many decades ago but still she Serving,amazing.can anyone tell us what is the ratio b/w operational cost and production?

    • In Poland we have the same mining technics. The cost is about 40-50 $ per Tone BUT our mines re much deeper, from 500 to 1500 m.
      I’ve been in one old, pre WW1 mine recently. Its called “Queen Luisa” and its museum now. It has a gudge working steam engine

  3. I have to wonder if the people who keep referring to computer games in these threads have any experience of real life. Not everything in the world is new and not every bit of grass is neatly cut. I feel sorry for people who judge an entire nation on how well it paints its walls.

  4. Awesome article! They should repair the factory, so they’d have coal incase of a very cold winter/reserve energy.

  5. This post looks familiar. And it looks like a MSHA Nightmare as well.

    I apologize Robert, I forgot to answer your question about why they have to use an acclaimation room here and don’t at another mine in Belgium or some place close that you had visited. Maybe it has to do with the atmospheric pressurizing and the kind of elevator you were on.

  6. i have been always a great admirer of russia…thanks to english russia i can have a peek a boo inside the mysterious russian empire….but it s really worrisome to see the mighty russia in such a bad state. i hope that russia will regain its lost might …….

  7. This is a mine not a “pit”. They do open pit coal mining where I live and it is a very boring big hole. This is a very interesting place here. I wonder though, why they have financial difficulty when the price of coal is so high. China will buy it.

  8. Very cool pix but people shouldn’t have to work in such conditions every day.

    Reactors are the future but how can a coal mine be short of electricity when they could build their own generating station powered with their own coal?


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