On the territory of Nizhny Tagil there are two large mines, one of which is already inactive - it is called Operational. The mine was mothballed in a wet way in 2011 due to the depletion of the Lebyazhinskoye field reserves. The second, Magnetitovaya, with an area of about 500 hectares, is the oldest mine of the Vysokogorsk ore dressing plant. It was planned to close it in 2016, but this has not happened so far. Currently, Magnetitovaya is potentially dangerous for the city.
“The conversation about its conservation has been going on for a long time. But, in the opinion of our experts, it is not preserved, because this requires a lot of funds. I confirm that the Vysokogorsk mining and processing plant is now, indeed, in a deplorable situation. There are billions of dollars in debts and the company is in the stage of bankruptcy. If it is recognized as insolvent, then the mine may not remain mothballed”, - Yulia Suvorova, editor-in-chief of TagilCity.ru, told Novy Izvestia.
By the way, Magnetitovaya was also planned to be mothballed using the "wet" method. This means that the voids are simply flooded with water. This fact is one of the factors of the possible collapse of the mine. “If, for example, a void is at a depth of 600 meters, then the pressure of water, which has never been there, can provoke an explosion. Landslides will begin, pressure will rise. Then a large collapse zone may form”, - says Andrey Volegov, head of the Ecopravo public movement.
Former miner Mikhail Zolotukhin calls the "wet" method more destructive, since no one controls "what's inside" and does not know "where the water might end up". The alternative dry preservation method is more expensive. With him, the work of drainage, fan and lifting installations continues.
In Soviet times, they wanted to strengthen the emptiness of the mines. It was assumed that the concrete would be pumped into underground mine workings. But later this idea was abandoned due to the high cost and duration of the process.
According to TagilCity.ru estimates, there are more than 200 residential buildings, seven schools, three kindergartens, eight gas stations, five enterprises, three electrical substations, as well as healthcare, culture and sports facilities in the Operational and Magnetitovaya mine zones. The dangerous territory partially covers three districts - about a third of the city. If, for example, an electrical substation collapses due to the earth's voids, then the nearest residential areas will remain without electricity. If refueling, gasoline will spill and ignite. If there are residential buildings or social facilities, victims are possible.
“Everything is aggravated by the fact that several faults pass through this territory at once, and there is a possibility of earthquakes. In the Urals, this is not uncommon, in fact. Just shocks of small magnitude. But if you add everything together - mines, faults, earthquakes - the picture is not rosy”, - says Suvorova.
So, within the limits of large industrial deposits of minerals, earthquakes of up to 7 points are possible. "The development of deposits of copper and iron ores, which has been going on for 300 years, has led to irreversible changes in the geological and ecological environment in Nizhny Tagil and belongs to man-made disruptions associated with the extraction of minerals", - said Ph.D. Grigory Voroshilov.
In addition, there are three faults in the places of development of fossils, which contribute to man-made earthquakes and tectonic dislocations in the form of displacements. The fact that the threat of collapse is real is said not only by experts, but also by facts. For example, in 2009, in the area of Bykova Street, a collapse of a roadbed with a length of about 60 m occurred. According to preliminary data, the cause was a tectonic shift. And in 2010, in the area of the Magnetitovaya mine, there was a shift in the soil on an area of 700 square meters. m.The earth sank to a depth of almost 1.5 m.
According to scientists from the Institute of Mining of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in order to prevent a catastrophe in Nizhny Tagil, it is necessary to organize and conduct special studies of tectonic movements and deformations in the field of mining and processing of minerals using modern technologies of satellite geodesy, as well as to determine the boundaries of the spread of modern movements and their energy of movement. In addition, during the conservation of mines, mine workings and boreholes must be brought into a condition that ensures the safety of the population, the environment and infrastructure.
According to Suvorova, neither the relevant departments, nor the municipality, nor the Vysokogorsk mining and processing plant were able to provide maps of the territory under which the mines are located, or a map of developments. “Maybe there are no such cards at all. Or they do not want to reveal them to the people”, - she said.
It is also unknown whether the authorities are taking any measures to protect the residents, since no information was provided to the requests of the publication. So far, the editorial staff of TagilCity.ru has received a response to the article "Flooded mines and collapsed quarries: why Nizhny Tagil goes underground" only from residents concerned about a problem that has been heard for many years.