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Sally Low | Russian Federation

Sibarginsky Mine, Once the site of the Shor village of Kurya.

Russia is the world’s sixth biggest coal producer and more than half of all the coal exported from Kuzbass region ends up in the EU, with the UK amongst the prime markets. This mining, mainly open cast, has razed forests, blackened rivers and contaminated the air with dust.

Russian mining companies intentionally mine close to existing population centres, rather than in less populated areas. This cuts infrastructure costs – including roads and railways as well as providing readily available labour.

All who live in the vicinity of the mines are prey to their impact. Official statistics reveal increases in tuberculosis, cardiovascular diseases,  illnesses and a shortened life expectancy. The paradox, though, is that many locals’ livelihoods are dependent on the mines that are causing them harm.

The indigenous Shors, a Turkic people whose survival and beliefs are intimately tied to the nature around them, have had their ancestral lands and villages ravaged by mining, leading to eradication of their culture and way of life. It’s estimated that in the past seven years, the Shor population of the region has declined by almost 50 per cent.


Words: Anne Harris

Most of my projects deal with communities affected by industry or development. These often marginalised communities, living in “forgotten areas” where high levels of poverty, health and social issues make them an easy target for big business, are the voices that inspire me. The individuals and communities telling their story of what seems to be an almost impossible struggle, yet still they stand up to these large scale corporations year in and year out, against all odds, in some cases risking their very freedom.

Coal Action Network-




Tel/Fax: 7 (0012) 43-72-86


Sally Low

website: www.sallylow.com

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+44 (0) 7855756936


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