Today protests are taking place across Russia, including in the coal producing Kuzbass region, in criticism of the devastating social and environmental violence wrought by the coal mining industry. The protesters include members of the Shor indigenous community whose lands and ways of life are being destroyed by opencast coal mining in the region.
The Kuzbass region is in the Southwest of Siberia and produces the greatest amount of coal for export in Russia. Here in the UK, coal from Russia is the largest source of imported coal. This year 48% of imported coal has come from Russia.
The Coal Action Network visited Avonmouth today to draw attention to the fact that all coal imported into Avonmouth comes from Russia. In solidarity with people there, we call for an end to coal imports from Russia
“Everywhere you look in the Kuzbass region there is mining infrastructure. Coal dust billows from mines and waste piles, covering the vegetable gardens that Russian people rely on for food. It is making people sick. Coal, this area’s resource, is stripped in order to feed European power stations. Coal phase outs in 2025 are too late for people and cultures who are being killed by the coal industry.” said Anne Harris who has recently visited the Kuzbass region.
People planned to protests in 15 different places but only one protest was granted a license. Protesting without a license in Russia is a criminal offense.
Coal from Avonmouth is taken to Aberthaw coal fired power station. Last week 4 trains ran from the Port of Avonmouth to Aberthaw coal power station in south Wales, each carrying approximately 2200 tonnes of Russian coal.
All coal imported into Avonmouth comes from Russia. This year alone 241,000 tonnes of coal have been imported.