Despite macroeconomic problems, the Russian coal mining industry ended 2015 on a positive note. Production grew as several new mines were launched in Siberia and the Far Eastern part of the country. An explosion at a coal mine in February reminded the world of the dangers Russian miners face. Authorities are now betting on further growth and urging companies to boost investments in operations. The economic forecast, however, is not so rosy, as coal production for many mines at current prices will be unprofitable, while inexpensive hydrocarbons displace demand for energy coal.

Much of Russia’s coal is produced from large surface mining operations, such as the SUEK operation seen here.