ArcelorMittal, the largest steel producer in the world, came to Kazakhstan in 1995. Since, it ownes steelworks in Temirtau, and also nearby ore and coal mines. The factory itself is located in the town, and dirty production slowly poisoned its citizens. What the local community things about being neighbours of heavy industry? Does it bring them at least some advantage? Is the company responsible enough to compensate its negative impacts? If you are curious, follow our investigation in Kazakhstan.

Photo: Adelina Grafika

 
Wide streets, monumental squares, empty spaces. Karaganda was constructed after the WWII in the architectural style called "Stalin's baroque".
 
 
Regional Ecological Museum displays unique exhibition on natural resources, mining, nuclear energy and exploring the universe. All these for the first sight unrelated topics are actual in Kazakhstan.
 
 
Pavel Shumkin tries to establish independent labour union to protect coal miners for the last 20 years. Both government and multinational corporation obstruct.
 
 
Arcelor Mittal - headquarters in Karaganda. Company is blamed for hiding information, misusing holes in legislation and exploiting natural resources for too cheap.
 
 
First of May. Spring holiday. Day of Lovers. International Worker's Day, but also Day of Unity of the Nations of Kazakhstan.
 
 
Abondoned buildings of Shakhtinsk coal mines near Karaganda.
 
 
Welcome to Shakhtinsk, 20-thousand town of the black coal miners.
 
 
Ruins were often dismantled for construction materials.
 
 
Almost all coal mines in here are owned by Arcelor Mittal.
 
 
Mines have witnessed number of smaller or bigger tragedies related to poor protection of the miners and ignoring safety measures.
 
 
Landscapes remember Andrei Tarkovski's movie Stalker or war scenes.
 
 
Emergency exit from Shakhtinsk coal mines.
 
 
Deep tranches should prevent dismantling the constructions for iron scrap.
 
 
Hundreds of kilometres of steppe are full of coal mining objects.
 
 
Coke plant of ArcelorMittal in Temirtau, one of numerous plants of transnational corporation in Kazakhstan.
 
 
Temirtau: the town of blocks of flats in the steppe and chimneys of ArcelorMittal.
 
 
Elementary school No. 16 is focused on environmental education.
 
 
Shy children are learning how to protect the nature just few hundreds of meters from smoking industry.
 
 
Sunset in dusty and polluted town around huge steelworks.
 
 
The last mountain. There was more than 20 slugheaps from coal mining around Karaganda - the last one remains as a witness of whole century of intense mining.
 
 
The slag spontaneously burns. After decades it is used as construction material.
 
 
The largest and the most famous: coal mines "50 Years of October Revolution" and "Gorbachev" produced 4 milion tons of black coal at their peak.
 
 
Office of "Miners' Family" NGO, Shakhtinsk.
 
Organization collects evidence of violation of the rights of miners.
 
Hard work: miners have to fullfill daily limits.
 
 
Victims of the progress: many miners stay jobless with occupational diseases. ArcelorMittal does not care of them, they say.
 
 
Natalia Tomilova defends miners' rights. She has dozens of sucessful lawsuites on her account.
 
 
Svetlana, former worker of ArcelorMittal, functions as informal legal advisor of mettalurgists whose rights are violated by the company.
 
 
Dyusembaeva sisters. Naila, on the right, is a medical doctor fighting for protection of citizens from dirty industry and polluted air.
 
 
Svetlana submitted about two dozens of lawsuites against Mittal Steel. She complaints that lawyers are corrupted, so she better learned the law herself.
 
 
Fire in the city? Just too close industrial neighbours...
 
 
Local politicians say that everything is more or less normal. In 2050, Kazakhstan plans to be a green-economy country.
 
Dmitriy Kalmykov, director of Regional Environmental Museum Karaganda, fights toxic pollution for two decades already.
 
 
Mines from outside and its underground. Exhibition of Karaganda Museum.
 
 
Just at the edge of the city, vast territory of mining stretches to the steppe.
 
 
"20 Years of October Revolution" - the most productive coal mine in the decades after WWII...
 
 
...and its consequences on the environment: slug and wastewater. No entry, no swimming.
 
 
Soil being turned down will hardly ever get any green.
 
 
Abandoned buildings could be easily turned into museum of mining in Kazakhstan.
 
 
Wastewater lagoon represents a threat to the environment long after mining was terminated.
 
 
Deserted land around the black coal mines.
 
 
Our team made final shots of undermined land...
 
 
...and escaped just before the security appeared.
 
 
Daily life in Temirtau: view of the smoking chimneys of ArcelorMittal.
 
 
Temirtau: For most of the citizens dusty and polluted hell, only for few priviliged a paradise.
 
 
 

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