The group of companies “KARAKAN INVEST”, LLC is an innovative company specializing on exploration and development of Karakansky coal energy cluster (KCEC) merging the extraction, processing and generating capacities of the Karakansky coal deposits (Kemerovo region, Belovsky district, Evtino village).
KCEC construction was a private initiative of Doctor of Economics, professor, chairman of the Russian organization Committee of the Worldwide mining congress Georgy Leonidovich Krasnyansky (project investor).
Restructuring of the coal industry
In contrast to oil and natural gas, coal, especially coal of highly thermal grades, is a regional energy resource requiring its maximal usage in the immediate proximity from the mining site. Given that the bulk of coal mined at Kuzbass is consumed outside of Western Siberia regions, expenses for its transportation often exceed mining costs. Along with that continuous growth of expenses for transportation of coal to coal terminals in ports and growth of operational expenses for its mining also lowers effectiveness of exports, thus increasing its dependence from worldwide prices on energy sources.
The 2008 financial and economic crisis and the current international economical situation demonstrate high degree of vulnerability of the Russian coal industry, oriented to exports amid the sustained stagnation in the domestic coal market. To enhance sustainability of the Russian coal industry it is necessary to enhance the role of the domestic market by return to the principles of coal rationalization. According to present-day vision, coal rationalization involves an innovative approach and technological restructuring of all processes from coal mining to manufacturing of coal products with high added value directly in a coal mining region.
These approaches are included in the Long-term Russian coal industry development program for the period until 2030, endorsed by the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation dated January 24, 2012, №14-р. Establishment of the KCEC is described in the section of the Long-term program «Establishment of new coal mining centers on deposits with favorable mining and geological conditions providing world level productivity, labor safety and production quality».
Concept and practice of the cluster approach
According to the accepted definition, cluster is an agglomeration of enterprises and organizations defining unique features and individual characteristics of a region which provide ways and opportunities for its social and economical development. Effectiveness analysis of cluster initiatives based on results of international researches demonstrates their high diversity, including creation purposes, general environmental conditions, organizational structure and financing schemes. In international experience, the most successful cluster initiatives are those serving projects of national or regional importance.
One of the fundamental conclusion made from international experience and study of cluster policy elements, cluster programs and initiatives and problems of cluster management, is the necessity to focus on general technological advancement, key areas of current expertise and development of required competencies rather than concentrating on support of all available industries.
The recommendation above should encourage the shift from support of production and services of regional and local level to support of internationally viable competiveness and expertise. However, development of cluster and region strategies should not contradict to each other. The purpose of cluster development is successful realization of projects in such a way as to make possible their future transition from unique ones to regular and typical ones, available for further distribution under regional and national programs.
Characteristics of the cluster placement region
The region where the KCEC is placed is characterized by abundance of coal in the area which includes the Karakansky coal deposit and the adjacent Uropskoe and Mencherepskoe coal deposits with total reserves of 10 billion tons approximately. High concentration of coal mining, processing, infrastructure and logistics companies on the limited and developed area requires implementation in the KCEC of innovative technologies in coal mining and processing, as well as development of general approaches to solution of region’s social and economic development problems and protection of its environment.
The essential factor, reflecting specific features of the region where KCEC is situated, is the need for an adequate response to environmental requirements posed by vicinity of the Karakansky natural park. It is planned to declare the Karakansky mountain range a preserved area that is why great attention is given to environmental safety of manufacturing units as part of the KCEC development.
Agglomeration of interconnected manufactures, their capacity for synergy (for mutual complementation and increasing of their competitive advantages in case of cluster agglomeration), and also a set of mining and geological, mining and technical, natural and climatic conditions all serve as a foundation for KCEC viability and ensure efficiency of cluster technologies in use.
KCEC purpose and objectives
The purpose of establishment of the KCEC is to ensure economical effectiveness of coal mining and manufacture of products with a high added value under conditions harmonious with the environment and social sphere of the region. Another important objective is arrangement of conditions for enlarging cluster technologies application area and their further use in Kuzbass and the Russian coal industry.
Objectives of innovative production and technological development of the KCEC:
- Insuring efficient cooperation between members of the cluster including use of long-term contractual relations and subcontracts, collective marketing, partnership with scientific and educational institutions;
- Insuring large number of members, including companies with foreign investments, in order to stimulate synergetic effects that take place and evolve in the process of cluster cooperation;
- Insuring close production and functional relations, as well as opportunities of collective innovative development of cluster members not only in the cluster placement region, but also outside of it.
KCEC development strategy assumes its progressive development starting with formation of the cluster core. Formation of the cluster core will result in creation of the pilot energetic and technological complex that will deploy innovative energy- and resource-saving technologies for deep coal processing. At that, the developed project and design documentation on capital construction objects and new equipment can be later on used in Kuzbass and other coal mining regions in Russia.
KCEC major projects
As can be seen from the above, KCEC represents a structured agglomeration of CJSC «Belovskaya Mine» operative plants, projected plants and plants under construction, as well as associated service companies, scientific and educational institutions. During KCEC development, its further growth strategy stimulates increase of participants, primarily by including coal mining, processing and service companies operating on the territory of the Karakansky, Mencherepskoe and Uropskoe coal deposits, as well as by including of financial and investment institutions, mass-media and non-commercial organizations.