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Investments against staff shortages

How to create hundreds of jobs and satisfy staff hunger?

Large investment projects in the Far East risk facing a shortage of qualified personnel. The launch of new enterprises and the expansion of existing ones will require specialists who have never been trained by Far Eastern universities and souz. Polymetal has its own recipe for solving this non-trivial task.

Investments against staff shortages
Photo: polymetalinternational


Polymetal is the second largest gold producer in Russia. In the Khabarovsk Territory, the company's enterprises account for 44% of all gold mining and production (in 2019 - 14,4 tons). Today the company is represented in the region by the Albazino Resources Mining and Processing Plant (Polina Osipenko District), the Amur Hydrometallurgical Plant (Amur District) and the Svetloye Gold Mining Enterprise (Okhotsk District). Plus Polymetal has development projects in its portfolio. Among them are the development of the Kutynskoye field in the Tuguro-Chumikansky region and the construction of the second line of the Amursk MMC. Both investment projects are included in the development strategy of the Khabarovsk Territory until 2030. As a result, it is planned to create 1200 new jobs.


Only for the second line of AGMK, which will be built by mid-2023, four hundred new specialists will be needed. It is not easy to find them in the 39-thousandth Amursk. Until 2012, there were no gold mining enterprises here at all. Moreover, such modern and automated ones as AGMK, which was the first in Russia to start processing refractory ores using the advanced autoclave technology of gold oxidation. Today, the enterprise receives concentrate from several gold deposits in Russia and Kazakhstan at once, becoming a powerful technological hub in the Far East. And in three years, processing of twice refractory ores will more than double gold production. For a unique production, specialists with basic training are required.



This summer, 50 students from 18 Russian educational institutions underwent practical training at Polymetal's Khabarovsk enterprises. However, the Irkutsk National Research Technical University remains the basic university for Khabarovsk residents. It is difficult to lure students from Novosibirsk, Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk to the Far East. Siberia is a traditional fiefdom of the region's gold mining enterprises. After the second or third year students are assigned to them. Therefore, Khabarovsk residents have to feed on students from Irkutsk, which is geographically closer to the Far East.

In the Khabarovsk Territory itself, there are few specialized educational institutions that are directly related to the mining industry and metallurgy of non-ferrous metals. But the changes are already visible. In 2021, Komsomol State University will begin recruiting for two new bachelor training profiles: "Mineral processing" and "Process control in the mining and metallurgical industries." There will be 25 and 33 budget places in the faculties of "Mechanics and Chemical Technology" and "Energy and Management", respectively.

In addition, the Soviet-Gavan Industrial and Technological College is now undergoing licensing of a new direction of training - "Metallurgy of non-ferrous metals". This means that another forge of personnel for gold miners will appear in the region.



Gold miners need not only university graduates, but also people with working specialties. And in large numbers. It is not only about repairmen, electric and gas welders, compressor operators, instrumentation and automation fitters, electrical fitters for equipment repair and others. We also need apparatchiks-hydrometallurgists, who were not trained in the Far East before. There was simply nowhere to get this profession. Today, a person can get a job at the Amur MMC without special education and undergo training in three months. After that, work as a certified fourth-class specialist, gaining invaluable experience in working with modern equipment. How is this possible?

The fact is that the lack of qualified specialists with practical skills in working at specific enterprises leads big business to the need to build its own system of professional training. For example, Polymetal has created its own Training Center in Amursk, where specialists are trained for the company's enterprises in the Far East region. And this, in addition to the Amursk MMC, Prognoz-Silver, Albazino Resources, Svetloye, Kutynskaya GGK and others.

The center is certified and licensed by the regional ministry of science and education. Training is carried out in 71 training programs, including 50 in professions, 21 in various courses. For each program, detailed educational and methodological materials are specially developed with reference to a specific production.

The pace of learning in the center is growing. If in 2016 91 employees were trained here, then in 2020 - more than a thousand people. 200 people undergo retraining at the center every month.



Sergey Zherevchuk is one of those who have already gone through the Training Center. By education, he is a teacher, a teacher of mathematics, who decided to radically change his life and try his hand at industrial production.

“I got my first education as a mathematics teacher in Komsomolsk,” says Sergey. - I worked for several years in a small village school, after which, together with my family, they decided to move to Amursk - to their small homeland. While working at school, I was interested in work at the AMMC. They accepted me without preconditions and examinations as a sampler to the section for cleaning circulating solutions, and after two months they sent me to advanced training courses for the fourth grade.

I was lucky with the teacher, conveyed information in an accessible and easy-to-understand form. In addition to mastering specific skills, I gained a good understanding of the overall technological process of the entire plant - from primary processing of raw materials to obtaining the final product. This is essential for engineering growth. Perhaps mathematics education played a role, but one way or another, even before the end of the course, I was invited for an internship in the production and technical department. This is a completely different level. It is necessary to carry out calculations, make forecasts of the course of the production process, make non-standard decisions. I only came to AGMK last year, and today I already work as a dispatcher. Such a story of growth could not be told by me alone, it is the result of the educational system and career lift built in the company. This year, again at the expense of the company, I entered the correspondence department of the Komsomolsk-on-Amur State University. This is my next logical step in engineering.



The modern mining industry requires serious educational training, a deep understanding of technological processes and the ability to work with innovative equipment. In addition to theoretical training, a student of the Polymetal Training Center undergoes a large practical block under the guidance of an experienced specialist at one of the company's enterprises where he works.

- We do not have the opportunity to distract the master-mentors from their work for a considerable time, therefore, it is reasonable to give part of the educational material in correspondence format. On the other hand, this should not affect the quality of training, - emphasizes Alena Vysotskaya, head of the Polymetal Training Center in Amursk.

This year, the center began to apply a new teaching format. Introduce the so-called electronic educational environment - record blocks of video courses, prepare presentation materials with stereo comments, interactive elements for the theoretical part of the educational program For each topic - several lessons lasting 10–20 minutes. Further, a consultation with a mentor is held, where the listener can ask questions of interest. At the end of each topic, the student is asked to complete test tasks. And only after a successful midterm certification, he will have access to the new topic of the training course.

This format allows employees to undergo training at a convenient time for him, listen to or view the material of interest several times. By studying an electronic educational course, an employee can gradually immerse himself in the profession, and most importantly, independently plan and control his learning process.



In order not to stop the development of the mining industry in the Far East, big business will have to satisfy the staff shortage. Both our own educational projects and external ones aimed at cooperation with higher and secondary educational institutions can help in this. Large companies cannot do without mass training of specialists, given the large-scale investments in the region. Polymetal intends to invest 26 billion rubles in the second line of the Amursk MMC alone, and increase the number of jobs at the plant from 500 to 900 people. The cost of educational projects can be regarded as a long-term investment in business development.


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