Vladimir Putin congratulated coal mining industry workers on Miners’ Day at a gala evening held at the State Kremlin Palace. Russia’s miners celebrate their professional holiday on the last Sunday of August.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,

I congratulate you on this occasion. Your professional holiday coincides with two significant dates this year: 295 years since coal mining began in Russia, and the 70th anniversary of this professional holiday, Miners’ Day, which we have celebrated all these years, showing our particular respect for this difficult work.

Russia’s vast and diverse mineral wealth has historically made it a leader in the global mining industry. Coal is one of the great gifts our land offers, with reserves sufficient for more than 500 years.

Miners’ Day was instituted as a holiday to honour the selfless labour and tremendous achievements of those working in the coal industry, which today is not just one of our national economy’s basic sectors, but is also an active and stable investor in the economy.

Last year, more than 73 billion rubles was invested in the coal industry’s development, and this year, the figure will go up to 90 billion. Investors’ money is going into modernising enterprises, spreading the use of modern, environmentally friendly technology, ensuring conditions for miners’ safe and confident work, resolving social problems in the sector, and bringing in solid orders in areas such as engineering, construction and transport.

The coal industry’s participation in carrying out major infrastructure projects helped to reinvigorate the Trans-Siberian and BAM railways and have given a boost to the development of the eastern regions in general, and the construction of big new port facilities at Ust-Luga and Vanino and the projects underway in Murmansk constitute a genuine breakthrough on the global coal market.

The coal industry’s success has a direct impact on our ability to ensure our energy security and strengthen our sovereignty. These achievements are all the result of the hard and responsible, even heroic, work put in by thousands of miners, engineers, technicians, and management staff at the coal companies, and also the result of the support from the Government and from the authorities in the main coal-mining regions. I take this occasion to note in particular the services of [Governor of the Kemerovo Region] Aman Tuleyev and his great personal contribution to the coal industry’s development.

Friends, all of the forecasts suggest that coal will remain one of our planet’s three basic energy sources for many, many decades to come. Russia, with its colossal reserves of high-quality coal and a strong coal industry, will be a leader in this sector, above all because we have people like yourselves, honest, reliable and decent people working at our companies.

Russia’s miners are a particular caste, a special breed of people, courageous and decent, true to their profession’s glorious traditions, and devoted to their country and people.

I want to thank you all for your labour, your desire to set new records and achieve new heights. I wish you good health, prosperity, and good luck in your work.

Happy holiday!