Case Study: developing a skilled workforce at Kupol in Russia’s far east

A well-trained workforce is critical for Kinross to operate safely and to meet our production and cost targets. By providing high-quality training for our employees, we not only improve our own success as a company, but our employees gain valuable skills that benefit them while working for Kinross and as they progress in their careers.

Kinross’ Kupol operations are located in the remote Chukotka region of northeastern Russia, 200 kilometres from the nearest town. While mining has historically been a cornerstone of the region’s economy, most of the previous mining was completed decades ago and did not employ modern technologies. Kupol, which began production in 2008, is one of only a few significant employers in the area, providing much-needed jobs at its underground mine and processing mill. In 2013, 1,500 people were employed at Kupol.

In 2008 we created an on-site training centre at the mine that helps locals acquire the skills to work at modern mining operations. Workers who complete the training receive accredited professional certifications recognized throughout Russia under a licence we sought and obtained from Chukotka’s Department of Education. Currently, we provide 36 different certificates in such careers as underground miner, filtration operator and haul truck driver.

Since the centre opened in 2008, approximately 2,000 people have been trained, and Kinross has issuedmore than 860 certificates to employees, including 67 indigenous residents of Chukotka.

Omryn Tatato, a member of the indigenous community in the Chukotka region, is one beneficiary. Just two years after he was hired as a labourer in 2011, he achieved certification as a mining equipment mechanic and now services heavy mining equipment in the truck shop. “I like knowing I can maintain the equipment,” he says, “and that in the future, I’ll be able to find a job in a truck shop like this and maintain the same kinds of equipment.”

Ivan Lesovoy talks about how his participation in the training programs has changed his career opportunities. “I came here in 2008,” he says, “and was trained to operate practically all of the mobile equipment used at the mine.” His education, he says, has been top-notch, emphasizing safety and quality through training by highly qualified instructors on state-of-the-art machinery. “I started from nothing,” Lesovoy reflects. “Now, I’ve achieved the highest qualifications, I operate the best equipment, and I am continuing to learn.” Because of that, he concludes, “I’m able to look to the future with confidence.”

For Kinross, the value of the program is measured in more than just numbers: it provides Kupol with a motivated and highly qualified workforce that is at the heart of our accomplishments, which include rising production levels and a good safety record. It also gives our people a leg up in their professional careers, equipping them with qualifications and confidence that they apply at Kupol or transfer to comparable work throughout Russia.

Kinross extended its operations within the Chukotka region with the commissioning of the Dvoinoye mine in October 2013. The certified training structure established at Kupol has now extended its reach and will fulfil Dvoinoye's training requirements of its workforce of some 800 employees. 

“I’ve achieved the highest qualifications, I operate the best equipment, and I am continuing to learn. Because of that, I’m able to look to the future with confidence”

Ivan Lesovoy, Equipment Operator, Kupol

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