Kuzbass coal basin with 58 mines is situated in Kemerovo Oblast in Siberia, Russia, and the coal sector is the region’s main economic driver. Kuzbass provides 76 per cent of the 240 million tonnes of coal Russia currently exports per year .
As the mines are situated close to populated centres, rather than in less populated areas, for the coal industry the position is profitable in terms of infrastructure – including roads, railways, electricity grid; in terms of available water resources, as well as labour .
The coal mines of Kuzbass are not backfilled. Backfilling is when materials such as rock, subsoil, industrial slag and coal waste - which has been removed in the mining process, are placed into the void created by earlier coal extraction. Without backfilling, a much greater area of land is destroyed in order to extract coal .
70-80 per cent of mining in Kuzbass is opencast threatening the health of those who live nearby, as well as the surrounding environment, with air, water, soil, daily explosions and noise pollution .
For the indigenous Shors of Chuvashka - a Turkic ethnic group native to Kemerovo Oblast living around the Kuzbass mines – as well as many of the area’s other inhabitants – this has led to displacement and the unremitting erosion of a life built around hunting, fishing and gathering. As heavy industry has affected every part of the landscape – from the mines themselves to transport infrastructure, electricity wires and water pipes, waste mounds and contaminated waters – whole villages have disappeared .
The coal dust that turns the snow black in the Chuvanshka and the surrounding villages comes from the opencast mines that environmental activists say have had disastrous consequences for the health of the residents . The dust contains a variety of dangerous heavy metals, including arsenic and mercury, environmental activists of Ecodefense say. Environmental problems are exacerbated by the practice of loading coal on to open train cars for export, with wind and rain depositing dust on towns and rivers along the rail tracks .
“It’s harder to find white snow than black snow during the winter”, a member of the Ecodefense environmental group, said. “There is a lot of coal dust in the air all the time. When snow falls, it just becomes visible. You can’t see it the rest of the year, but it is still there.” 
Chuvashka is the last Shor village in the district. Its residents fear it will suffer the same fate as other Shor villages which historically have been wiped out by mining .
In 1971 the mine began operating on the banks of the river Mras-Su. 150 households in the village of Kurya were displaced, many of them moving to Chuvashka. Furthermore, living conditions in the nearby Shore village Kazas also became unbearable. Sicknesses increased. The fresh water streams where people retrieved water and caught fish were undrinkable. Coal dust coated their garden vegetables .
Explosions became the soundtrack to their lives. The mining company even set up a checkpoint at the entrance to the village back then. When Kazas eventually vanished in 2012, some of its survivors also moved less than two kilometres away to Chuvashka , a village with a population of only 199, today .
According to a resident of Chuvashka:
"I used to collect plants from the taiga, including Kolba, a wild onion with nutrients which keeps us healthy in winter. Now I buy them at the market. We used to eat deer, rabbits and bear from the forest. These animals are no longer here. I don’t want to go into the forest anymore because it is so impoverished".
"The Shors are children of nature, completely in tune with the land. We believe that the forests, rivers, mountains, plants and soil all have souls. But mining has destroyed all of this and so destroyed our culture." 
In May 2015, a submission to the United Nations (UN) by the Danish-based International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), the local NGO “Revival of Kazas and the Shor people”, and the Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology (INFOE), highlighted the consequences exacted on the Shors by coal mining:
“The encroachment of mining onto indigenous peoples’ lands has brought devastation, relocation, dispossession, desecration of sacred sites and homelessness to the Shor community of Kazas, Kemerovo Oblast. It has also caused the destruction or decay of other Shor communities, such as the village of Kurya, and threatens the future of other Shor settlements, in particular Chuvashka, putting the very survival of the Shor language and culture at risk” .
Another resident of Chuvashka stated:
"When the wind blows after an explosion you can see the pollution in the atmosphere. The explosions, the pollution and the chemicals are damaging us. It concentrates in our organs, you can’t see all the toxins, only the dust."
“If the mining companies have their way, Chuvashka will be destroyed"
In 2016, protests were held and focused on the government’s yet another attempt to open a new destructive coal mine. The process of the project included tactics such as the forcible take-over of agricultural lands. Activists and residents, took the case to the court . With the help of lawyers from the Team 29, the landowners prevailed in court, putting a stop to yet another destructive coal mine. “The court agreed to our demands and declared the property sale permits illegal,” said Ivan Pavlov of Team 29 and Ecodefense activists. “We succeeded in stopping degradation of the local environment.” The victory gave activists hope that their struggle is entering a new phase where environmental and health concerns prevail over the business interests that have degraded the region’s environment for far too long .
Ecodefense, an environmental group campaigning against coal mining across Russia, welcomed the cour's decision. The group’s co-chairman, says the verdict will help “defend the rights of local people against coal companies that are turning beautiful nature into a desert” .
Then in 2017, about 200 local villagers blocked the work of coal miners from “Sibugol” company, which is part of SDS – one of Russia’ biggest coal mining companies. Activists arrived in about 100 cars that were then used to blockade access to the site of a proposed new open-pit mine. While police arrived on the request of the company, no one was arrested as the coal company couldn’t prove that it had a license for the mine. With the blockade in place and the police refusing to take action, work mine was stopped and has not restarted. With growing demands to stop uncontrolled mining near villages and agricultural lands there are plans to protest against the impacts of the coal industry in the administrative center of Kuzbass .
According to the Bellona Foundation, the complaints in the Kuzbass on pollution from coal mining are becoming related to Russia's contribution to climate change. Coal mining should be reduced for local and global reasons.