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Aleksanteri Papers

Aleksanteri Papers 3:2000
Vesa Rautio:
The Management of Modernisation of Mining Communities in Northwestern Russia - Theorising the process and local reactions


The mining sector has been automated and robotised very rapidly during the last few decades. The organisation of work, schedules and housing has been modernised from the traditional modes of industrial society toward more flexible modes of the information society. The socio-spatial structures of communities and entire regions are changing because of the abandonment of the on-site mining town concept, increasing robotisation and advanced communications.

This paper presents a research project which aims at anticipating the social impacts of the modernisation of mining and metal production on communities and employees. The research is based on the case study method. The research has been carried out in two communities, Nikel and Zapolyarnyj, in 1998-1999. In the main, the research project aims at analysing the willingness of local people to adapt to the socio-economic changes caused by sophisticated technology and modernisation. Finally, the project investigates various options of relocating redundant employees.

The experiences of the mine modernisation indicate that regional policy measures are a successful way to relieve the problems of modernisation (and closures) when a community is an integrated part of the existing settlement structure. In other words, the diversification of the economic base of a community is successful if the community is not located in an environment which is very poorly accessible or otherwise extreme.

The research has been carried out taking into consideration that different actors, such as the state, the company itself, the local community and employees, play different roles in this modernisation process. These roles and interests have been investigated through empirical research in order to understand the degree of acceptance of modernisation by the local community and employees.

The aim of this project is to create new theories for the management of industrial restructuring. The open question is which kind of modernisation model would be suitable specifically for the Russian conditions.