International Research and Training Conference

The conference is to be arranged within the frameworks of "Baltic Sea Underground Innovation Network" (BSUIN) project of "Interreg. Baltic Sea Region" program, involving specialists from the participating countries

Report on the conference

Link to video "Challenges of Underground Space Use - Day1"

Link to video "Challenges of Underground Space Use - Day2"

International research and training conference devoted to the problems of underground space use took place on June 20 -21 in the Karelian Research Center. The conference was held under the auspices of Baltic Sea Underground Innovation Network (BSUIN) project of Iterreg Baltic Sea Region Program and gathered more than thirty specialists from seven countries willing to share their professional experience in the sphere of underground facilities.

Participants of the conference in underground Ruskeala

Participants of the conference in underground Ruskeala

Ruskeala Mining Park has been rapidly growing for already more than ten years in Karelia next to Russian-Finnish border. Recently the dense network of tourist paths has been added by one more unique route constructed in haulage adits and spacious underground chamber inside marble mountain. Successful experience of using the new underground route and multi-year research of the mining park’s territory allowed applying for participation in BSUIN project – international platform created to extend the advanced experience of underground space development. Actually, that was the purpose of the participants of the conference – to discuss the issues of legal, financial, organizational, scientific-research and technical aspects of using mining sites.

Foreign guests got familiar with excursion route around Mramornoe (Marble) lake and Italian quarry, visiting the underground part of the mining park, within the frameworks of the workshop given to BSUIN project participants just before. Meeting the beauty of the outstanding in its history and contribution to the treasury of the world architecture marble quarry was not just a part of social program. They should see everything with their own eyes and appreciate duly the success of the first mining park in Karelia also in order to bring up to date the conference agenda and prepare the guests for discussing the experience of underground mining workings development for tourist purposes. Besides, a number of reports presented during the conference were related to scientific research of Ruskeala quarry.

Seeing the beauty of Ruskeala

Seeing the beauty of Ruskeala

The condition of underground workings is being successfully monitored and eco-balance is being maintained during two recent years by efforts of permanent scientific laboratory “RuskeaLab” based on the mining park within the borders of former mining enterprise that has turned into a popular tourist site. The report of Deputy director of the Institute of Geology, KRC RAS, conference coordinator Vitaly Shekov was devoted to the experience of using laser distance meters when estimating the stability of mining workings. In order to assess the rock movements that are invisible for the naked human eye, 15 basic stations to record laser beam on the same point were installed in the underground space of Ruskeala Mining Park. So far all the measurements taken by this method have been within the limits of error, that is, have not exceeded one and a half millimeters, and it means that Ruskeala underground workings are stable and the chance of their fall is brought down to a minimum. According to the reporter, the Institute of Geology, KRC RAS, has taken out a patent for this invention, but has not made any efforts to market this technology.

Vitaly Shekov is demonstrating how to use laser distance meters

Vitaly Shekov is demonstrating how to use laser distance meters

Using underground space is an example of a systematic problem in order to solve which it is required to involve both science and practitioners; and alteration of the reports of both is one of the peculiarities of such conferences. Anton Yushko, place marketing advisor with many years of experience, presented report on retrospective review of Ruskeala mining park development path.

Major problems of organizational development of one of mining museums were covered by the report of Margaret Faull, previously Director of National Coal Mining Museum for England, Yorkshire, England, now – Honorary President of the Network of European Coal Mining Museums. The reporter embraced both the special aspects of the national legislation, the demands it places on former mining workings, and the particular organizational and financial problems accompanying the process of establishing the museum she once headed. Works on converting the industrial site into the modern museum were carried out from January 1980 till June 1988, the total cost was 2.57 mln. pound sterling, or about 4.18 mln. euro at the exchange rate of those years, received from state coal companies. Heavy running costs of the museum facilities, that include also part of underground workings, were a great problem; but when in 1995 the museum achieved national status and special state funding was allocated, this issue receded into the background. Starting from the beginning of the XXI century, according to a new state policy, the museum has introduced free admission for all members of the public, so that the number of visitors has increased by one and a half – two times, up to 120 – 140 thousand people per year, and more than one third of them are kids and schoolchildren. Now the museum earns almost one thousand times smaller amount of money than it receives from the state for the running costs; however, along with the fact that there are some cutbacks to funding during recent years, struggle for additional money intended for development has never been stopped.

Margaret Faull, Honorary President of the Network of European Coal Mining Museums

Margaret Faull, Honorary President of the Network of European Coal Mining Museums

Marta Ajkowska-Mazur and Mateusz Gil

Marta Ajkowska-Mazur and Mateusz Gil

One of the directions of using underground space on operating mining workings of the Freiberg area in Saxony, Germany, is also visiting by tourists. Toni Müller’s report was devoted to multiple purposes use of mining facilities. Indeed, part of mine “Reiche Zeche” situated in Freiberg was allocated for visiting by tourists, and initially, starting from 1819 it has been used for educational purposes. However, as Tony supposes, both historic galleries and the preserved mining equipment, and also modern underground scientific laboratories can become tourist attractions. Considering such important advantages as depth of the mine and stability of temperature conditions at different levels of the working, the underground facilities have high economic potential contributing to dealing with an extensive range of challenges. So, water heating and utilization of electric energy and many other things – all these could be considered as one more option of preservation of the mine, keeping the possibility of resuming mineral extraction.

The subject of multifunctionality of underground mining workings was continued by Nikolay Natal'in, research manager of Leningrad Regional Non-Governmental Organization “Preservation of Nature and Cultural Heritage”. He focused on ten possible directions of using former mining workings including growing of mushrooms and cheese ripening, ensuring food preservation, wellness activities, storage of wastes, placing production facilities for close control equipment and creating the conditions for restoration of biological diversity. By the way, both an underground museum, taking the area from the first to the third levels, and halotherapeutic health resort, situated on the fifth level, have been successfully working for already more than fifty years in the Wieliczka Salt Mine. This was informed by one more reporter, Mateuz Gil, who emphasized that the museum collection of the Wieliczka mine is notable for its great variety and extending beyond geology and mining. Having various vectors of using underground space of former mining workings improves the efficiency of such sites and gives a measure of their high social implication.

Anton Yushko and Nikolay Natal'in

Anton Yushko and Nikolay Natal'in

As Toni Müller from Freiberg Mining Academy recognized, “if everything was perfect in our place (in Germany), I would not be standing here” – the mining workings that are operated by the educational institution are a heavy burden for its budget. He explained that those who work in the mine have to prove to the state authorities (that are financing their work) what for we are using this mine (despite the extremely high running costs). At the same time, Tony expressed his hope that BSUIN project as well as the other projects, that will be generated based on it and after its completion, will serve an additional and weighty argument for the demand in research and practical works performed in mine “Reiche Zeche”.

Jari Juotsenvaara, manager of the project on creating international network of underground laboratories, confirmed that conversion of mining workings, their maintenance cost a lot of money, and it is going to be one of the tasks of BSUIN project to elaborate the procedure for the estimation of expediency of costs for the organization of the development of such laboratories and work out suggestions on their optimization. Data base of underground laboratories, their location and purpose, the services they suggest and the costs of these services is being created, but it seems that now this is not the most important thing. The focus is shifting to the establishing new association – European Association of Underground Laboratories – that will allow turning episodic interactions on an occasional basis into a systemic cooperation with joint researches and student exchange.

Eija-Riitta Niinikoski and Jari Juotsenvaara

Eija-Riitta Niinikoski and Jari Juotsenvaara

Any research or research and training conference is a big event that cannot merely be consigned to reports and discussions of general problems, excursions and workshops. The most important things are happening aside of the official events when a scope of interested persons gathers around some common challenge or common problem. The initiative of Krakow Saltworks Museum in Wieliczka to organize a special committee on mining-industrial heritage issues with the International Council of Museums, ICOM, became one of the most essential results of the International conference of mining and underground museums that took place in Poland in November 2018. BSUIN international project works in the same line and its goal is to combine the efforts of scientific and research organizations for meeting the challenges of underground space use.

Photos by Kirill Shekov, Igor Khlebalin

Text by Kirill Shekov

Karelian Research Centre
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
International Research and Training Conference

Dear Colleagues!

Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences hereby invites to take part in International Research and Training Conference "Challenges of Underground Space Use", which will be held in Petrozavodsk (the Republic of Karelia) on June 20 - 21, 2019.

The conference is to be arranged within the frameworks of "Baltic See Underground Innovation Network" (BSUIN) project of "Interreg. Baltic Sea Region" program, involving specialists from the participating countries.

Purposes of the conference:

  • Discussion of legal, organizational and financial aspects of using underground mining workings for the purposes other than extraction of minerals.
  • Exchange of experience, studying of the possibilities and arrangement of the interaction between underground laboratories and mining museums.

Focus areas of the conference:

  1. Underground workings as monuments of nature and historical and cultural heritage. Historical and culturological aspect.
  2. Conversion and adaptation of underground mining workings to the purposes other than extraction of minerals. Legislative regulation and organizational aspects.
  3. Assessment of underground workings' economic potential. Various applications of underground space (scientific researches, education, museumification, recreation and etc.)
  4. Safety assurance for out-of-operation underground workings. Studying transformation of mining workings on post-technogenesis stage and under the conditions of increasing anthropogenic burden; mitigation of risks, prevention of accidents.
  5. Promotion of underground mining and industrial heritage in media landscape.

The specified list is non-exhaustive and can be added.

Working languages of the conference:: Russian, English.

Travel and living costs at the expense of the sending party.

Registration of the participants of the conference

Application forms of the participants of the conference are admitted up to and including May 17, 2019 to e-mail address:

Registration form

Should the subject of a report does not meet the focus areas of the conference, the organizing committee shall notify the participant of it on June 1, 2019 at the latest, suggesting either correcting the subject or rejecting making the report.


The International Research and Training Conference
within the frameworks of "Baltic See Underground Innovation Network" (BSUIN)
project of "Interreg. Baltic Sea Region"
June 20-21, 2019

"Challenges of Underground Space Use"

JUNE 20, 2019
9.30 – 10.00 Registration, coffee-break (room 513)
10.00 - 10.15 Opening (room 422):
Bakhmet Olga Nikolaevna, corresponding member of Russian Academy of Sciences, chairman of the Federal Research Center "Karelian Research Center RAS",
Svetov Sergey Anatolyevich, director of the Institute of geology KarRC RAN,
Jari Juotsenvaara - head of BSUIN project,
Nikolaevsky Pavel Michailovich – Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Republic of Karelia,
Artemyev Alexandr Borisovich - director of OOO Kolmas+
10.20 – 11.35 Plenary meeting
10.20 – 10.45 Amelina Tatyana Petrovna. "Mining and industrial heritage as a part of cultural heritage of the Republic of Karelia". Office of protection of cultural heritage sites of the Republic of Karelia (Russia, Petrozavodsk)
10.45 – 11.10 Tyirkina Elena Igorevna. "The situation in legislation of underground space use". Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Republic of Karelia. (Russia, Petrozavodsk)
11.10 – 11.35 Margaret Faull. "The legal, organizational and financial challenges of converting the underground spaces, as well as the surface buildings, of caphouse colliery and hope pit in Yorkshire, England, to a mining museum with public access to the underground". Network of European Coal Mining Museums (Great Britain, Yorkshire)
11.40 – 12.10 Coffee-break. (room 513)
12.10 – 13.30 Section 1 (room 422)
12.10 – 12.30 Jari Juotsenvaara. "The BSUIN project as a new approach to the solving of the problems of underground space exploitation" (Finland, Oulu)
12.30 – 12.50 Shekov Vitali Aleksandrovich. "The safety of the mining-and-industrial underground sites in touristic sector - the sources of solving the problems" (Russia, Petrozavodsk)
12.50 – 13.10 Svetov Sergey Anatolyevich. "Geological heritage of the Republic of Karelia". (Russia, Petrozavodsk)
13.10 – 13.30 Toni Muller. "Reuse of old mining areas for multiple purposes at the examples of the region of Freiberg in Saxony" (Germany, Freiberg)
13.30 – 15.00 The lunch ("Bolshoy" restaurant, Kirova str., 2)
15.00 – 17.00 Section 2 (room 422)
15.00 - 15.20 Borisov Igor Victorovich. "Underground mines of "Pitkjaranta complex" (Nothern Priladozhje)" (Russia, Karelia, Sortavalskyi district)
15.20 - 15.40 Marta Ajkowska-Mazur. "Cracow Saltworks Museum in Wieliczka" (Poland, Kracow)
15.40 - 16.00 Khlebalin Igor Yurjevich. "Activities for the study and preservation of Mamay underground mines" (Russia, Saint-Petersburg)
16.00 - 16.20 Shekov Kirill Vitaljevich. "Concerning some legislative aspects of the using of former mines in educative purposes" (Russia, Petrozavodsk)
16.20 - 16.40 Nataljin Nikolaj Alekseevich. "The experience of using the underground space for regeneration of biological diversity". (Russia, Saint Petersburg)
16.40 - 17.00 Ivanov Andrey Alekseevich, Myasnikova Oksana Vladimirovna. "The problems of the abandoned mining sites use as a source of ornamental stone". (Russia, Petrozavodsk)
Medvedeva Maria Vladimirovna, Bakhmet Olga Nikolaevna, Osipov Georgyi Andreevich. Study of microbocenoses of underground land and factors determining their ecologo-trophic structure (South Karelia, Ruskeala) (Russia, Petrozavodsk). Banner.
17.00 The festive cocktail dinner in the Museum of Precambrian geology of the Institute of geology KarRC RAS

JUNE 21, 2019
09.30 – 10.00 Coffee-break (room 513)
10.00 - 12.00 Section 3 (room 422)
10.00 – 10.20 Yushko Anton Alekseevich. "Ruskeala - scientific and creative laboratory". (Russia, Saint-Petersburg)
10.20 – 10.40 Shvetsov Ilya Anatoljevich. Marble quarry of Belaya Gora in the past, in the present and in the future. (Russia, Karelia, Kondopozhskyi district)
10.40 - 11.00 Korenkova Nina Nikolayevna. Shoksha sandstone as an identified pedagogical object (Russia, Karelia, Prionezhkyi district)
11.00 – 11.20 Nikiforov Alexander Gennadyevich. The engineering and geological estimation of mines in Karelia. (Russia, Petrozavodsk)
11.20 – 11.40 Bubnova Tatjana Petrovna. Rating system of estimation of abandoned mining space use in the touristic purposes. (Russia, Petrozavodsk)
12.00 - 13.30 Discussion and closing the Conference
13.30 - 15.00 The lunch ("Bolshoy" restaurant, Kirova str., 2)

Organizing committee of the conference

O.N. Bakhmet - doctor of biological sciences, Corresponding Member, RAS, Chairman of the Presidium of KarRC RAS, chairman of the organizing committee

S.A. Svetov - doctor of geological and mineralogical sciences, professor, director of the Institute of Geology, KarRC RAS, deputy chairman of the organizing committee

Jari Joutsenvaara - head of "Baltic Sea Underground Innovation Network" (BSUIN) project

V.V. Shchiptsov - doctor of geological and mineralogical sciences, professor, head of mineral resources laboratory of the Institute of Geology, KarRC RAS

V.A. Shekov - PhD in technical sciences, deputy director for science of the Institute of Geology, KarRC RAS,
conference coordinator


A.A. Yushko - Chairman of eco-efficient tourism commission of Leningrad branch of the Russian Geographical Society, secretary of the organizing committee

K.V. Shekov - research worker of the Institute of Geology, KarRC RAS, adviser of the organizing committee

Requirement to reports and abstracts

Application form shall include subject of the report, abstract of the report of no more than 4000 char-acters and information about the author: full name, scientific degree (if any), position and place of work/study, postal address, e-mail address, contract phone numbers, need in booking a hotel, dates of arrival and departure.

By the decision of the organizing committee of the conference the best reports of the invited experts will be recommended for publication in Russian scientific magazines-partners of Karelian Research Centre RAS. Submission requirements to scientific articles are to be sent upon requests of the participants interested in publishing their materials by Russian magazines.

Contact information of the organizers of the conference

Karelian Research Centre RAS - 185910 Petrozavodsk, Pushkinskaya Str., 11

Contact persons:

Anton Alekseevich Yushko ( +7 921 900 96 56)

Kirill Vitalievich Shekov ( +7 911 665 90 60)