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Mining limestone at 'Sacred' Kushtau Hill, Russia

Mining at 'Sacred' Kushtau hill in the Southern Ural was successfully stoped after collective action protests. The site is designated as a protected area.


Kushtau Hill is a shihan hill located in the  Souther Ural,  Republic of  Bashkortostan, Russia. Kushtau (Bashkir: Ҡуштау — «twin mountain») – is located in Ishimbaysky District along with Sterlitamak city's border. The mountain is a reef of an ancient tropical sea of the Lower Permian period (Late Paleozoic), formed over 230 million years ago. As the hill is  high socio-cultural and environmental value, local people call it a sacred hill [1][2]. This is especially true, for the local Bashkir people, as the hills for them are steeped in tradition [3].  Every hill has a personal lyrical name and it is believed that the mountains protect the landscape and the residents from big shocks and upheavals [5].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Mining limestone at 'Sacred' Kushtau Hill, Russia
Country:Russian Federation
State or province:Republic of Bashkortostan
Location of conflict:Kushtau Hill
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Specific commodities:Limestone
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Limestone is a carbonate sedimentary rock that is often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, foraminifera, and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3).

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Level of Investment:39,445,169 [6] only in 2020 for modernization of the mining and production
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:03/08/2020
End of the conflict:27/08/2020
Company names or state enterprises:Bashkir Soda Company (BSK) from Russian Federation
Relevant government actors:Governer of the Republic decided that the mining will not take place on Kushtau Hill because the BSC mining company brings destabilization to the Republic [3].
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Mine tailing spills
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Land demarcation
Project cancelled
Protected area status
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:A huge victory against Bashkir Soda mining Company (BSC) and a call for Kushtau Hill to be declared as a protected area. The project has been stopped.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Radio Liberty 2020. The Battle For Russia's Kushtau Hill
[click to view]

[6] Government of the Republic of Bashkortostan (2016): Russia's major soda ash producer undergoes large-scale reconstruction
[click to view]

[2] The Moscow Times: Mining at 'Sacred' Russian Hill Halted After Protests, Clashes
[click to view]

[5] Greenpeace 2020: Long live Kushtau mountain and its defenders
[click to view]

[3] Kushtau Hill In Russia's Bashkortostan To Get Protected Status - Regional Head
[click to view]

[4] open democracy 2020: These hills are ours
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:KH ICTA-UAB ENVJUST project
Last update13/10/2020
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