Kuznetsk Basin, coal basin, c.10,000 sq mi (25,900 sq km), W Siberian Russia, between the Kuznetsk Alatau and the Salair Ridge. Its abbreviated name is Kuzbas. With extensive coal deposits, particularly of high-grade coking coal, the Kuznetsk Basin was second only to the Donets Basin of Ukraine in Soviet regional coal production. The main fields are around Anzhero-Sudzhensk, Kemerovo, Leninsk-Kuznetski, Kiselevsk, and Prokopyevsk. The first iron-smelting works were founded in 1697. Coal deposits were discovered in 1721 and first mined in 1851. The area's industries grew rapidly in the late 19th cent., and new heavy industry was started from 1930 to 1932 when the Ural-Kuznetsk industrial combine was formed. With major plants at Novokuznetsk, the Kuznetsk industrial region (c.27,000 sq mi/69,900 sq km) produces iron and steel, zinc, aluminum, heavy machinery, and chemicals. Ores were brought from E Siberia for processing, and during World War II the basin's industrial importance was surpassed only by that of the Urals. Strikes by Kuznetsk and Donets Basin coal miners in 1989 and 1990 weakened the Gorbachev government and crippled the USSR's industries.
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