Gubkin is justifiably called the “jewel of Kursk Magnetic Anomaly”and its mining capital, because the city plays an important role in the history of the development of the whole Kursk-Belgorod iron-ore basin.
The first written records about Kursk iron ore date back to the XVII century. According to the historic documents, the merchants of Belgorod established the companies to mine ore in “the Province of Belgorod” more than 200 years ago. Obviously, at those times it was possible to explore only the ore outcropped in ravines and hollows and washed out by underground waters. The mining was carried out by primitive methods, and the yields were poor.
The region attracted more attention after the anomalous and strange needle aberration was observed during the investigation of the territory. Since that time the secret of the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly (KMA) became an intriguing field of study for both Russian and foreign scientists.
The industrial development of the local deposits began in the in the early XX century. In 1924, near the village of Saltykovo (now the district of the city), geologists discovered ore deposits containing over 50 percent iron at a depth of 116.3 m. Soon after, the Lebedinskoye deposit was discovered.
In September 1931, the first Kursk Magnetic Anomaly’s exploring-and-producing mine was opened and a small settlement was built nearby, which in 1939 obtained the status of a workers settlement by the Decree of the RSFSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. The settlement was called Gubkin after academician Ivan Mikhailovich Gubkin who had superintended the work in the KMA field for 19 years. The day of the Decree (19 September) is now commemorated as the birthday of the city.
The Great Patriotic War interrupted the further industrial development of the deposits. Peaceful people had to become soldiers. 1,900 inhabitants of the young worker’s settlement went to war. In the whole district over 16,000 people rose to defend their Motherland, 9,685 of whom never returned from battlefields.
The liberated settlement of Gubkin presented a desolate sight. All buildings were destroyed to their foundations; the mine was flooded; the greater part of industrial and mining equipment was damaged beyond repair. However the most valuable thing remained intact was the people’s determination to develop the KMA treasures quickly and effectively.
The broad scale development of the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly deposits began in the 1950s. The integrated plant KMAruda - the first regional plant for the production and processing of iron ore - was established in May 1953 on the basis of the KMA mine and two plants. The development of the plant was facilitated by the appearance of a young mining town, which by the Decree of the RSFSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of 23 December 1955 has obtained the status of a town under district jurisdiction.
An important stage in the city’s development was the opening of the Lebedinsky Mine where the open pit method was used for the first time in the Soviet Union to mine ore. The construction of the Lebedinsky Mine was proclaimed a Komsomolskaya Stroika (Youth Building Project), and over 5,000 of young men and women arrived in the young town.
The town grew very quickly. On the 7th of March 1960, Gubkin obtained the status of the city of oblast subordination under the Decree of the RSFSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.
The fast development of the mining industry and the substantial increase of the city’s population resulted in the reorganization of the farming sector which became more concentrated and specialised. In 1965, the Gubkin District was formed, where later major work was carried out in order to construct new agricultural complexes and processing plants.
The 1970s and 1980s became a new stage in the development of the mining industry in the region.
1972 witnessed the launch of the first start-up facilities of the Lebedinsky mining and processing plant (LGOK) with an annual capacity of 7.5 million tons of ore. In 1978, LGOK incorporated the Lebedinsky mine which previously had been a part of the integrated plant KMAruda.
The last decades of the XX century witnessed the most intensive development of the city.
In the 1980s, along with the ongoing construction in the city centre, the city began the construction of the new residential estate Zhuravliki with integral infrastructure.
In the 1990s, the city and the district concentrated efforts on the construction of community facilities. New schools, recreation centres and medical facilities were commissioned, public services and facilities were developed in the city and villages.
Nowadays Gubkin is a modern beautiful city, one of the industrial centres of Belgorod Oblast, with rich cultural traditions and the developed infrastructure. The city is the administrative centre of Gubkin urban district with population of 120,000 people.
The economy of the territory is based on the ore mining industry, construction companies, agricultural and primary processing industries.
Ore mining yields the main volume of turn out products.
The Lebedinsky mining and processing plant (Lebedinsky GOK) is one of ten major global companies mining iron ore and manufacturing high quality raw materials for ferrous metal industry. The plant provides approximately one third part of total Russian export of materials for steelmaking.
The Lebedinsky GOK has been featured in the Guinness Book of World Records twice: as the company developing the iron ore deposits of unique capacity (in place reserves - 8.1 billion tons; expected reserves - 20.2 billion tons) and as the company with the largest quarry for the production of nonflammable mineral resources.
The raw materials source of the plant is iron formations of Lebedinsky and Stoilo-Lebedinsky deposits of iron ore in the KMA. The resources are so extensive that they guarantee the continuous work of the plant for over 250 years.
Due to its highest quality and ecological cleanness, the production of the plant is in great demand both in Russia and abroad.
The Lebedinsky GOK was the first Russian plant to build the production facilities for the manufacture of hot briquetted iron (HBI) In 2007, the second phase of the construction of the HBI workshop was finished. After the commissioning, the plant became one of the world major manufacturers of hot briquetted iron. Today, the plant leads in its sector in the field of the implementation of the state-of-the-art automated process control systems.
The plant has the certificate of conformity to the international standard of environmental safety. It was also the first in Belgorod Oblast to obtain a document certifying the correspondence of the plant’s labour safety system to the applicable regulatory requirements.
The Lebedinsky GOK is the best taxpayer in the oblast and has been twice awarded the “Golden Certificate of Trust.” The plant is an active participant of international trade fairs and exhibitions. The plant’s expositions have many times won prestigious national and international awards. In 2007, the the Lebedinsky GOK’s quality management system was certified as conforming to the international standards, which demonstrates the high quality of the plant management and products and guarantees the further success of the plant in the market.
The long-term perspectives of the plant provide for the improvement of industrial and financial performance and expansion of its position in the metallurgic materials market.
Kombinat KMAruda OJSC (Integrated Plant KMAruda) was the first to develop the valuable resources of the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly. The plant, which celebrated its 55th anniversary in May 2008, is now a leader in the national mining industry.
The plant is focused on the intensive upgrading of its equipment and the improvement of production processes. The plant employees follow the principles of sustainable exploitation of natural resources and environment protection. A large part of wastes from ore beneficiation is stored in abandoned mine chambers.
The administration of the plant focuses on the improvement of labour and living environment and the solution of social issues - the recreation center “Gornyak” and a spa resort (the only one in the oblast) welcome their guests.
The plant has won several times the title of the “Best Taxpayer of the Oblast” and has been awarded the “Golden Certificate of Trust.” The plant is the award winner of the VI Russian National Competition “Russian Organization of High Social Efficiency” in the category “Mining Industry.”
The following companies successfully operate their businesses in the territory of Gubkin urban district: LebGOK-EERZ LLC, LebGOK-RMZ LLC, KMArudoremont CJSC, Zavod ZhBI LLC, Zavod silikatnogo kirpicha LLC (Cilica Brick Plant), JV Ruslaim CJSC, Dorstroymaterialy OJSC, Gubkinsky myasokombinat OJSC (Gubkinsky Meat Processing Plant), Khlebny Dom LLC (Bread House), Troitsk OJSC Kontskorma etc.
The municipality has a significant agricultural potential - 115,000 ha of land property. The agricultural activities comprise several areas: horticulture, dairy farming, bovine cattle and hog breeding. With each passing year, the material and technical resources of local businesses are becoming more extensive; new productive capacities are being build and the vehicle fleet is upgraded on a regular basis. The local agricultural businesses has shifted to energy-saving technologies, which has become possible due to the application of high-efficiency equipment, wide-coverage cultivating machines and modern agricultural methods of cultivation.
The livestock sector facilitates the implementation of the state-of-the-art methods of cattle management and production. The dairy farms of the district rank among the most efficient in Belgorod Oblast.
The investments in the construction of animal agribusiness facilities with innovative closed-cycle technologies have been very successful. A good example is the Group of Companies Gubkinagroholding consisting of several companies of various profiles. Together, the companies form the production chain “from field to shop.” The Gubkinsky Meat Processing Plant which is one of the major companies of the agricultural holding has won the award of the “100 Best Products of Russia” competition nine times.
The high-quality and ecologically clean production of the Gubkinagroholding Group of Companies has won 3 gold medals in the 8th Russian Agro-Industrial Exhibition “Golden Autumn.”
The farm businesses “Skorodnyanskoye”, “Troitskoye” and “Nikanorovskoye” rank among the 300 top manufacturers of agricultural products of Russia. V.I. Zolotukhin, S.I. Romanko and N.I. Forafonov, the directors of the companies within the Administration Company Gubkinagroholding CJSC (namely, Skorodnyanskoye OJSC and Nikanorovskoye CJSC), have been given the prestigious award - Twice Hero of Socialist Labour V.Ya. Gorin Prize - in recognition of the high achievements of their staff.
The implementation of the priority national project “Agribusiness Industry Development” facilitates the strengthening of agricultural companies and the development of private ancillary farms, farm households and agricultural consumer co-operatives, and facilitates the availability of subsidized and long-term loans. All the above achievements, in addition to the substantial economic benefits, guarantee the creation of jobs, the improvement of the social infrastructure of rural areas and living standards of rural communities.
Striving for the further social and economical development of their region, the local government bodies focus on the growth of the construction sector. The National Project “Affordable and Comfortable Housing for Russian Citizens” provides another motivation for the additional increase of the speed of housing construction. In 2007, residential houses with a total area of 64.14 thousand square meters were commissioned, including private houses with a total area of 38.80 thousand square meters and apartment houses with a total area of 25.30 thousand square meters.
Many new socially significant facilities are commissioned annually. The private housing construction districts are actively developing their infrastructures - gas, water and power supply utilities and hard surface roads.
The hypermarket “Linia,” shopping center “Atrium” and the shopping and leisure center “Europe” have been built in the residential district Zhuravliki. The total area of the commissioned shopping and leisure centres is approximately 5,000 square metres.
The construction of sports facilities is now in the focus of attention. In the last few years, the following sports complexes have been commissioned: the sports centre “Kristall” (Crystal) which includes the Sports Palace with the ice rink and the multi-purpose gym, the stadium and the state-of-the-art tennis courts; the sports centre “Gornyak” (Miner) which includes the partially covered stadium for 7,000 seats, field-and-track area, shooting range, gyms for wrestling, boxing, weight-lifting and choreography, the chess club, hotel and library. In 2006, the swimming-pool “Dolphin” was reopened after the reconstruction, and in 2007 the specialized Football School for Children and Young People moved in new premises.
Due to the availability of these magnificent sports facilities, 25,000 residents (20%) of Gubkin are nowadays engaged in 39 types of sports activities. Modern sports facilities are capable of hosting the competitions on both the national and international levels.
The community of Gubkin is proud of the achievements of its sportsmen. The Football Club “Gubkin,” which won the Cup of Russia among the amateur teams, nowadays is successfully performing in the Russian Football Championship in the Division II of the “Centre” zone. In 2006, the Russian Football Association awarded A.A. Kovalev, the head of the local administration of Gubkin and Gubkin District, with the certificate in the category “For the Contribution to the Development of Football.” In 2010, the Gubkin football team was second among the other teams of the Division II.
Wrestlers, boxers, track and field athletes, multi-sport racers and other sportsmen have been very successful, too.
In the last few years, 12 orthodox churches have been constructed and refurbished in Gubkin district. The Spiritual Leisure Musical Centre in the name of Saint Bishop Ioasaph of Belgorod was established, which will facilitate the further revival of national traditions and culture.
The administration of Gubkin urban district provides regular monitoring of the progress in the performance of the plans for the comprehensive site improvement of the city and rural settlements. The improvements are being performed on the basis of the comprehensive approach: the roads are being widened, the worn out street curbs are being replaced and the new sidewalks are made from the high quality cement and sand panels. Gubkin was the first in the region to finish this work in the high-rise development residential districts and to start the cleanup in courtyards, which provided the better life environment.
It should be noted that all newly constructed or refurbished budget facilities come into service only after the comprehensive landscaping and site improvement is completed.
Due to the performed improvement of the city and rural areas, the community of Gubkin has been many times named the winner of the regional and national review competitions, and has been awarded the titles “The Most Comfortable Area of the Belgorod Oblast” and “The Most Comfortable City of Russia.” Currently, the works are being carried out to repair the facades of residential buildings and public facilities and roofs, to clean up the entrance premises, to landscape the city and rural areas. Old trees are being removed and new greenery is being planted; the lawns are being constructed with rock gardens, rockeries, flower beds and decorative compositions. The most popular are the floristic sculptures and hanging gardens on metallic structures, which are highly appreciated both by the local community and visitors.
The city and rural communities are successfully implementing the road building programme which demanded the construction of several specialized companies, the reconstruction of coating plants and the purchase of modern equipment, road-building machinery and specialized vehicles. The road building industry has now become highly efficient and capable of performing the scheduled work load without engaging nonresident contractors.
In accordance with the programme of water supply to rural settlements, the water supply wells, water stations, water distribution systems and iron removal plants are being built. The plant for the disinfection of waste water by ultraviolet has been commissioned in order to improve ecology and the health and disease control of the Gubkin region. The active work on the development of springs and wells is being carried out with the assistance of the local communities.
The Gubkin urban district authorities render to the community all basic types of the social services. In accordance with the federal and regional legislation, the benefits and social guarantees are provided to welfare recipients and socially unprotected members of the community. In order to improve the life of physically challenged people, the social taxi service has been established. All pensioners and welfare recipients were allowed to use the social travel card.
The “Social Store” appeared in the city to attend to the needs of welfare recipients and pensioners of Gubkin.
One of the priority goals in the work of the local government bodies is providing support to the family, mothers and children. Low-income families receive welfare assistance; special events are organized in order to promote family values and traditions.
From year to year, the medical treatment facilities in Gubkin urban district are becoming more numerous and improved. The branch of the child health center has been built in the residential district Zhuravliki. The Gubkin health centre was provided with state-of-the-art equipment and commissioned after the reconstruction. The refurbished building of the health centre in the residential district Lebedi welcomes those who need medical help. The main seven-storey building with wards for one and two patients and the new surgical building (2010) were build for the central district hospital. In response to the requests of the community, the orthodox church in the name of Blessed Xenia of Petersburg was built with amazing speed. The church has become a new department of the hospital - the department of spiritual and rehabilitation treatment.
The rural public health services are also provided with the improved material and technical base. The overhaul repairs are being carried out in the existing hospitals. At the same time many new hospitals and medical and obstetrical stations are being built. The region is implementing the programmes aimed at the improvement of health services, disease prevention and protection of mothers and children. The national project “Health” provides the actual content of these programmes. Medical treatment facilities receive new diagnostic equipment and technique, which allows the prevention, early identification and efficient treatment of diseases, as well as provides additional periodic health examinations.
Gubkin is a major cultural and scientific centre of Belgorod Oblast.
The following educational establishments work in the city: the institute of the Moscow State Open University, the branch of the Belgorod Technological University, the representative office of the Moscow State University of Service, the Mining and the Music Colleges, two vocational schools, two music schools and one art schools for children.
All educational institutions organize their activities in accordance with the mission of the priority national project “Education.” The material and technical base of the institutions is upgraded on a yearly basis, providing necessary conditions for effective educational and development work. In 2007 all general education institutions were equipped with modern computers and broadband access to the Internet.
The supplementary education institutions are being successfully developed and are now attended by over 80% of urban and rural schoolchildren.
The pre-school educational institutions focus on the creation of the favourable environment to efficiently solve educational, correctional and pedagogical and health and recreation tasks.
Gubkin has rich cultural traditions which become stronger with every passing year. The cultural and recreation centres host 271 artistic community groups.
Cultural and artistic professionals do their best to preserve the cultural heritage of their native region, to contribute to its intellectual wealth and develop the popular art. Concerts, competitions, festivals and exhibitions are an essential part of Gubkin’s life.
Creative teams from Gubkin - laureates and winners of national and international competitions - are famous not only in their oblast but also far beyond its limits.
A significant part of the cultural centres’activities is the study of the national traditions of their region. The researches made it possible to reconstruct some historical events, make the map of traditions and ancient rites. A new tradition has appeared - now the communities celebrate the Festivals of Villages, usually on Patron Saint's Days. Prominent folkloristic and ethnographic artistic groups arrive to perform during the festivals.
Approximately 1,500 students attend the children’s schools of music and art which do a great job uncovering children’s natural talent and teaching them to love art and beauty.
The libraries of Gubkin are constantly developing their services to render to the community. New model libraries and centres of legal information start their work.
The recreation and culture centres play a very important role in the spiritual revival of the Gubkin community. Nowadays 554 social clubs with more than 13,000 members work in the premises of the municipal district.
The theatre for children and young people provides much help in the promotion of culture among the district’s community.
The local history museum displays over 15,000 artefacts and documents in the main and scientific funds. The memorial and cultural complex dedicated to Decembrist V.F. Raevsky is the branch of the historical museum in the village of Bogoslovka.
Many glorious deeds of the people of Gubkin and important events in the city’s history are commemorated in monuments and memorial plates. In the Park of Fallen Heroes a memorial was erected as a tribute to the warriors who were killed when liberating the city from the fascist occupants in 1943. In the open-air museum “Glory of Miners” the visitors can see the commemorative sign in honor of the KMAstroy workers who did not return from the war. On the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Victory in Great Patriotic War, a unique memorial was erected near the Bobrovy Dvory village - the Monument to the Widow and Mother of a Soldier. To memorialize the deeds of the Heroes of the Soviet Union and full Cavaliers of the Order of Glory, the community set the memorial busts in the Alley of Heroes in the central park of their home city in the year of the 60th Anniversary of the Great Victory.
The residents of Gubkin love their home city and are justly proud of their clean, comfortable and beautiful city with the amazing Transfiguration (Spaso-Preobrazhensky) Cathedral, the second largest cathedral that has been recently erected in Russia. Among other wonderful attractions of the city are the children’s amusement park “Chudo-Yudo-Grad” and the state-of-the-art sports facilities.
The community of Gubkin will continue to successfully implement priority National Projects and the Governor’s Programme of the improvement of living conditions on the basis of the efficient use of their material and technical, investment and natural resources and intellectual, spiritual and cultural potential.