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ArticleName Nickel Group and Its role in the history of soviet non-ferrous metals industry
DOI 10.17580/tsm.2022.07.13
ArticleAuthor Vedernikov V. V.

Saint Petersburg Mining University, Saint Petersburg, Russia:

V. V. Vedernikov, Lead Researcher at the Museum of Mining, Doctor of Historical Sciences, e-mail:


The work undertaken by the research team Nickel Group, which was active at the Leningrad Mining Institute during the period of the first Five-Year Plans and the 2nd World War, played a major role in establishing the production of high-quality additives for armour and shell steels in the USSR. Such additives were obtained from any substandard ores and semi-finished products using only domestic machinery. In an extremely short period of time, the Group managed to develop original processes for extracting nickel, cobalt, platinoids and molybdenum, which were absolutely unique in the world and were quickly adopted by the industry. The main source of information about the Group’s activity includes biographies of its most prominent members – N.P. Aseev, N.S. Greyver, K.F. Beloglazov, I.N. Maslenitskiy et al. Some information can also be found in the historical essays that were prepared to mark the Leningrad Mining Institute’s anniversary. The author used a wide range of materials from official and private sources, as well as from the history fund of the Museum of Mining, and he was the first to show the role of Nickel Group in the emergence of non-ferrous and rare metals industry in the USSR, which did not only come to developing state-of-the-art processes, but to also delivering trained personnel for the new vital sectors of the domestic metals industry. The paper describes the principles that Nickel Group were guided by, as well as the approaches that were used for the development and implementation of state-of-the-art technologies. The members of the Group are also described. The author pays close attention to the historical background. Thus, the author looks at the development of the mineral resources of the Soviet Arctic during the period of the first Five-Year Plans, as well as evacuation and re-evacuation of industry during the 2nd World War. All this helps present the Group’s activity in most challenging conditions of that era and appreciate its role in the Soviet industry of the 1930–1940s.

keywords 2nd World War, Leningrad Mining Institute, molybdenum, cobalt, nickel, platinoids, Five-Year Plans

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