Coal-mining basin and industrial region in the Kemerovo oblast (region) of southern Siberia, in the Russian Federation. It is the second-largest source of deep-mined coal in the Russian Federation and one of the largest in the world. The Kuzbas lies between the two mountain spurs – the Salair ridge and the Kuznetsky Alatau – that branch off north and northwest from the main Altai range. The basin is traversed by the River Tom. Coal-bearing seams here extend over an area of 26,700 sq km/10,309 sq mi, and reach to a depth of 1,800 m/5,905 ft, while the whole industrial area of the Kuznetsk Basin covers some 70,000 sq km/27,027 sq mi. Overall coal deposits are estimated at 725 billion tonnes. Iron ore is also found in this region, near Salair. The principal city of the Kuznetsk Basin is Novokuznetsk.
Local tribes had worked the iron-ores in the Kuznetsk Basin since prehistoric times; the first Russian iron-smelting works was built in 1697, and commercial lead- and silver-smelting operations commenced in the 1780s. Coal deposits were found in 1721, and first used for iron smelting in 1827. Large-scale industrial coal mining began in 1851, and was lent further impetus by the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway and by World War I. Major industrial development began in 1930, when the region became part of the Ural-Kuznetsk Combine; large production plants (for iron and steel, zinc, and chemicals) and power stations were established at this time. During World War II, the Kuzbas was the second industrial base driving the nation's war effort (after the Urals); old industries were greatly expanded and new ones developed (aluminium smelting, engineering). After the war, the area's industrial capacity continued to expand, as the iron and steel industry started to exploit the local Shoria and Khakass iron-ore deposits in place of ore from the Urals. However, high-grade Kuzbas coal, some 42–45% of which is used for coking, is still transported to the Urals in large quantities.