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city and major opencut coal-mining centre in northeastern Kazakhstan, on the Ertis-Qaraghandy Canal. Coal was discovered in the region in 1876 and was mined on a small scale. Only after construction of a railway in 1953 did large-scale exploitation of Ekibastuz' rich but low-grade coal seams begin. In the 1970s Ekibastuz was the third largest coal-mining centre in the Soviet Union, but still consisted of isolated settlements, although a city centre was emerging. A regional station for the production of electrical power is located near the city to provide power for export to European Russia and to the Urals. The city has a plant for the production of reinforced concrete, a repair plant for transport and mining equipment, a dairy, a brewery, and a number of educational institutions. Pop. (1995 est.) 141,100