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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
In pictures: Khodorkovsky's frozen assets
Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev
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The case against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev is coming to a climax. The affair revolves around alleged irregularities in the 1994 privatisation of fertiliser firm Apatit, based in Russia's inhospitable far north.
Apatit mine
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The Khibin mountains, reckoned to be the oldest range in Europe, hide a vast amount of minerals.
The town of Kirovsk
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Apatit was founded in 1929 to exploit the Khibin range's mineral wealth. Its mines were built by prisoners.
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After 75 years of exploration, the central open-cast mine reached as deep as 350 metres.
Explosion in the mine
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The bedrock is dynamited every week. In the 1980s, even nuclear blasts were used for the exploration.
Bad weather
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The temperature drops to minus 50 degrees centigrade, and winds turn into hurricanes.
Iced-up truckv
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Sometimes the visibility is so poor that huge lorries lose their way and end up in the mine.
Iced-up weather station
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Strong winds, low temperature and high humidity turn any construction into a pile of ice.
Iced-up steel pole
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In the summer, this was a steel pole just five centimetres wide.
Trudging through the snow
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It's difficult to imagine a life more distant from the world of billionaires, lawyers and Kremlin officials. (Pictures and text: BBC Russian Service)


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