The author investigates the circumstances of copper smelting in the Urals in the first quarter of XVIII century. Peter I focused on the creation of non-ferrous metals in Russia to strengthen the financial and monetary system of the state. Search forpolymetallic ores, mining, and smelting of copper and silver became the main way of using foreign experience in Russia. In this regard, it is important to identify active participants of the creation of smelting industry in the region who may be identified as the actors of modernization processes. Before the Berg-Collegium was created,a new management structure of the control over mining and metallurgical production had already appeared. However, the separation of management functions was not regulated by job descriptions and, as a result, had a negative impact on the production of copper. The Kungur plant’s cessation of work occurred in the conditions of a long war and reforms in the absence of copper, which was particularly in demand in coin production. Technological and organizational problems at the first Ural factories led to a six-year investigation made by the representatives of various departments. The duration of the investigation was the confirmation of the acute shortage of strategically important metal. The Berg-Collegium membersVasilyTatishchev and Johann Blucher began their activity in the Urals within one of those investigations. It is likely that the investigation on the termination of copper smelting at the Kungur plant has been connected with the investigation on Siberian governor Gagarin’s abuse for some period. The study of the investigation materials and other archival documents revealed the features of formation of copper-smelting industry in the region and helped to characterize the actors of modernization. Among them, there were primarily mining, assay, smelting masters, and plant administrators who formed the professional core of the industry. New activities created relatively stable professional and socio-professional groups (such as members of exploration expeditions, factory teams and towns), united by one goal.
Key words: history of metallurgy of the Urals, XVIII century, Tatishchev, actors of modernization.