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Премия рунета 2017

«Khibiny» National Park

Khibiny is a small mountain group in the central part of the Kola Peninsula beyond the Arctic Circle. It is unique in terms of geological structure and topography. The greatest number of rare plant species in the Murmansk region has been found here. The indigenous people of the North, the Saami, never engaged in agriculture here, they even asked for forgiveness from the land for the fact that deer hoofs destroyed the plant cover and soil. In addition, the Khibiny is a popular vacation spot for tens of thousands of Russian tourists.

These last tundra mountains and fragile arctic nature need our protection. The work on the creation of a specially protected area in the Khibiny began in the 90s of the last century. In December 2011, a national park «Khibiny» has been included in the Concept for the Development of the System of Specially Protected Natural Territories of Russia by 2020. In accordance with this concept, approved by the decree of the Federal Government, the park should be established in 2015.

Khibiny, Kola Peninsula © George Kasyanov
Khibiny, Kola Peninsula © Dmitry Ryabov
Khibiny, Kola Peninsula © Lubov Trifonova
Clean water reservoirs Khibiny © Dmitry Ryabov

However, Khibiny is also a promising industrial region with deposits of apatite-nepheline ores that serve as raw materials for the production of mineral fertilizers. Licenses for the development of two such fields were issued to the North-Western Phosphor Company (NWPC). For transportation of ore, NWPC considered the option of building a road through the Umbozersky Pass. This road could split the future national park in half, passing through its most valuable sites. In this case, there would be no sense in creating a national park…

Thanks to the efforts of WWF and other environmental organizations, NWPC agreed to make concessions and decided to transport enriched ore via existing railway. But while the national park is not legally formalized, there is no certainty that the nature of Khibiny is not threatened.

Currently work with documents and negotiations with officials of different departments and levels continue. The World Wildlife Fund sincerely hopes that the final decision on the establishment of the Khibiny National Park will be made in the near future at the federal level, because we have invested and continue to invest maximum efforts to achieve this.