Kamchatka’s mining industry needs to be ecology oriented
According to development programs and strategies adopted by regional administration, mining industry is the basis of formation of Kamchatka’s industrial infrastructure and innovation development in the region. By the year 2020, the share of the mining industry in the production of the gross regional product will have increased as much as at least 4 times. However, data on ecology situation in the mining industry that scientists have at their disposal differs greatly from data that mining companies publish in the mass media and make available on corporate websites.
Monitoring of mining sites is being carried out by specialists of KamchatNIRO (short for “Kamchatka Fishery and Oceanography Research Institute”). According to data scientists have at their disposal on situation at Aginskiy ore-dressing and processing enterprise, they have been discharging polluted drainage waters for several years, with non-filtration screens having been ruined and reservoirs for chemical waste storage overfilled (tailings dumps). Due to discharge of waste waters at platinum mines located in the Vyvenka river basin in Koryakiya, 20% of spawning grounds in the Vyvenka river have been polluted and 80% of spawning grounds in the Levtyrinvayam river have been ruined completely.
Mining industry, as it exists nowadays, lessens investment appeal of Kamchatka which possesses a great potential for the development of ecology friendly tourism and alternative sources of power. Fishery is endangered as well. However, fishing grounds around the Kamchatka peninsular and the Kuril Islands provide as much as 70% of all seafood supplied in the domestic market. A considerable amount of fish caught in Kamchatka’s waters is being supplied to countries in the Asian-Pacific region.
“In the nearest future it is of high importance to ensure introduction of principles of ecological responsibility to be followed by mining companies,” says Sergey Rafanov, Head of WWF Kamchatka-based Bering Sea ecoregional branch office. “Adoption of best world’s practices and complete transparency in the operation of mining companies will help prevent the loss of biological resources, ecology friendly tourism and recreational base in Kamchatskiy krai.”
Experts deem it necessary, that the principles of ecological responsibility should be reflected in the long-term regional environmental strategy which in turn must become an integral part of the Regional strategy for development of Kamchatskiy krai.