The Khibins will survive
“Thanks to reasonable position of the regional government we found the compromise and the process didn’t come into the open conflict,” – said Igor Chestin, WWF-Russia CEO.
NWPC planned to build the industrial road, which would unite two ore deposits – Oneniy Ruchey and Partomchorr. The problem was that only Oleniy Ruchey had the ore processing infrastructure. In that case company needed the road to transport the ore from one to the other. But in this case the road would cut in two the national park “Hibiny” planned to be created in 2015. The environmentalists opposed the company’s plans and insisted on the alternative variants.
Now according to the compromise decision, which was reached in a year, the company would build the underground mine and ore processing facility right at the Partomchorr deposit. The enterprise will be built in the area of young pine forest of little value out of the park territory. But at the same time the part of next door, which is called elk nursery, will become the future national park area. Then the ore concentrate will be taken off by the railway, which is going to be built by NWPC connecting factory to the main road. The road through the future park’s area will also be constructed, but only to build factory and the park needs.
“We had a very strict position at the beginning of the process, but after consultations with scientists, WWF and Kola Biodiversity Centre experts decided to change the project concept. I’d like to underline that decision was made not under smb’s pressure, but appears to be the most reasonable and optimum,” – said Vladimir Kunitsky, director general of North-West Phosphoric Company.
“From the environmental point of view it’s the best variant, - commented Victor Petrov, the Head of Kola Biodiversity Centre. – Just a simple example: it’s needed 40-50 years to renew the young pine forest, where the processing factory will be built. In case of mountain tundra by the disputable road it would take more then 400-500 years”.