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Prosecutor's office will ask the court to suspend placer gold mining in Kamchatka

24 july 2020
Earlier this year, the "Dalstroy" mining company's activity on the bank of salmon spawning rivers drew public attention. WWF-Russia sent a letter to the prosecutor general's office asking to assess the company's activity legal grounds. The reply was received shortly.

On June 18, WWF-Russia sent a letter to the Prosecutor General's Office expressing deepest concerns about the activity of the placer gold mining company in Kamchatka. At the moment, the media was full of evidence of Dalstroy's activity giving ground to suspect that at least some of the environmental laws were breached. The investigation showed numerous violations.

Prosecutor's Office opened an administrative case concerning Dalstroy company and directed a petition to suspend the company's activity.

"It is impossible to prevent watershed contamination and to guarantee the safety of the salmon populations during placer gold mining. Reactionary measures, including the punishment of perpetrators, will almost certainly fail to prevent the most negative scenario," said Sergey Rafanov, director of Kamchatka/Bering Sea Ecoregional Office of WWF-Russia.

Placer gold development near the highly valuable spawning rivers can adversely impact recreational potential, biodiversity, the fishing industry, and the well-being of local communities.

"Currently, placer gold mining threatens not only Kamchatka rivers but the whole Russian Far East region. Recently, there was a notorious company in the Amur region, which worked near Ekimchan village. In spite of numerous official warrants, the company kept contaminating the nearby river which was a water-supply source. The company's activities were eventually suspended; however, we must understand that placer gold mining is not just about kilograms of gold. It is about hundreds of kilometers of destroyed river valleys, irreversible damage to water bodies, loss of water-supply source quality, and decline in the recreational potential of large areas. The issuance of miners’ licenses for total resources will surely lead to greater accumulated environmental damage. In the end, it will be the government's duty to restore the environment at the expense of local and state budgets," stated Peter Osipov, the director of Amur Branch of WWF-Russia.
WWF-Russia suggests calling a moratorium on geological exploration and placer gold mining on the rivers, where such activity has never been conducted. That and other suggestions can be found in the joint petition project of five nature conservation organizations of Russia. The petition project is published on zolotari.net.
photo in the preview and the head - © Ivan Dementievsky / WWF-Russia
For additional information please contact
Head of WWF Kamchatka/Bering Sea Ecoregional Office