WWF-Russia calls for suspension of placer gold mining in Kamchatka
A year ago, WWF-Russia called for a moratorium on the extraction of placer gold in Kamchatka. A new wave of public discussion of gold miners’ activity on the Goltsovskaya area site demonstrates the need to take into account the interests of all parties, including fishermen and local residents. The resonance video published on the Internet shows the consequences of the first stage of the gold mining company’s activity. WWF-Russia is confident that the work on the site should be suspended until a comprehensive assessment of the project, its compliance with environmental laws and requirements. Public hearings and discussions must be conducted involving all interested parties.
The development of the deposit at the Goltsovskaya area site is carried out by Dalstroy LLC. The company received a license for exploration and mining in this area in 2017, despite a negative scientific assessment of the project made by Kamchatka branch of Russina Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography. The licensed site is located in two districts of Kamchatka krai, in the basins of the Bystraya, Utka, Srednyaya and Blizhnaya Goltsovka and Plotnikova river basins. The Bystraya River is a popular tourist route for rafting.
As a rule, the placer gold mining does not result
in any significant financial income to the budgets of the local and regional
level. Being state property, minerals are subject to direct federal tax.
At the same time, mining in the riverhead inevitably leads to siltation of spawning grounds. Accidents when water erodes dams built to divert a channel are possible challenges. Such incidents can destroy river valleys and take human lives. The last tragic incident occurred last year, in October, in the Krasnoyarsk region.
Given that Dalstroy intends to mine a total of 943 kg of gold on five rivers over the next 20 years (license validity period), the estimated benefits of gold miners cannot be even compared to environmental risks.
The whole story with Goltsovskaya area is about neglect of the interests of fishermen and local communities. WWF-Russia is confident that the project documentation should be assessed additionally with the involvement of both specialists and public, in order to take into account the views of all interested parties. Until the end of these discussions, any activity on the site should be suspended.