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THE PUBLIC CHAMBER OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION HAS MADE RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE THE IMPACT OF PLACER GOLD MINING ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Премия рунета 2017

THE PUBLIC CHAMBER OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION HAS MADE RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE THE IMPACT OF PLACER GOLD MINING ON THE ENVIRONMENT

20 june 2022
The proposals were developed by the Coordinating Council at the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation on Environmental Well-being following the results of the round table "Environmental aspects of placer gold mining", which took place on February 1, 2022.

The event was also attended by representatives of federal authorities - the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia, the Federal Agency for Subsoil Use, the Federal Agency for Water Resources,  as well as representatives of executive state authorities of the subjects of the Russian Federation, enterprises and associations of the gold mining industry, environmental public organizations, scientific and expert community.

“This year, unfortunately, we see an increase in the negative impact of placer gold mining on many rivers of Siberia and the Far East. In this regard, the implementation of recommendations to reduce the socio-environmental impacts from the extraction of placer gold, developed by the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation is particularly relevant. Last week, these recommendations were sent to federal and regional state authorities, as well as to the public chambers of the regions. At the end of 2022, we plan to hold an intersectoral meeting to discuss the implementation of these recommendations. I would like to emphasize that, realizing the importance of strategic raw materials for the Russian economy, we are in favor of limiting the extraction of placer gold, which damages ecosystems and violate environmental legislation," comments Alexey Knizhnikov, head of WWF Russia’s Program on Environmental Responsibility of Business.

Among the recommendations of the Public Chamber to state authorities is the introduction of a temporary moratorium on the issuance of so–called prospective licenses in a simplified (declarative) manner.

Today, this is one of the main factors in the growth of river pollution in Siberia and the Far East – the possibility of simplified registration has led to the issuance of a huge number of prospecting licenses designed to search for new gold deposits, but often used by gold miners to cover the illegal development of placer deposits.

The Public Chamber of the Russian Federation recommends that the authorities stop issuing such licenses until the end of the assessment of the ecological and economic efficiency of this activity in terms of the ratio of the increase in the balance reserves of placer gold deposits to the amount of damage caused by gold mining companies to the environment and the economy of both a separate region and the country as a whole.

Based on the results of this assessment, it is proposed to consider the possibility of revoking licenses from organizations whose economic effect does not cover the environmental damage caused by them.

Another important recommendation is the regulatory consolidation of a ban on the issuance of licenses for geological exploration of subsoil resources, prospecting, exploration and extraction of placer gold in areas whose border is closer than 5 km from the border of specially protected natural areas, as well as areas on rivers flowing through protected areas and located at a distance closer than 30 km upstream relative to them, as well as in the territories of traditional nature use of indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation.

“Unfortunately, in recent years we have seen more and more sad examples. In Primorye, the "Udegeiskaya Legenda" national park has been sounding the alarm for many years due to pollution of protected rivers by prospectors upstream. Licenses for gold exploration were obtained in the immediate vicinity of the Daursky Reserve in Transbaikalia and the Sikhote-Alinsky Reserve in Primorye, and in the near future these extremely valuable territories, UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites, may face similar problems. The question of what is more expensive than a kilogram of gold or globally unique ecosystems is becoming more and more acute today,” comments Peter Osipov, director of WWF Russia Amur branch.

The recommendations of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation also include strengthening state environmental control over the activities of gold mining companies, working out the issue of tightening the responsibility of organizations for illegal mining of placer gold, as well as establishing criminal liability for illegal mining of precious metals.

The full list of recommendations can be found on the website of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation.

 Additional information:

As of June 20, 2022 , the total length of the pollution was 2,949 km . The largest amount of pollution was recorded in the Amur Region (37 cases, the total length of pollution — 1251 km), in the Trans-Baikal Territory (16 cases, 339 km), the southern regions of the Krasnoyarsk Territory (9 cases, 513 km), the Republic of Tyva (9 cases, 258 km) and the Kemerovo Region (8 cases, 307 km). This is more than in the same period last year – then 74 facts of river pollution with a total length of 2,534 km were recorded.

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