Igor Altushkin will flood Chelyabinsk with waste to get copper

Local residents are actively protesting, but they only hope that the plant project will turn out to be economically useless. This is the only thing that will help them not to live at the waste dump.
Origin source
In the Chelyabinsk region, a scandal erupted around the construction of Tominsky GOK by the Russian Copper Company (RMK). Its owner - Russian businessman and patriot Igor Altushkin - intends to make some money on the commodity project.

Most residents of other regions of the Russian Federation about Tominsk GOK, of course, do not know, but this is an old and kind project that has been going on since Soviet times. Not far from Chelyabinsk are deposits of copper-porphyry ores, which have a very low metal content - 0.3% on average. However, since there are certain difficulties in the Russian Federation with the raw material base of the copper industry (in the Urals most of the deposits are worked out, and the Udokan deposit in Eastern Siberia can not develop at all), then in such conditions any deposits of copper ore may seem worthwhile.

All the detailed information about this project is here. In short, the project was originally a state project, but since the beginning of the 2000s, the control over the South Urals mining company, which is conducting reconnaissance, has passed into the hands of the structures of businessman Igor Altushkin. By the way, although Altushkin was awarded the Order of Friendship in May of this year by "Vladimir Putin", he started his business in a thoroughly criminal environment, in which kegiebists and local Ural bandits shared the metallurgical enterprises without any "friendship." The copper complex of the Urals was ultimately captured by Iskander Makhmudov and Andrei Kozitsyn (Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company, UMMC), whose companion was Mr. Altushkin. His share in the Russian Copper Company (RMC), established in 2004, fell to the most speculative and "tasteless" for Makhmudov and Kozitsyn assets.

For example, it is Karabashmed (Karabash copper smelter), which is considered one of the dirtiest industries in northern Eurasia, and the city of Karabash is one of the most "killed" settlements on this territory (a visit which always leaves vivid impressions). Also, Altushkin's company includes the obsolete Kyshtym copper electrolytic plant, Ormet, a new Novgorod metallurgical plant (built in the 2000s and equipped with German, American and Finnish equipment), similarly the new Uralhydromet (in the Sverdlovsk region), as well as a number of mining assets, Among which one can single out the Mikheevsky GOK (all equipment - import), launched in 2014. The main "shortcoming" (by Russian standards) Altushkina is that he takes bank loans not so much as a means of cutting, but also tries to build something on them. Apparently, this oligarch still realizes that since he did not get the free Soviet infrastructure, he will have to create his own from scratch. Of course, there is no question of raising salaries and improving the life of the population - on the same new Mikheevsky GOK, salaries are in the corridor of 20-30 thousand rubles (the master has 35-40 thousand rubles). The condition of the Altushkin by Forbes magazine is estimated at 1.8 billion dollars, by the way.

Plans RMK to build in 15 kilometers from Chelyabinsk and in 10 kilometers from its water intake the scale Tominsky GOK the local public and ecologists were seriously disturbed. Since the metal content in the rock is scanty, GOK needs to shovel the real mountains (28 million tons of rock every year!), Providing a large tailing dump with waste that can be carried safely in strong winds. Well, who would like that? Nevertheless, the PR managers of Altushkin do not sit around idly and doubts about the safety of Tominsky GOK carry on the already started Mikheevsky GOK.

If the conflict with the locals is somehow settled, then the RMK will only have to solve the two main problems of similar mining projects in northern Eurasia: ensuring long-term financing and achieving profitability. With the financing of the case so far: the cost of the project GOKa is more than 1 billion dollars (55-60 billion rubles), and these funds promise to allocate Gazprombank. This is a lot of money, for example - the Mikheevsky GOK cost RBC about 30 billion rubles, and now Mr. Altushkin, who routinely registers all his assets with Cypriot and British offshore companies, is looking for strategic investors for him. Maybe even from China.

The profitability of the planned GOK ultimately rests on the price of copper itself. In 2011, the London Metals Exchange recorded a "record" of the cost of a ton of copper at $ 9,000, but by December 2015 it had fallen to $ 4,000. Now the prices are slightly better - about 5670 dollars per ton, but it is not clear whether their growth will continue.

This means that only to cover investment costs, the GOK should produce up to 1.2-1.5 million tonnes of copper concentrate (at least 250-300 thousand tonnes of blister copper, eventually at other RMK enterprises). That is, the mining complex will pay off only after 6 to 7 years after commissioning, subject to reaching the planned capacity within three to four years and maintaining current prices for copper. For the Chelyabinsk region, all this, of course, looks sad, for the region, even in the most favorable scenario, receives raw materials production with a miserable profitability, which is not worth waiting for from serious tax revenues. And what do such projects look like? The Chelyabinsk residents know very well that the Korkinsky coal mine (part of the Chelyabinsk Coal Company, CHUK), one of the largest in Europe, is located not far from Tomino GOK's future. He owns another Russian billionaire - Konstantin Strukov, whose company (Darasunsky mine in the Trans-Baikal Territory) in May, workers announced a strike. Greedy oligarch, whose fortune is equal to 1 billion dollars, wanted to cut their salaries to the very minimum, and some do not pay at all!

Recall that the federal and regional authorities have invested 2 billion rubles in the resettlement of residents of the emergency settlement of Rosa, the houses in which they began to collapse due to proximity to the Korkinsky section, but the company Strukov's money was "squeezed." In the end, no one really moved and people still live in a collapsing village, which every day falls asleep with coal dust. And here is the main problem of the Resource Federation, which is the raw material colony of Europe: it does not have any real norms for the protection of the environment and responsibility for its pollution. Plants of oligarchs for decades fall asleep with the waste of the natives, and nobody cares. A large company is generally easier to pay a ridiculous fine than to fool yourself with some sort of treatment facilities and problems of reclamation of contaminated areas.

What to say, if such a large company as MMC Norilsk Nickel was closed last year by the nickel plant that worked since 1942 (!) In Norilsk, which annually poisoned the city with an infernal amount of sulfur dioxide emissions. And it closed production only because it literally falls apart from old age (the Soviet legacy is not eternal). And not because someone was sorry for the Norilsk people. Needless to say, in Europe or even more "liberal" in terms of US pollution, Norilsk Nickel oligarchs Vladimir Potanin and Oleg Deripaska would have long been closed completely.