On August 15, at a meeting with representatives of political parties, the acting head of the Komi Republic, Vladimir Uyba, said that gold mining would be revived at the Chudny deposit, which would save the neighboring monotown Intu. The Inta coal mine is in bankruptcy, and gold mining could provide new jobs. Uyba's statement, always giving the impression of a far-sighted politician, produced an effect opposite to what he probably expected. Instead of the long-awaited solution to Inta's problems on the eve of the republican elections, he, in fact, announced a "new Shies". The fact is that the Chudnoye deposit is located in the Yugyd Va National Park, the first Russian national park included in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List.
“Yugyd va” in the Komi language is light water. “When you enter a stream, it seems that the bottom is very close. And there is depth. The water is six meters transparent, ”says Ivan Ivanov, chairman of the Pechora Rescue Committee, the oldest environmental organization in the republic. In "Yugyd va" there are a lot of mountain rivers, which from the Urals carry their waters to the Pechora, which is still considered the cleanest river in Europe.
FROM THE SPEECH BY VLADIMIR UIBA
“... I think it is very important to draw a conclusion from the Unesque bondage of the Chudny. The miraculous, of course, has nothing to do with Yugyd Va, there is a pure Unesque story: they say, let them not mine this gold here. Therefore, there is a tough order from [Deputy Prime Minister] Trutnev: before August 31, the Ministry of Natural Resources gives a conclusion, we are supervising it now that there is no connection with Yugyd VA, these are completely different stories. The borders of the "national park" will be shifted 100 percent. And this is not just a matter of mining, it will be a mining and processing plant ”.
The most famous and largest river of the national park is Kozhim. It originates in the Chudny area. The Yugyd Va reservoirs, along with the virgin forests, made it possible to include the park in the lists of world heritage. It happened in 1995, a year after its creation.
And two years later, the first of 10 attempts to let gold miners into Yugyd va were made.
200 thousand hectares, including Chudnoe, the then head of Komi Spiridonov cut from the borders of the national park by his decree. The Komi Supreme Court overturned this decision at the suit of Greenpeace. In 2004, the Komi government again excludes from the park the land around Chudny - already 35 thousand hectares. The prosecutor's office also cancels this decision - again on a complaint from environmentalists. Four years later, the city administration of Inta suddenly announced that Chudnoye was not included in the national park at all. Prosecutor's office - court - recognition of the administration's actions as illegal.
Nevertheless, a year later ZAO Gold Minerals obtained a license to develop the Chudnoye deposit. And a month later, the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation excludes it from the borders of the national park, turning it into industrial land. A year later, Inta transfers 1900 hectares of the national park to Gold Minerals. Geological exploration is underway.
Lake Grubependity and the Balbanyu River turn white from dust and runoff. Fish leave the river - brown trout and grayling.
The work has been going on for two years - until the decision of the Supreme Court, which declared the actions of the Ministry of Natural Resources illegal.
In 2014, the Supreme Court once again recognizes that the withdrawal of land from the boundaries of the UNESCO World Heritage Site is impossible. In response, the Ministry of Natural Resources proposes amendments to the Federal Law "On Specially Protected Natural Areas", which would make this operation legal. And after their rejection, he makes a proposal to change the boundaries of the Yugyd va National Park - again unsuccessfully.
Please note: all this time, the department responsible for the protection of national natural resources is making a lot of efforts to give these same resources for industrial development. And it continues to do so now: a year ago, in 2019, the Ministry of Natural Resources instructed the subordinate VNII Ecology to develop an ecological and economic feasibility study for the withdrawal of 50 thousand hectares from the national natural park for industrial needs. As if in exchange for the national park it was proposed to include three times more land belonging to two forestries.
“They wanted to cut a piece of mountain tundra, and instead add dark coniferous taiga,” explains Ivan Ivanov. “At the same time, there are no rare species in this taiga that we will lose if Chudnoye is taken out of the borders of the national park.”
Why is this small area so critical for a park of 2 million hectares?
EXPLAINS THE ACTIVIST
Nina Ananina, Komi Ecologists Association
“Wonderful is located in the very center of the national park. They want to change the boundaries of the park with such a donut, bite off a piece from the middle. But this can be done on the map, but in reality it is impossible to cut the territory out of the national park.
The site is located between the upper reaches of the Balbanu and Kyzhim rivers, gold mining there will destroy them.
And Kyzhim is the pearl of “Yugyd va”. When you are rafting down the stream, there are rocks on one side and a lunar landscape on the other side: this is the result of the activities of Gold Minerals in the national park. The rock was crushed, the waste was dumped directly onto the ground. According to the estimates of the Komi Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the consequences of that previous extraction will be eliminated only after 300 years.
At the beginning of the year, it seemed that the issue of gold mining in Yugyd Va was closed once and for all: after submitting to the presidential administration more than one hundred thousand signatures collected by Greenpeace in defense of the park, a conclusion came from there: “Excluding part of the territory from the borders of the national park contradicts current legislation and international obligations Russian Federation".
However, this is exactly the case when the opinion of the presidential administration is not the ultimate truth. The license for exploration and production of ore gold at the Chudnoye deposit has not been revoked from Gold Minerals. Moreover, by suspending it, the Ministry of Natural Resources indicated that it was doing this only “until the borders of the Yugyd Va National Park were changed. And already in June, the State Duma received a draft amendment to the law "On Specially Protected Natural Areas", in which the RF government is given the right to determine and change the boundaries of protected areas.
Who is fighting with such zeal to revise these boundaries? Here is the list of the authors of the bill No. 974393-7: members of the Federation Council Yuri Vorobyov, Andrei Turchak, Alexey Mayorov, Elena Zlenko, Vyacheslav Nagovitsyn and State Duma deputies Sergei Neverov and Vladimir Burmatov.
If it is accepted, the beneficiaries of Gold Minerals will be grateful to them when the explosions gut the Muldynyrd ridge. Who are these beneficiaries? According to the Spark-Interfax database, these are four Cypriot offshore companies that equally divided the shares that they received in 2012 from the Russian companies Mireko and Nord Minerals, subsidiaries of the gold mining PJSC Vysochaishy. Gold Minerals itself is a micro-enterprise with three employees.
Once again: in order for the four Cypriot offshore companies to benefit (the total gold reserve is estimated at almost 600 tons), changes in the legislation of the Russian Federation are being lobbied, which will lead to colossal and irreparable damage.
A WORD TO THE EXPERT
Mikhail Kreindlin, expert on specially protected natural areas of Greenpeace
“The bill really hasn't even reached the first reading yet. And now it is unrealistic to change the boundaries of the park, no matter what Uyba says. The laws “On Specially Protected Natural Areas” and “On Environmental Protection” do not allow this. Moreover, statements about the imminent change of the borders of "Yugyd va" contradict the decision of the Supreme Court that has come into force. Therefore, such statements by the head of the republic, of course, are irresponsible.
As soon as a quarry is built there, the landscape will be completely destroyed, the rivers destroyed, and all this will flow further down. The gold mining process is associated with leaching, the use of cyanides. This is a very toxic waste. "
In 10 days, according to the instructions of Deputy Prime Minister Trutnev, a scheme must be found in Komi, which will allow the "Light Water" to sign the verdict. At the same time, local residents have many years of experience in environmental protests. A permit for gold mining can also become a catalyst for a protracted internal political crisis in the republic.