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Support Needed to Help Stop Ongoing Environmental Mayhem in the Urals
In the nearest future, we expect a major and important event for all of us - the First Conference of the Parties of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. We invested a lot of effort into the development and promotion of the Convention. We congratulate all people who facilitated the event by their work, knowledge and devotion!
The Minamata Convention on Mercury prioritises environmental considerations over interests of global businesses used to pursue their financial gains in a resource-based economy that ignores environmental effects. It is not only associated with banning primary mercury extraction from global deposits, it also deals with tightening control over different industrial operations, particularly with extraction and processing non-ferrous metals ores, that are accompanied by uncontrolled releases of many tons of mercury into the environment.
In particular, these assumptions are confirmed by findings of the Pilot Project for Development of the Inventory of Mercury Pollution in the Russian Federation implemented from 2013 to 2017 - the project data suggests that primary metals production is the key source of mercury releases into the Russian environment.
The Minamata Convention is a global treaty against nature-destructing technologies relying on extraction and uncontrolled dissemination of hazardous chemicals! Nonetheless, cases of unprecedented pressure from large corporations to promote their "dirty businesses" still persist!
The last example of such a practice is related to the initiation of construction of one of the largest mining and processing plants (MPP) in Russia - Tominskiy MPP. The plant is planned to be constructed within the protection zone of Chelyabinsk, a city with more than 1 million residents, close to the only source of drinking water supply of the city and the district.
Notwithstanding more than 163 thousand signatures of the city residents already collected against the construction of the plant, Cyprus company Groundhill Enterprises Limited (the Russian Copper Company), represented by its subsidiary - Closed Joint Company "Tominskiy Gorno-Obogatitelny Kombinat" (456537, Chelyabinskaya oblast, Sosnovskiy district, Tominskiy township, 3 Shkolnaya St.) still continues its illicit activities!
Incompetent officials support activities of an off-shore Russian Copper Company that has already launched the construction at Tominskiy MPP site, notwithstanding lack of main permits. The company is now destroying more than 3000 ha of protective forests for its infrastructure, removing fertile upper soil layers and starting excavation of pits with a preliminary depth of about 500 m.
The company plans to discharge its ore clarification wastes (containing a half of the periodic table elements) into one of the most problem-prone quarries in the world - Korkinskiy Coal Quarry. The quarry was used for more than 70 years and is the deepest one in Eurasia (~ 5.5 km long, ~ 3.5 km wide and 510 m deep). The quarry is also known in connection with its endogenous fires that pollute air in Chelyabinsk and nearby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyUUfHvxzxk
The company plans to annually extract 28 million tons of ores that would contain 840 tons of arsenic, 280 tons of cadmium, 3800 tons of chromium, 560 tons of lead and 1400 tons of antimony. According to estimates of the National Mercury Register, extracted ores would contain about 6 g/t. arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury (substances of 1st hazard class), which would be disposed to tailing ponds and diffused in the air.
In order to prepare the site for construction and isolate it from an angry public, the businessmen fenced the whole area of tree cutting operations by military grade barbed wire - some cases of wildlife casualties were registered as wild animals were trapped in the "giant cage".
This insane project has already resulted in grave social and political crises in Chelyabinsk. Now, Chelyabinsk is rated the fourth city in Russia in terms of protest moods and the situation is almost entirely associated with protests against Tominskiy MPP.
The public was particularly outraged by the latest press-conference of Mr. Dubrovskiy, the Governor of Chelyabinsk oblast, who shared his expectations about the "favourable" future of Chelyabinsk and nearby districts with the construction of Tominskiy MPP, and compared Chelyabinsk's future with the "good future" of Karabash - one of the most dirty cities on the planet, recognised as "an environmental disaster zone" with its technogenic desert in the city centre and very heavy mercury contamination of the environment!
We appeal to all CSOs of the world for help to stop the ongoing environmental mayhem in the Urals, in the Year of Ecology, declared in Russia in 2017.
Please support like-minded people in communities and in social media:
#СтопГок in Twitter
Please express your condemnation of such business practices in Russia, by e-mailing Groundhill Enterprises Limited (the Russian Copper Company) at: email@example.com
Please apply to governmental authorities in Russia, warning them against supporting such environmentally unacceptable and nature-destroying policies!
See the sample Appeal below - you may mail it to the suggested addressees. You may also express your support of the Appeal by sending an e-mail to Eco-Accord (firstname.lastname@example.org) before September 15. Then, we will mail the signed Appeal to the addressees.
Thank you in advance for your support.
IPEN Co-chair/ Eco-Accord
Goldman Prize Winner 2009
To: The President of the Russian Federation
The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation (http://online.government.ru/letters/)
The Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation (email@example.com)
The Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Government of Chelyabinskaya oblast (email@example.com)
Groundhill Enterprises Limited (the Russian Copper Company) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We, the representatives of non-governmental organisations and civil society groups, apply to you with a demand to terminate construction of Tominskiy MPP - one of the largest copper ore mining and processing plants in Russia. The plant is constructed within the protection zone of Chelyabinsk, a city with more than 1 million residents, close to the only source of drinking water supply of the city and the oblast.
Notwithstanding more than 163 thousand signatures of the city residents already collected against construction of the plant, Cyprus company GROUNDHILL ENTERPRISES LIMITED (the Russian Copper Company), represented by its subsidiary - CLOSED JOINT COMPANY "TOMINSKIY GORNO-OBOGATITELNY KOMBINAT" - still continies its illicit activities. The company is now destroying more than 3000 ha of protective forests for its infrastructure, removing fertile upper soil layers and starting excavation of pits with a preliminary depth of about 500 m.
The company plans to annually extract 28 million tons of ores, that would contain 840 tons of arsenic, 280 tons of cadmium, 3800 tons of chromium, 560 tons of lead and 1400 tons of antimony. According to estimates of the National Mercury Register, extracted ores would contain about 6 g/t. arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury (substances of 1st hazard class), which would be disposed to tailings and diffused in the air.
Such operations contradict to the Minamata Convention on Mercury - signed by Russia - the first global, legally binding instrument regulating management of mercury and mercury-containing waste.
We appeal to you for help to stop the ongoing environmental mayhem in the Urals, in the Year of Ecology, declared in Russia in 2017!