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Experts say balance between industry and environment in Arctic is vital

October 13, 15:20 UTC+3 KRASNOYARSK

Nornickel’s vice president suggests a network of company's own ecology laboratories to monitor the environment

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© Lev Fedoseev/TASS

KRASNOYARSK, October 13. /TASS/. The current state of the environment in the Arctic territories, where active industries develop, is such, that it is vital to find a balance between further industrial development and keeping the environment, said participants in the ecology conference - Environment and Industries in the North, which took place in Krasnoyarsk. Effective measures, they said, could be insuring businesses in the northern regions and attracting large-scale investments in environmental projects.

"Today, we are to find new organizing forms to have a reasonable balance between further industrial development and keeping the environment," the Krasnoyarsk Territory's Acting Governor Alexander Uss told reporters.

He gave an example of effective measures - monitoring the environment, industrial monitoring and the pinpoint work of coping various pollutions, like, for example, landfills.

Head of the Siberian Federal University Evgeny Vaganov agrees a balance between industries and environment should be found already now. Scientists in Krasnoyarsk back in the early 2000s offered ways of restoring degraded soil at the industrial sites in the territory's north, and Nornickel used to implement those technologies. Nowadays, he said, the university is working on technologies to cut emissions in the air.

250 billion rubles in ecology investments

Nornickel’s Vice President Elena Bezdenezhnykh said the company’s "direct ecology investments" would make 250 billion rubles ($4.3 billion).

"We plan investing 250 billion rubles to 2023 in solving of the ecology problems - those are direct investments in the ecology," she said. "As for indirect investments, all the projects we are doing now to increase the industrial base, are aimed at keeping the ecology."

The company’s vice president spoke about a network of own ecology laboratories to monitor the environment.

Nornickel has own strategy, under which by 2023 an average age of metallurgical enterprises would be not more than 30 years - after that age they would be closed down to stop affecting the environment.

"Compare this criterion with the one the US uses in non-ferrous metallurgy - 80 years, and in Europe - 65 years, in China - 50 years," she said.

Industrial risks

The Krasnoyarsk territory’s Prosecutor Mikhail Savchin said in order to develop effectively resources in the northern territories, it would be necessary to make certain changes to the federal legislation.

"We have to admit that long-term tasks in development of the North’s natural resources would require legal decisions at the federal level," he said.

Among the measures, the prosecutor suggested, is to insure the industries, thus making it possible to collect funds for the environment’s rehabilitation. Another measure he named was a state ecological assessment of all the projects in the Arctic, where some projects continue without any ecological assessments.

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