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  • Published in Nature
Rezervat Beke

In search of new preserving natural ecosystems of the North

ALROSA plans to identify promising primary and placer diamond deposits of the Verkhne-Munsky kimberlite field located within the ‘Beke’ Reserve.

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At the public hearings held on January 18, 2019 in the village of Olenek, the representatives of ALROSA, Almazy Anabara, the Institute of Biological Problems of Cryolithozone, the Ministry of Ecology, Nature Management and Forestry of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Olenek ulus authorities and indigenous people reviewed the results of a comprehensive environmental survey of lands within the limits of the 'Beke' National Resource Reserve.

Public hearings were held primarily to ensure the rights of citizens to timely obtain accurate and complete information about the state of the environment and to participate in decision-making, affecting both the right of citizens to a favorable environment, and the protection of the original habitat and the rights of indigenous peoples. So, with the help of public hearings, the district’s population had the opportunity to personally participate in the decision making on possible changes in the existing boundaries of protected areas, where every resident could, by submitting suggestions and comments, contribute to the fate of his native district.

ALROSA Joint Stock Company is the world leader in terms of rough diamond production. Further strengthening of the Company's position in the global market meets both the economic interests of Russia and the development strategy.

Improving the standard of living of Olenek ulus

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“ALROSA is the largest taxpayer of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), forming a significant share of the revenue part of the regional budget. With the beginning of the development of the Verkhne Munskoye ore field in 2015, the Company declared its interest in the industrial and socio-economic development of the Olenek Evenki National District of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). These obligations to the population of the Olenek district are enshrined in the Agreement on Socio-Economic Cooperation for 2019–2023 concluded on August 28, 2018 between ALROSA and the Olenek Evenki National District. Filling the budget of the Olenek district with both tax revenues and additional donations from ALROSA will significantly improve the standard of living of the local population and give impetus to the social and economic development of the district,” said Deputy General Director of ALROSA Aleksey P. Dyachkovsky.

Protection of wild reindeer and vulnerable wildlife

The director of the Institute of Biological Problems of the Cryolithozone of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Innokenty Okhlopkov made a report on changing the boundaries of the ‘Beke’ Resource Reserve.

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Large-scale comprehensive studies of the ‘Beke’ reserve area of more than 1.5 million hectares made it possible to compile landscape, soil maps, as well as maps of vegetation and maps of migration routes of wild reindeer. Studies have shown that the entire reserve area is characterized by soil and vegetation cover typical of North-West Yakutia, and animal populations of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The main conservation value of the Beke territories is the preservation of typical natural ecosystems of the North, the protection of the migration routes of wild reindeer and the spawning grounds of fish. It is worth noting that since the creation of protected areas in 2000, full-scale studies were conducted for the first time to accurately identify the biodiversity of the territory and determine the category of protected species of the animal world.

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When choosing options for rezoning the ‘Beke’ reserve, the experts proceeded from the paths of the established reindeer migrations. After all, this reserve was created in order to preserve reindeer. And since studies have shown that the territory of protected areas is quite homogeneous, most of the sites are interchangeable, so suggestions for changing borders and zoning are quite acceptable. In turn, ALROSA, as before, will conduct annual monitoring of the migration of wild reindeer, including in the Olenek district.

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ALROSA specialists are actively involved in the implementation of the International Biodiversity Conservation Programs of the northern regions of Russia and the implementation of the plan for the conservation of wild reindeer populations approved by the Ministry of Ecology, Nature Management and Forestry of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Ministry of Ecology and Environmental Management of the Krasnoyarsk Territory with the support of the non-profit organization World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and within the framework of the agreement concluded for 2019-2022 with the Directorate of Biological Resources and the PAs of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) initiated by the ALROSA Joint-Stock Company. This was explained by the Deputy Chief Engineer of ALROSA on Ecology Issues and Work with Indigenous and Small-Numbered Peoples of the North, the head of the Environmental Center, Polina Anisimova and Konstantin Soloviev, Head of the Department for Protection of Natural Territories and Work with Indigenous and Small-Numbered Peoples of the North.

“In connection with the circumstances, a meeting was held with the elders of the district and the heads of local communities, at which the decision on the research activities in 62-hectare 'Beke' territory was approved,” said the head of the municipality Aleksandr Ivanov.

According to the results of the voting, the local population unanimously supported the decision to change the boundaries for further study and development by the industrial enterprises of the ‘Beke' site, as well as assigning the status of a specially protected resource reserve of local significance in the ‘Siligir’ area. A total of 185 people took part in the voting. Thus, taking into account the common opinion of the public of the Olenek Evenk National District of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), for the needs of ALROSA, an area of 62557 hectares has been deduced from the borders of the ‘Beke’ Resource Reserve of republican significance. In turn, the ‘Beke’ Resource Reserve was compensated by local territory with a total area of 914,000 hectares.

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In order to preserve the biological diversity and typical biotopes of northwestern Yakutia, as well as maintain the population of rare and economically valuable animal species, ALROSA was recommended to continue carrying out a set of measures to protect the environment.

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