Stop the building of Tomino Mining and Processing Plant
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We, the residents of Chelyabinsk city and Chelyabinsk region, are outraged by the ill-conceived plan by the Russian Copper Company to build a new industrial enterprise right next to our Chelyabinsk city, namely Tomino Mining and Processing Complex, to develop a porphyry copper deposit.
Chelyabinsk is a major centre of ferrous and non-ferrous metal industry, and it has become an area of gravest environmental concern. Its air, soil, water and groundwater are heavily polluted due to operation of numerous factories, mines and transportation routes in the area. The worst industrial polluters оperate under provisional emission quotas that haven’t been revised for years, and even violate them regularly - meaning that for a very long time these enterprises have been unable to bring their operations in line with environmental regulations.
Due to such malpractice the morbidity rate is on the rise in Chelyabinsk and surrounding areas. As of beginning of the 21st century the respiratory diseases have become the most common of all – with 48.5% of children, 33.7% of adolescents and 19.8% of adults affected. Cancer incidence rates are rising steadily.
The construction of Tomino Mining Complex, will tip the already precarious environmental situation in and around Chelyabinsk over the edge. Natural ecosystems will be destroyed for many miles around and replaced by spoil tips and tailings ponds that will pollute the atmosphere, soil and water. Due to the location of the proposed mining complex and prevailing winds, it is inevitable that airborne pollutants will be scattered over the watershed and the waters of Shershnevskoe reservoir, the main drinking water source for the whole Chelyabinsk and area.
But this environmental issue isn’t our only cause of concern. As Russian citizens, we are very alarmed by the socio-economic aspect of this project. Today up to 75% of all copper mined in Russia is unclaimed by domestic industry and is exported overseas. Low copper content in the ore of Tomino deposit coupled with wide fluctuations of copper prices make this project a high-risk one from economic point of view.
Subsidiaries of the Russian Copper Company are in fact owned by offshore companies based on Cyprus, and their owners will enjoy all profits if this project comes through. We strongly believe that squandering our country's non-renewable natural resources in favour of foreign owner goes against the long-term interests of the Russian state and its people. Such predatory exhaustion of natural recourses will soon put the very existence of iron and steel industry in the Southern Urals region at risk.
According to Articles 2 and 42 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, man, his rights and freedoms are the supreme value. The recognition, observance and protection of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen is the obligation of the State. Everyone has the right for favourable living environment, reliable information about its condition and consequently for a compensation for the damage caused to health or property by ecological transgressions against environmental laws.
According to Paragraph 1 of Article 9 of the Constitution of Russian Federation, land and other natural resources are used and protected in the Russian Federation as the basis of life and activity of the people living in corresponding territories.
According to Article 58 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, everyone is obliged to preserve nature and the environment, carefully treat the natural wealth.
According to Paragraphs 1 and 2, Article 80 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the President of the Russian Federation is the head of the State. He takes measures for the protection of the sovereignty of Russian Federation, its independence and integrity, ensures coordinated functioning and interaction of all the state agents or state agencies.
According to Paragraph 2 of Article 85 of the Constitution, the President of the Russian Federation has a right to suspend the act passed by Executive authorities of subjects of Russian Federation in case these acts contradict the Constitution and federal laws, international commitments of the Russian Federation or violate rights and freedoms of man and citizen until the issue is resolved by a corresponding court.
Thus, taking into the above laws and concerns:
1) Substantial economic risk of the Tomino Mining Complex project;
2) Its focus on the interests of overseas offshore firms’ owners, not the long-term interests of the State and its people;
3) The established malpractice of allowing the largest industrial enterprises of the region to operate on the background with systematic gross violations of environmental legislation;
we believe that this project in question cannot be implemented as currently proposed, and therefore we APPEAL for:
Cancellation of the development of Tomino deposit.
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