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Kurily Urup Island: The Reserve Is Not A Gold Mine
January 23, 2014 17:22


Eleven thousand people voted for the preservation of the unique wildlife of the Kurily Urup Island. The signatures in support of the Kurily Urup Island and its unique wildlife have been collected under the online petition “The reserve is not a gold mine”.

The petition was prepared by a hydrobiologist and a member of Primorsky Branch of the Russian Green League Tatiana Belikova from Vladivostok on the platform of the Avaaz International Network Community. 11,480 people from 76 countries have signed the petition addressed to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and to the Sakhalin Governor Aleksandr Khoroshavin, as well as to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia. People are concerned that gold is planned to be extracted in an exclusively dangerous way - with explosives and large amounts of strong cyanide poisons – in one of the most seismically active regions of the Earth, on a small deserted island inhabited by rare and endangered animals.

Main rookeries of the Red Book sea mammals: sea apes, insular seals, sea lions - are situated in close proximity to the gold mine. The explosions will bring the animals to leave their most important habitats; and the toxic substances will destroy all the inhabitants of coastal waters in the event of violation of storages integrity during an earthquake.

The signatories ask the president of Russia, the Minister of Natural Resources of Russia and the Sakhalin Governor to prevent the implementation of the project on gold extraction on the island of Urup and to create a specially protected natural territory on this island.

The island of Urup has been the reserve of regional importance since 1958, now it is closed to the public and has no resident population. However, in 2003 the regional authorities have deprived the island of its reserve status, which was followed by intensive exploration works carried out there; in the year 2010 the license for gold mining has been issued to “Kurilgeo” LLC, 100 % of the enterprise being owned by Solway Investment Group Limited registered in Cyprus. It has been reported recently that while the people from around the world were signing a petition, the Cyprian offshore company began field development and construction of a gold mining plant without any permission. In November, 2013 Kurily Prosecutor’s Office filed a lawsuit demanding the release of the land plot occupied by the gold industry entrepreneurs and the demolition of the illegally constructed buildings.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Kurily Urup Island gold mining Ecotourism Nature Reserves  

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