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Not all wealth that glitters

Yakutia relies on the spatial development and diversification of its economy. And succeeds

Not all wealth that glitters
Special project Yakutsk Initiative

Each region has its own symbols, which do not necessarily coincide with the images on the coat of arms and flag. For example, you can not explain to anyone the salt of the joke about how a resident of Yakutia is being detained at the customs. What do they ask you? Smuggling? A pocket full of diamonds and gold nuggets ?! "I am taking a handful of my native land with me to a foreign land!" - the violator answers with pathos.

As usual, the joke is just a fraction of the joke. The largest of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation has in its depths such riches that no customs officer can even imagine. Here, each "handful of land" reclaimed from the permafrost is part of the national heritage of all of Russia. Diamonds, gold, platinum, other rare and precious metals, as they say - "the entire periodic table." And also - coal, gas, oil and a lot of other minerals.

The extractive sector for the economy of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) has always been and remains the leading one. Another thing is that now the criteria for success, both of individual industries and entire regions, have become completely different than they were 30-40 years ago. Nowadays, even with "diamonds in your pocket" you can't go far. The one who knows how to use all his capabilities and resources is ahead of the competition. Who is committed to intensive and dynamic movement forward, "smart" technologies, modern logistics, diversified cooperation with partners around the world. He is looking for new directions, modernizing production, investing in the development of entire territories, and not individual mines, highways, factories or holdings.

In Yakutia, they understand this very well. In the strategy of socio-economic development of the region, adopted two years ago, the stake was made on the diversification of the economy and new principles of spatial development. Among the priorities is the organization of the resettlement of people and productive forces in a cluster system based on a full range of industries and infrastructure. At the same time, globally competitive basic sectors of the economy are obliged to adhere to the principles of rational use of natural resources, to show high social responsibility.

The strategy is designed for a large-scale perspective - until 2032, with a “target vision” - until 2050. But its first fruits are already being felt. Even despite the difficult global environment and the damage done to the entire economy by the coronavirus pandemic, the republic is demonstrating a steady growth in key indicators of its development. And "holds the blow" in spite of unfavorable external circumstances.



The main donor of the republican budget, ALROSA, which gives it up to 40% of tax revenues, faced serious difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic. Sales of rough and polished diamonds in key sales markets dropped sharply, and the crisis has engulfed the entire world diamond mining. Nevertheless, the company was able, with the support of the federal government, to reduce inevitable losses, fought for every employee and did not allow a critical level of staff reductions. In 2020, almost 16 billion rubles were allocated to the budgets of the republic and eight of its uluses, which are shareholders of ALROSA, as dividends for 2019.

“For us, Yakutia always remains a native republic, we are interested in its development, we will continue to contribute to this in every possible way. Everyone needs time to recover. We have a recovery plan, it is being implemented, ”Aleksey Dyachkovsky, Deputy General Director of ALROSA, told the media.

Being able to come up with a sensible plan and stick to your goals is the most important part of success. According to the forecasts of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, Yakutia, even adjusted for the coronavirus, has every opportunity to ensure 4,5 percent economic growth in the next five years. According to this indicator, the region is now in seventh place in the country.

The decisive factor was that over the past seven years, the republic has been strengthening all the industries on which its well-being depends. Industrial production is actively growing - by 11,1%. In 2019, the growth of coal production in comparison with the previous year was 15%, oil - 16,1%, gas condensate - 10,7%, gold - 21%, silver - 9,7%. For eight months of 2020, the industrial production index amounted to 105,5% relative to the corresponding period of 2019 (excluding diamond mining). The growth of the index was mainly provided by the extractive industries. The most impressive figures were achieved in natural gas production, where production volumes grew 3,2 times.

Since 2018, Yakutia has been in the top three among Russian regions in gold mining, and is not going to give up these positions. The growth in gold mining is due to the increase in production capacity at the enterprises of Ryabinovoye LLC (part of Seligdar PJSC), Polyus Aldan JSC (part of Polyus PJSC), Neryungri-Metallic LLC and Rudnik Taborny LLC (part of Nordgold SE).

According to the Union of Gold Producers of Yakutia, following the results of six months of 2020, gold mining companies of the republic received 13,9 tons of gold, which is 13% more than in the same period last year.

At the same time, there is a result that is especially important. It is no coincidence that the head of Yakutia, Aisen Nikolaev, called it historical in one of his speeches. Last year, for the first time, the contribution to gross regional product from oil and gas production exceeded the volume of revenues from the extraction of other minerals, including diamonds. Today the hydrocarbon component of Yakutia's GRP is almost 22%. Experts see this as a clear manifestation of positive tendencies, which the new economic strategy of the region was aimed at. The implementation of a number of large projects in various fields has given impetus to the diversification of the economy, to the development of related industries and the accelerated creation of infrastructure in the entire region - the largest in Russia in terms of size, but at the same time very difficult in terms of climate and sparsely populated.



One of the long-term and large-scale projects is the development of the Elga coal deposit, one of the largest in the world (its reserves amount to 2,2 billion tons, including more than 75% with the share of coking coal according to JORC standards and 97% according to the classification of the Russian Federation). The total investment in its development is about 90 billion rubles. It is planned that by 2023 there will be mined and fully processed up to 45 million tons of coking coal per year. According to the Elga Coal company, which is developing it, it was possible to avoid any serious impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the project, the work is being carried out in accordance with the intensive development plan. Over the seven months of 2020, more than 2,4 million tons of coal were mined.

Coal from the Elga deposit goes both to the domestic market and is exported to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, about which agreements and agreements have already been reached with partners from these states, primarily China. It is assumed that the total tax revenues to the budget of the republic from the implementation of this project will amount to almost eight billion rubles annually. About 20 thousand jobs will be created, a well-developed infrastructure will be built, including railway branches and stations, power lines, new rotational camps.

The implementation of the project was far from easy. Affected by the transition of the company from one owner to another and the need to change constructive solutions that did not correspond to the project. The general situation on the market, difficulties with the shipment of products by rail with closed borders and a sharp reduction in transportation, also added a negative impact. Negotiations with foreign partners were difficult. The leadership of Yakutia has made every effort to solve the problems. With the participation of federal authorities, special working groups with a high level of authority have been created. As measures of state support, it was proposed to preserve the status of a regional investment project for the Elga development, as well as expand the boundaries of the South Yakutia ASEZ. A number of other measures will be taken to ensure the successful implementation of the work plan.

In September this year, another significant project in the field of the coal industry was launched in Yakutia - the first stage of Russia's largest coal mine Inaglinskaya and the Inaglinskaya-2 concentrator with a processing capacity of six million tons of coal per year.

The project of the anchor resident of the South Yakutia ASEZ, the Kolmar Group of Companies, is rightfully considered the most ambitious project of the country's coal industry - there have not been such construction projects since Soviet times. It provides for a phased increase in mining capacity to 12 million tons of coal per year. This will allow Russia to confidently gain a foothold in the top three world leaders in the production and export of coking coal.

Simultaneously with the commissioning of the mine and the mining and processing plant, Kolmar launched one of the largest coal terminals in the country in the Vaninsky District of the Khabarovsk Territory. At the first stage, a complex for transshipment of coal with a capacity of 12 million tons per year was commissioned. The second stage, which is scheduled for 2023, envisages an increase in capacity to 24 million tons. Together with the Inaglinskaya coal mine and the Inaglinskaya-2 mining and processing plant, the VaninoTransUgol terminal forms a single production and logistics complex for the extraction, processing, transportation and transshipment of coal for export to the APR countries. High-quality coking coal of Yakutia is in demand in the steel industry. Today Kolmar is actively cooperating with the largest metallurgical companies in China and Japan and is negotiating the supply of coal concentrate to India.

In Yakutia, they intend to increase capacities in the extraction of rare earth metals. The Tomtor rare-earth metal deposit in the Olenek ulus in the very north of the republic is being prepared for development. Its development is provided for by the strategy of socio-economic development of the Arctic zone of Yakutia until 2035, which was signed by the head of the region Aisen Nikolaev on August 14, 2020. The inferred resources of Tomtorskoye are estimated at 154 million tonnes of ore with high contents of scandium, niobium, terbium and yttrium. Even with intensive development, this is a reserve of years for.

By 2022, it is planned to build two mining enterprises on the Tomtor resource base, including the Krasnokamensk MMC in the Trans-Baikal Territory, which will process ore. As of today, all preliminary work and studies have been completed, the necessary project documentation has been prepared, and Vostok Engineering is proceeding directly to the implementation of the project. The plans are to ensure the extraction, processing and transportation of 2023 thousand tons of especially valuable ore by 160. Investments in Tomtorskoye will exceed eight billion rubles.

After reaching full capacity, the Buranny section, which will be the first to be commissioned, will provide up to 16% of the world niobium market and up to 3% of the world market for other rare earth metals.

For the fuel and energy complex of Yakutia, the further development of the Chayandinskoye gas field in the Lensky region of the republic plays an important role. Its reserves are about 1,2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, as well as the accompanying helium, more than 60 million tons of oil and condensate. The Power of Siberia gas trunkline, which was solemnly put into operation in the presence of the presidents of Russia and China, supplies Yakut gas from this field for export and for the domestic market of the Russian Federation. In addition, Power of Siberia is a basic resource for the program for the development of gas supply and gasification of the republic for 2021-2025. In the coming years, this program will begin gasification of 21 settlements in the Aldan, Lensky, Olekminsky, Neryungri regions of the republic. It will launch the formation of a further program for 2026-2030. By 2030, in accordance with the instructions of President Vladimir Putin, the gasification of Yakutia should be completed.



As for new technologies in management and attracting investors - they are certainly demonstrated by the practice of territories of advanced development. The new Far Eastern economic instrument in Yakutia has proven its undoubted effectiveness.

Support for residents of the ASEZ "Yakutia" and "Yuzhnaya Yakutia" will continue. The borders of the latter are planned to be expanded taking into account the prospects for the development of the Elga coal deposit. The government of the republic has repeatedly stated that it is interested in the localization of new industries within the ASEZ, primarily those aimed at the intensive development of processing facilities. The leaders of the republic also consider the implementation of large infrastructure projects a priority task for the coming years. First of all, the construction of a bridge across the Lena River, which will create a large transport hub and integrate three federal and five regional highways, a railway line and an international airport into the overall transport network of Russia. The road network in the cities of the republic and between settlements will also be radically updated.

All these and many other measures are part of a well-thought-out policy designed for many years to come. It is aimed at the integrated development of the region, the creation of new high-tech jobs even in the most remote areas. In order not only to "revive the investment climate" in the region, but also to achieve the main goal - in the foreseeable future to increase the level and quality of life of people who live and work in Yakutia.

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