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There is no limit to perfection

The head of the concern "Arbat" - about the history of the enterprise, its modern development and the conditions of gold mining in Russia

25 years of industrial activity was celebrated Kolymsky industrial and commercial concern "Arbat" in April 2018 year. For a quarter of a century, this company has become one of the largest gold mining enterprises in the Magadan region. Last year, 3 tons of gold and 16 tons of silver were extracted from the mineral deposits of the concern, and these figures are growing every year, which is largely due to the continuous development of the production program and the introduction of modern gold mining technologies. These processes need to be improved on a regular basis, and there is no limit to this, - says the head of the enterprise Alexander Basansky, who told EastRussia about the history of the company, new projects being implemented, prospects for development of gold mining and "golden tourism" in the Far East, new technologies and social policy.

There is no limit to perfection
Photo: Courtesy of Alexander Basansky
- "Concern" Arbat "is one of the largest gold mining enterprises in the region. Please tell us a little about the history of the company and the fields being developed.

- Concern "Arbat" has been engaged in gold mining for the twenty-third year. In its first season of 142 enterprises in the region we occupied 139 place. Over the past 12 years, alluvial gold mining from the order of 130 of the remaining companies, we are confidently holding the second place.

In terms of total production, the first place in the Magadan Region is occupied by Pavlik, the second by Polymetal, the third by Susumanzoloto, and we are the fourth. When such a large enterprise as Natalkinsky GOK comes on line, we will be in the "golden five".

We started, in fact, from the first nail and car. Today we have a huge fleet of heavy equipment: we have more than 200 units of bulldozers, excavators, loaders, articulated dump trucks, BelAZ trucks and other machines. Almost a thousand employees are engaged in gold mining. We have about 30 licenses for gold and silver mining, as well as geological exploration. The plots are located in all districts of the Magadan Region, with the exception of Yagodninsky, Susumansky and Omsukchan.

Concern "Arbat" is an integrated company that "leads" gold and silver from the moment of geological exploration to its implementation in the form of jewelry and souvenirs produced at its own plant, and in the all-Russian rating of gold mining enterprises we occupy 15 place. It's an honor.

- During the Great Patriotic War, gold production in the Kolyma was a record - up to 80 tons per year. Is it realistic, in your opinion, to return to such indicators in the foreseeable future?

"If we really evaluate things, then our enterprises will not be able to get out to Soviet gold production in 80 tons. Now completely different resources. Earlier there were more rich deposits, most of which, unfortunately, have already been worked out. But in our power to extract 40-50 tons per year.

- "Concern" Arbat "produces both ore and placer gold, while the volumes of placer gold production are steadily declining. Is it possible to reverse this dynamic, if so, what are the conditions for this, and should it be done at all?

- Indeed, now there is a tendency to decrease the volumes of placer gold mining, but this can be radically changed, investing a lot of money in geological exploration. In particular, there must be a corresponding state program. Today, about 80% of funds invested in exploration are private capital. Remaining 20% - means of Rosgeology. With such indicators it is difficult to reverse the current trend.

- What do you think about the bill "On free gold", which has been at various stages of consideration for a long time? The industry will lose more or win in the event of its adoption?

- I consider this legalized theft. Why is the law still not adopted? Because many structures share this view. In the Magadan Region, none of the subsoil users spoke out in favor of a "free-fall". People should not shout that there is no work, but go to work for gold-mining enterprises, where good conditions are being offered today.

- How do you assess the prospects for "golden tourism" in the Kolyma? Is it realistic today to offer a tourist to participate in gold mining (in terms of law)? Do you receive such requests?

- Prospects for "golden tourism", in my opinion, are very high. Today in our country this is an unfilled niche. This kind of inbound tourism is popular in many countries of the world and we also need to develop it. Since 2015, we have been conducting gold washing competitions in Magadan "Staratelsky Fart" and every year they attract more and more participants and spectators from all over Russia and from abroad. For contestants, this is an opportunity to feel like a true prospector and literally for 15 minutes to become a millionaire, for us - to attract guests to the region. If we made such a "Golden Festival", then there is an opportunity to organize "golden tourism".

- Gold mining today is directly related to the development of technology: thanks to new developments, specialists have learned to extract gold from ore with low metal content. How it's done? What "innovations" do you use in your work?

"We are constantly improving our production program, which, of course, modern technologies are being introduced. Thanks to the work of a special group at our enterprise, we are introducing new methods that help to extract fine gold, fine gold, and more qualitatively to process metal. These are serious processes that need to be regularly improved, since there is no limit in this regard.

- How many employees are currently employed in production? Where do they live? Is the duty service used?

- There has never been a rotational method on placer deposits. The runners always worked full season, which lasts 6-7 months. This is the specificity that does not allow the shift work method. We have comfortable camps for employees, baths, satellite TV, all conditions for civilized work and recreation.

- What are the highly skilled specialists engaged in production? Where can you learn these specialties? Does "Concern" Arbat "conduct training programs for its employees? Who is most needed by the enterprise today, and do you feel a shortage of staff?

- There are personnel problems, of course, but we have a fairly high salary and we attract a lot of young people of the necessary specialties who are not trained in the Magadan region. We have graduates from Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, St. Petersburg. This year, five mining engineers graduated from the Northeastern State University, took on the summer practice and geologists. We hope they will get good skills. Annually many of our employees are recovering to study in the central regions of the country. Having received the necessary specialty and training, they return to work for us.

- Previously, geologists were "behind the romance" - young people were attracted by the craving for adventure, the spirit of pioneering. Is there a place for romance in modern gold mining? What attracts young people to this profession today?

"Romance is hardly anyone you can call today. Enthusiastic people are quite a lot, but usually they are representatives of the dynasties of miners. The most important thing for young people is a decent salary.

- What is being done for comfortable living of employees of Concern "Arbat"? Are there any special programs for those who come to work from other regions?

- Young specialists with higher education during the first four years of work undergo four re-attestations. After that they receive a high salary, service housing with good repair, a company car. Thanks to this, people work with pleasure and have incentives for work and self-improvement.

- In which social and other projects implemented in the Magadan Region, is your company invested?

- I am also a deputy of the Magadan Regional Duma and in those regions that I represent in the regional parliament, I finance various projects. In particular, in the village of Palatka, the Hasynsky urban district financed the development of design and estimate documentation, expertise and the initial stage of construction of a swimming pool. This is about 22 million rubles. We also intend to conduct the initial stage of the construction of the basin in Ola village of the neighboring district at our own expense. In addition, two sports complexes are being prepared for construction. Annually, the settlements of the Khasyn and Olsky districts are being improved, colossal funds are allocated for social programs, renovation of the housing fund, the erection and modernization of social institutions, churches, children's play and sports complexes. Creating comfortable conditions for residents, we encourage them to work in their own region, raise their children here. Our future depends on this.
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