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Strategy of Chukotka

About the diversification of Chukotka's economy, about what the impetus for its development can give the reduction of energy tariffs, argues the governor Roman Kopin

Strategy of Chukotka
Photo: TASS / RIF-2017
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug (ChAO) is the most polar, coldest and, perhaps, the most exotic of all the Far Eastern regions of the Russian Federation. And yet - one of the most disciplined in financial terms: in the structure of the state debt of Chukotka there are no bank loans and borrowings in the form of securities, only budget loans from the federal center. Moreover, in two years the regional government was able to reduce the debt on them by 22%, by the end of the year the amount of debt will decrease by more than a third. By what means? Governor of Chukotka Roman Kopin told EastRussia about this, as well as about the peculiarities of the development of a unique region.

Dossier EastRussia. Roman Kopin, 43 years old. Born in Kostroma. In 1996 he graduated from the Volgo-Vyatka Academy of Public Administration with a degree in State and Municipal Administration. Graduated from the Finance Academy under the Government of the Russian Federation in 2008 with a degree in Finance and Credit. From December 2001 to 2003 - head of the Chaunsky district of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. From 2003 to 2008 - the head of the Bilibino region. From April 2008 to July 2008 - Head of the Regional Department of Industrial and Agricultural Policy. On July 13, 2008, he was unanimously approved as the governor of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. On September 8, 2013 he was elected governor. On September 24, he took the oath and officially took office. He was awarded the Order of Honor by the decree of the President of the Russian Federation. Married. Raises a son and daughter.

- You are more than eight years old at the helm, and All this time show enviable managerial qualities. They say you have a plan ...
Ten years ago, the Development Strategy of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug (ChAO), calculated up to 2020, was developed and adopted. We consistently implement the plans outlined in this document. Of course, we correct them with the current correction. But on the whole we are successfully moving in the specified trunk direction. Regional priorities - subsoil use and export orientation.

Clear objectives and clearly stated objectives in the Strategy allowed us to safely overcome the consequences of the crisis of 2008-2009, to minimize losses from the sanctions 2014 year.

Last year, and this can not but rejoice, the region's accounts payable fell by a quarter.

Due to what we do it? At the expense of our own efforts in the economic sphere. In recent years, regional growth in gold mining and other metals production has brought stable revenues to the district budget. Part of them we are letting to close the debts.

Subsoil use is the backbone of the Chukchi economy ...
Exactly. The strategy for the development of Chukotka was developed by representatives of the previous management team. We also contributed - some additions, clarifications in the course of development of the economic situation. But I will tell you at once - we, like our predecessors - took into account and take into account the experience of other regions similar to Chukotka in terms of climatic, demographic and economic indicators. Of foreign, it is, first of all - Alaska, Iceland and the north of Canada. Of the Russian - Magadan region, Kamchatka, Yakutia. There are such boundless expanses, low population density ...

We took and take into account also the dynamics of gold prices and the dynamics of the exchange rate. Until recently, it was possible to make generally correct predictions, both in respect of the first and second.

In the dry residue of our comparisons and calculations, the main conclusion crystallized: it is necessary to focus on gold mining and strive to ensure that its volumes aspire to the indicator: 35 tons per year.

By the extraction of gold Chukotka in first place in Russia?
Exactly. The peak figures were in 2014 and 2015 years: 32 tons per year. In 2016, a little less precious metal was mined - about 30 tons. For comparison, in the crisis year 2008, this figure was just 4,5 tons! More than six times the increase in production over eight years - there is something to be proud of.

Optimism in terms of gold mining is inspired by the fact that we are ready to launch new projects related to the development of such large deposits as: Kekura, Baimka, Sandstone.

Geological exploration of the subsoil that is already being developed gives good forecasts. For example, the Kupol gold and silver deposit (operated by the Canadian company Kinross Gold), launched in 2008, according to the estimates of those years, showed a life horizon until 2015. But according to the latest geological exploration data, there will be enough gold here until 2022.

Approximately a year and a half ago, the territory of the Chukotka Peninsula was established as a territory for advanced development. Is the number of residents increasing? In what sectors?
In the TOP "Beringovsky"  It occupies most of the urban district of Anadyr and the Anadyr municipal district - today there are twelve resident companies. The amount of the declared investments is more than 12 billion rubles. Companies vary greatly in scale, ranging from large to micro. And in appearance - from coal mining enterprises to hotels.

If we talk about anchor residents, these are, first of all, the companies Beringpromugol and Port Ugolny, established by the Australian coal mining company Tigers Realm Coal. They have already started mining coking coal at the Fandyushkinskoye field open pit. On a wider scale, we are talking about the development of the Amaam deposit in the Bering coal basin in Chukotka.

Many of your colleagues are interested in when will the export of shipped coal abroad begin? And as soon as the navigation opens, it will begin. While this will be relatively small volumes - about 200-250 thousand tons per year. But in the long term, five to ten years from now, shipments can reach a million tons or more.

The development of two mixed deposits (gold and silver) in the north of the Anadyr municipal district is also underway in the TOP mode. The residents are LLC Rudnik Valunisty and LLC Intekhcoms, subsidiaries of the Millhouse Group.

Another resident - the company "StroyInvest-Energy" - will invest 43 million rubles in the reconstruction of the Chukotka wind power station (VES), which supplies electricity to the village of Ugolny Kopi and, in part, the city of Anadyr.

In a recent interview to our agency representatives Tigers Realm Coal They complained that too stringent requirements from the side of the border authorities prevented exports (border rules apply throughout the territory of the Chukotka Peninsula). How to deal with this?
Certainly, we, representatives of regional authorities, have to solve the misunderstandings arising between business and various controlling bodies. And it should be noted that in this case we are helped significantly by federal structures: the presidential envoy to the Far East Yuri Trutnev, the Minsk region and the Ministry of Transport ... In the end, all the disputable issues can be successfully settled. We hope that the export of coal will begin without delays on the part of the border guards.

Prospects of exporting a million tons of coal and more - how is it necessary to invest in the development of port infrastructure !?
We are talking about tens of billions of rubles. Indeed, to extract 200 or 400 thousand tons of coal is not such a difficult task. But taking them out of Chukotka is already problematic. If only because the navigation period in the Far North lasts only from July to November. Secondly, the port infrastructure needs modernization. The resident companies established by Tigers Realm Coal took over the construction of the road adjacent to the port. We will help to build an additional power transmission line at the expense of the regional budget. The municipal authorities will undertake the task of providing temporary housing to those participants in the construction work who need it. But as regards the arrangement of the quays, which are in federal ownership, we will have to negotiate with the Rosmorport department. That is, it will be necessary to build up and modernize the logistics infrastructure. Basically, at the expense of the investors themselves.

- Planned growth of coal mining is impossible without Attraction of human resources from outside. Do PAO have programs that support resettlement of specialists from other regions to Chukotka?
- We have a lot of people from the Donbass working in the coal industry. For example, at the coal mine - this is in the village of Ugolnye Kopi Anadyrsky district - they make up about a quarter of the mining team. And most of them found employment there, arriving in Chukotka after the well-known events in Ukraine.

What kind of help-support do we provide them? Indirectly, first of all, the regional authorities help enterprises. And those already - to their labor collectives. We are talking about the allocation of funds to pay lifting wishing to find a job here, people from other regions of Russia, or from Donbass.

We also assist companies in organizing refresher courses for newcomers. We mobilize regional officials to promptly resolve issues related to the issuance of necessary documents to the migrants.

- Another mode of economic stimulation is the "Free Vladivostok Port" (SPV) in the territory of Chukotka, which has been operating since recent times. Did the residents appear in it?
- Yes, the port of Pevek, the northernmost port of Russia, has been declared free. But there are no registered residents here yet. I think one of the main reasons for this is the stricter conditions for joining FPV compared to the TOP. I believe that, taking into account our regional specifics (harsh climate, low population density, predominance of subsoil use in the regional economy), the green light in FPV can be given to various types of business, not just those focused on logistics.

- The value of Pevek as a port, probably, has increased?
- It is becoming the focal point of all Far Eastern logistics. All cargoes for and from gold-bearing and polymetallic deposits, such as Kupol, Mayskoye, Baimka, Peschanka, are transshipped through Pevek. This includes gold-bearing concentrate, building materials, machinery, products, and equipment ...

Now, as you know, Bilibino NPP is gradually being decommissioned and replaced by a more powerful floating nuclear power plant (LNPP) Lomonosov, whose hydrotechnical elements will be located on the coast near Pevek. The grand joint project of RusHydro and Rosneftegaz requires regular delivery of construction materials, and this also activates the operation of port facilities.

- The energy supply system is being actively modernized in the region. What will be created as a result?
- It is assumed that the power system of the Chukotka Autonomous District will consist of the following elements: a floating nuclear thermal power plant in the city of Pevek, a reconstructed Chaunskaya CHPP (also in Pevek) and a Pevek-Bilibino power transmission line, generating facilities (already under construction) in the city of Bilibino, Promising gold deposits of Kekura and Peschanka, plus the combined power system of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug and the Magadan Region.

- And all this instead of Bilibino NPP, which in terms of capacity  Is two to three times less than the energy system being created, but it is only half loaded?
- This is for now. But such powerful projects related to subsoil use are looming that they will require a lot of electricity. In particular, as you know, the development of the Baimskaya mining zone (gold and copper deposits near the Baimka River) on the territory of the Bilibinsky district of the PrJSC involves the construction of the largest industrial enterprise in the region - the Baimsky mining and processing plant with all accompanying transport and energy infrastructure (joint project of LLC GDK Baimskaya (Baimskaya licensed area) and ZAO Basic Metals). The planned processing capacity of the plant is 60 million tons of ore per year.

And if today the aggregate capacity of the unloaded Bilibino NPP is 48 MW, and the LNPP Lomonosov being built for it is 70 MW, then only commissioning of the Baimsky GOK in 2020-2021 will require a capacity of 60 MW. And in 2025, when the second stage of the GOK is launched, it is already 220 MW!

Therefore, without unifying the power capacities with our closest neighbor - the Magadan region - can not be avoided. The interregional energy bridge project, by the way, will be presented at the Eastern Forum in Vladivostok in September this year.

- The quality of life in the Far East, including Chukotka, in spite of the grandiose economic projects, is not getting better. It still lags behind the average Russian level.
- Judge for yourself - neither bank loans nor logistics costs are getting cheaper. The main method of delivering food to Chukotka is by air. It is very expensive. Yes, we fundamentally provide the so-called "northern delivery" - the delivery of food and consumer goods along the Northern Sea Route. But not all of the required range of products can be delivered this way. The purchasing power of the population (despite the average pay in the district of 80 rubles) leaves much to be desired. The price of one jar of yogurt in local stores is 000-250 rubles.

Therefore, we, the representatives of the regional authorities, are doing everything possible to ensure an acceptable subsistence level in the district. Several years ago, a regional law was passed, the essence of which: if a person works for one rate in the region, then his income can not be lower than the subsistence minimum. We try to ensure that both working citizens and pensioners do not experience difficulties in providing themselves with a diet that is necessary for a full-fledged life.

This is not an easy task, but we solve it. Thanks again, industrial growth in the main industry - subsoil use. Thanks to this in the district, income from taxes is growing. On the budget filling in recent years, has also been working and rising prices for gold, and the exchange rate ...

- There is information, why it is still not fulfilled The federal law that regulates the cost of electricity in the Far East to the average Russian level?

- As far as I know, now this measure is being implemented at the stage of preparation and coordination of all necessary documents. Alignment of Far Eastern energy tariffs will de facto take place after the officially announced date - 1 January 2017. But, for the entire period of validity of old tariffs, regions will be paid a difference at the expense of the federal budget. At least, Yuri Trutnev promotes this approach in the government.

Indeed, the sooner the Far East, Chukotka in particular, begins to live and work at the tariffs in force today in the European part of Russia, the brighter its prospects in terms of investment, economic and social development.

Because wherever you look - everywhere a weighty part of the costs falls precisely on electricity: 20-40% in the cost of any product. Therefore 13 rubles per kilowatt hour or 3 ruble - is there a difference? In the gold mining industry, this reduction in energy costs will lead to the fact that it will make sense to develop deposits even with a minimum gold concentration of 1-3 gram per ton. They will simply become profitable.

That is why we, in fact, are running a power line from Bilibino to the Baimka field. Within a radius of 100-200 km from this transmission line - subject to lower energy tariffs - there will be a comfortable zone for doing any business, an attractive space for investment.

- How effective is the transport problem for the people of Chukotka today? I mean, first of all, the availability of domestic air travel?
- Domestic passenger air transportation in Chukotka is completely a zone of responsibility of regional authorities. We calculate the value of tariffs, ensure the safety of flights, determine the composition and number of aircraft fleet, the frequency of flights.

Today, one way ticket costs the passenger from 3 to 5 thousand rubles. This is in view of the fact that the regional budget compensates for the transport operator 50% of costs.

Inside the Far East, we have a well-established communication with Magadan and Yakutsk (relevant flights from Anadyr). In April-May we are waiting for the regional airline Aurora to come to our market. We hope it will help us establish a permanent communication with Khabarovsk and Vladivostok.

- A couple of years ago, a law was passed that prescribes to compensate the residents of the district the cost of air tickets for flights on vacation. How does he work in Chukotka?
- This law is valid, but in relation to only representatives of the public sector. Although, within their powers, the regional authorities also compensate the costs of air travel to other categories of citizens, for example, to large families. In commercial companies, it is executed as far as companies can.
By the way, Yuri Trutnev, as Deputy Prime Minister, instructed in February the Ministry of Transport and the governments of the Far Eastern constituent entities of the Russian Federation to prepare proposals for the implementation of an effective scheme for subsidizing air travel within the Far East through co-financing from the federal and regional budgets. Now our specialists from specialized departments make the appropriate calculations.

- Chukotka and tourism. Are these two concepts compatible? For example, do visitors come from neighboring Alaska or from more distant corners of the planet?
- We have tourists from both Alaska and Europe ... But if we talk about the most widespread tourist format, it is cruise tourism. Large "white liners" often dock on our shores, if this is included in their cruise program. What attracts them? Exotic, of course. When will you still be able to visit a walrus rookery, observe up close the life of polar bears, whales, seals or killer whales, visit picturesque Eskimo settlements (there are only three of them left), cheer for the participants in dog sled races or get acquainted with the life of Chukchi reindeer herders.

- How much, by the way, is this industry now developed on the peninsula?
- Reindeer herding is one of the main attributes of Chukotka. Basically, this type of livestock is occupied by indigenous people. There are reindeer-breeding sovkhozes, which provide an economic basis for the life and work of large groups of the population. Is this type of activity profitable? While it is difficult to say, but we are trying to bring to our land the effective experience of other northern countries, for example Finland or Sweden. There, reindeer herding has long been a profitable business.

And today our reindeer herders are building, one might say, successful partnerships with colleagues from these countries. Their specialists come to us, ours to them. The plans for the coming years are to create a joint company with representatives from these countries, which would meet the most modern industry standards, on the basis of a reindeer herding farm in Pevek. It is the largest in Chukotka, with 26 thousand heads.

We are going to take the first step on this path already this year - to build a slaughter complex in Pevek. Its main product will be meat, with which we want to export over time. Deer tenderloin is a delicacy product, in Europe it costs 80 euros per kilogram. And, of course, by-products - hides, bones, deer antlers - are also a very valuable commodity, with which it is very profitable to enter the foreign market.

- Returning to subsoil use as the main economic component - will there be enough gold reserves for a long time?
- Chukotka, despite the seemingly stable perception of it in the mass consciousness as a "golden region" - in fact, little has been studied in terms of the content of minerals here. Not more than 5-10%. In other words, for geological prospecting - the field is not plowed here.

But large companies do not always take the risk of investing in geological exploration: what if the game is not worth the candle, and considerable funds have been spent. The state, on the other hand, sometimes simply does not have enough funds for something else besides the development of infrastructure.

Therefore, in my opinion, small but mobile companies not burdened with bureaucracy and cumbersome structure should be allowed here. We are talking about the so-called junior companies that successfully operate in gold mines around the world. With the help of these market players, it is possible to explore and then develop relatively small deposits, but which will bring a stable income to the district budget for a long time.

I think that after lowering Far Eastern tariffs for electricity to the average Russian level, such companies will have an additional incentive to invest in the mining industry of the Far East.

By the way, on April 27 this year Moscow will host the II annual conference "North-East: Development Territory", organized by the governments of the PrJSC and the Magadan industry. Here we will tell you in detail what preferences and economic benefits can be obtained by those who dare to invest in our mining industry.

EastRussia help. The Chukotka Autonomous District (up to 1980 is a national one) was formed 10 December 1930. The status of an independent subject of the Federation is from 17 June 1992 year. The status was confirmed in 1993 by the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. The territory of the Chukotka Peninsula is 721,5 thousand km2. The district occupies the territory of land between the lower reaches of the Kolyma in the west and the Dezhnev Cape in the Chukchi Peninsula, as well as the islands: Wrangel, Aion, Arakamchechen, Ratmanova, Geralda and others. On land, the region borders the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Magadan Region and the Kamchatka Krai. From the state of the United States of Alaska, Chukotka is separated by the Bering Strait. The population of the PAO by state as of January 2017 is 49 724 people. (The population density is 0,07 people / km2 (2017) .The economy of the ChAO is based on the mining industry.China-Bilibino economic zone has concentrated reserves of non-ferrous and precious metals, and Anadyrskaya has the main coal deposits - over 4 billion tons. According to the data of geological prospecting, the local The reserves of tin and tungsten are the largest in the country, and the copper deposit -  One of the largest in the world. The potential of the copper deposit is almost 32 million tons. Resources of gold - over 2000 tons.
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