Karelian Parliament: Postponed decision on uranium mining

Publish date: October 26, 1998

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

ST. PETERSBURG (Bellona Web): A Parliamentary hearing on the proposed vanadium-uranium mining in Srednaya Padma took place on October 20 at the Karelian parliament in Petrozavodsk, which is the capital of Karelia. The Parliamentarians postponed the final decision on opening a tender between mining companies At the same time they voted no to an opposing proposal, raised by the green faction in the parliament, to ban all the planned mining.

The hearing was attended by approximately 1/4 of parliamentarians. The issue is highly controversial. Several public groups are strongly opposed to the proposed vanadium-uranium project. They say it definitely will cause great damage to the environment and public health.

According to a press-note from the Antinuclear Campaign of the Socio-Ecological Union, the proposed mining project is also in conflict with the Russian legislation: Its environmental impacts have to be analysed and estimated by experts according to the law before this kind of industrial project can get permission to proceed. In this particular case, no such analysis has been conducted, claims the group.

During the hearing last week, local environmental groups protested near the entrance of the parliament against the mine. Two proposals were on agenda and put to the vote: The first proposal "for the continuation of the competition between mining companies and further research of the opportunities for mining in Srednaya Padma" was made by the governmental committee on nature protection. The second proposal "for the cancelling of competition between mining companies and to ban all the proposed mining operations in Srednaya Padma" was made by the green faction in the parliament. Parliamentarians voted no on both proposals and ordered another hearing to be held on the 3.-4. November.

"We aren’t satisfied with the result of the hearings because the Karelian Parliament in fact refused to ban an anti-environmental project which violates federal legislation" says Vladimir Slivyak of the Antinuclear Campaign of the Socio-Ecological Union to Bellona Web.