"Fedorova Tundra": the platinum wealth of the Kola Arctic
The natural resources of the Russian Arctic have long been known for their abundance. Another striking confirmation of this thesis is the Fedorova Tundra platinum group metal deposit located in the Murmansk region. The history of its development goes back more than fifty years. Currently, the explored reserves of the deposit, according to scientists, exceed 348 tons of platinum group metals - primarily palladium, platinum and rhodium, 190,4 thousand tons of nickel and 276,8 thousand tons of copper.
The first studies of the Fedorova Tundra deposit, the discovery of which dates back to the thirties of the 1960th century, started in the XNUMXs. It was then that a large-scale geological and geophysical study was carried out, which made it possible to determine ore reserves and develop the first plans for its further extraction. However, rather harsh natural conditions and the lack of necessary technical capabilities led to the fact that further development of the field was suspended.
At the moment, the refined reserves of precious metals in the Kola Arctic are comparable to the deposits of platinoids in the Norilsk region. It is important to understand here that it is much easier to organize production in the Murmansk region than in Taimyr. Not far from the “Fedorovaya Tundra” there are developed mining cities of Monchegorsk, Kirovsk, Apatity, where there is a sufficient number of qualified labor resources. In addition, the advantages of transport infrastructure are visible to the naked eye; a developed network of roads and railways has been formed in the region. Also in close proximity are major ports (Kandalaksha and Murmansk).
In 2001, things got off the ground, the Canadian company Barrick Gold created CJSC Fedorovo Resources, which acquired a license to develop the Fedorova Tundra deposit. During the first survey, 167 exploration wells were drilled, which made it possible to estimate the proven value of palladium and platinum reserves at $27 billion. Already by 2010, it was planned to build two quarries and start building a mining and processing plant, but the global financial crisis prevented these plans. Since then, the implementation of this project has been frozen.
In addition, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that in 2008 the Federal Law “On Subsoil” was amended, which affected deposits of federal significance, including sites from a deposit of platinum group metals. Although Fedorovo Resources had previously acquired a exploration and production license, the new mining and development restriction amendments apply to areas with reserves placed on the state balance sheet since January 2006, which could also have caused the project to be suspended.
In the spring of 2020, the rights to develop the Fedorova Tundra, which were previously extended until December 31.12.2034, 74,9, were acquired by a Russian consortium of enterprises, which includes the Rostec structure. A subsidiary of the state corporation RT-Business Development created the joint venture Fedorovo Holding (25,1% of shares from Fedorovo Minerals LLC, 2022% from RT-Business Development) and acquired a license from CJSC Fedorovo Resources to the deposit. At the beginning of 99,99, businessman Andrei Komarov (member of the board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs) bought 99% of Fedorovo Minerals LLC; before that, XNUMX% of the company’s shares belonged to Oleg Seleznev and Alexey Gostevsky, who are its founders. This information allows us to better understand the main pool of project participants and potential investors who are interested in the further development of the field.
Subsequently, interested parties declared their readiness to invest 60 billion rubles in its development and begin design and survey work. The volume of state support to compensate investors for infrastructure costs should amount to 6,135 billion rubles. The consortium plans to start production in 6-7 years, by 2027. It is planned to build two open-pit ore mines and a mining and processing plant with a capacity of 15-16 million tons at the deposit. As a result, 1200 new jobs will be created in the region. All activities related to the development of the field and the construction of the necessary infrastructure are carried out under the personal control of the head of the Murmansk region, Andrei Vladimirovich Chibis. It is expected that the region’s budget will be replenished by 90 billion rubles during the project’s implementation.
The following activities are planned for 2203-2026: Glavgosexpertiza of the project, purchase and supply of equipment, construction of a power transmission line and a highway (repair of 30 kilometers of a dirt road leading to the Fedorova Tundra, laying 85 kilometers of a high-voltage power line) and construction of the mining and processing plant itself .
The main advantages of this project include the fact that most of the investments will have a positive impact on the socialeconomic development of the entire Lovozersky district of the Murmansk region, which in the future will facilitate the implementation of other mining projects in this area, which, taking into account all the natural resources of the Kola Arctic, there are quite a few.
It is also necessary to pay attention to the many tax preferences that are provided to residents of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation; this is the status that Fedorovo Resources has had since 2021. In addition, the Government of the Russian Federation provides financial support to investors in the Arctic, consisting of a non-repayable subsidy of up to 20% of their investments. This option is valid if the company invests at least 300 million rubles in polar projects.
Despite all the advantages, Fedorova Tundra still faces a number of problems. One of them is the environmental aspect. The opinions of leading environmental organizations often appear in the media, they express concerns about the possible negative impact on the environment and the local population, which, given the difficult climatic conditions and the fragility of the northern nature, is of increased importance. There is a need to develop and implement environmentally friendly of technologies mining and processing of ore, which is why the parties interested in the implementation of the project regularly hold meetings with representatives of the public, proving the environmental safety of future production.
Summing up, I would like to emphasize that the creation of one of the world's largest industrial complexes for the extraction of platinum group metals will stimulate the further development of the mining and metallurgical industry in the Murmansk region, improve the credit rating of the region and contribute to the development of the regional supplier services market.
- Author: Viktor Anufriev