Decision : CONF 201 V.B.29
Kamchatka Volcanoes (Russian Federation)
The Bureau recalled the report by IUCN at the twenty-first session of the World Heritage Committee reviewing a proposed mining project, the location of which was determined to be about 5 km outside of the Bystrinsky portion of the World Heritage area. The location of the mine will disrupt migratory wildlife that inhabit the region and impact fishery resources. IUCN has been in contact with proponents of the mine and has had a request from Canada regarding financial service support that could be provided by the Export Development Corporation (EDC). In this request it is noted that "as a critical first step in their due diligence, and in determining whether such support would be available for the project, EDC wants to be assured that it would not be contravening Article 6, paragraph 3 of the World Heritage Convention." The report of IUCN mentioned the issue of development project loans from various export credit agencies.
As requested by the Committee at its last session, the Centre had asked the State Party to provide detailed information on the proposed mining project, particularly on EIAs carried out and other pertinent information. The Centre informed the Bureau that a letter from the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation stated that at present there are no plans to carry out significant geological and operational work in areas adjacent to the World Heritage site which may result in negative ecological impacts. Should such work be carried out, all necessary arrangements will be made to observe existing laws and regulations In addition, a letter of 18 June 1998 from the Governor of Kamchatka reiterated the Kamchatka Administration’s commitment to the protection of the site and the support of the controlled development of the Aginskoe gold deposit. Furthermore, it stated that a formal environmental assessment of the project has been carried out. The final design of the project will be only made taking into account IUCN’s comments. The Governor stated that the development of the gold deposit does not put the World Heritage site at risk and that it is desirable because of the economic development needs of the region.
The Bureau noted the information provided by the Russian authorities and requested the Centre and IUCN to continue maintaining their contacts with the State Party and bring to the attention of the Committee details concerning the EIA carried out on the project. The Bureau expressed its concern to the Russian Government and the Regional Administration of Kamchatka over the potential consequences of the proposed mine, and recalled other cases of natural World Heritage sites threatened by mining proposals.