Olkon, a resident of the Russian Arctic Zone, is developing the Pechegubskoye field
The development of the Baim ore zone in Chukotka will not only strengthen Russia's position in the international market but will also radically transform the country's Arctic territories.
03.04.2023 // Chukotka's unique natural resources have been known since Soviet times. The largest complex gold-copper deposit, Peschanka, in the Bilibinsk district of the Chukotka Autonomous Area, was discovered back in 1972. Later, geologists discovered the Baimka copper porphyry area on the banks of the Baimka River. One of the richest in the world. It includes 13 deposits with a resource potential of 23 mn tons of copper, as well as gold, molybdenum and silver resources.
The Baimskaya copper porphyry area includes 13 deposits. The most promising and explored of these is Peschanka. It is here that the construction of the Baimsky mining and processing plant is planned.
Due to the 'economic inexpediency' of the territory, which is far away from the country's industrial centres, the development of the deposits has been postponed until a better time. Such times only began in 2019 with the arrival of a profile investor.
This project, which involves the creation of Russia's largest and most modern mining cluster, is being implemented in close partnership with the federal and regional authorities. Particular emphasis is placed on the development of infrastructure, which is sorely lacking above the Arctic Circle. It will stimulate the development of the entire Far East and the country's Arctic territories for decades to come. Baimskaya Mining Company intends to invest over RUB 731 bn in this project.Georgy Fotin, General Director of Baimskaya Mining Company LLC
'The construction of the Baimsky mining and processing plant is a large-scale and technically unique project that will give a new impetus to the social and economic development not only of the Chukotka Autonomous Area but also of the entire Far East. It is a new growth point on the map of our country. At the same time, we try to integrate ourselves into the harmonious life of the Arctic region without disturbing the ancient customs and distinctive economic ways of the indigenous peoples.'»
Even before mining started, Baimskaya Mining Company set about developing the infrastructure. An airstrip has already been built at the field to carry personnel. In March 2023, IrAero Airlines operated its first flight from Magadan. The first phase of the fuel storage facility was put into operation. The construction of a vehicle depot has been completed and trucks have been purchased. A new settlement for 5,000 people with all amenities is being built. In a few years—at the peak of the construction of the mining and processing plant—over ten thousand well-paid jobs are expected to be created in the region, including for Chukotka residents.Yuri Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister, Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District
'The development of deposits in the Baim ore zone is the largest investment project in the Far East. This is the future not only of the Russian economy but also of the region where the project is being implemented, as well as its inhabitants. The construction of the mining and processing plant will attract more than RUB 731 bn in investment to the Chukotka Autonomous Area. The project will increase Chukotka's gross regional product by 100 per cent, making the region subsidy-free.'»
The construction of 430 kilometres of road from the field to the projected marine terminal at Pevek, the port of Chaun, has begun. It will not be the usual 'winter road' in the Far East but an all-season highway, and thanks to the year-round port, local residents will be able to forget about the concept of 'winter delivery.'
In March 2023, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed an order to finance the construction of a marine terminal at Cape Nagleinyin in Pevek, the port of Chaun. Funding will be used to build cargo berths and purchase navigational equipment, as well as to carry out hydraulic engineering works to deepen the water area, build a dam and an approach channel. This is where copper concentrate and other metals will be transshipped from the Baimsky mining and processing plant for onward shipment via the North Sea Route.Mikhail Mishustin, Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation
'A new marine terminal in Pevek will make it possible to bring the unique Baimskoye deposit to its design capacity and to ship at the terminal up to 2 mn tons of metals mined there. This will create new jobs as well as modern transport infrastructure. And, as a consequence, the capacity of the North Sea Route will increase.'»
Georgy Fotin stresses that the Baim project is not called a strategic project by accident. It involves the creation of highly productive jobs and generates multi-billion-dollar orders for domestic industry. In addition to floating nuclear power plants, icebreakers and ice-class bulk carriers will be needed to transport copper. Companies—including small businesses—are already popping up in Chukotka to feed, clothe and provide for the project workers. If all the elements come together, our country will have a huge multiplier effect in the coming years.
The Baimsky mining and processing plant will be the backbone of a new industrial cluster. Its construction is included in the Strategy for the Social and Economic Development of the Far East and the Baikal Region, approved by a decree of the Russian Government. When the plant reaches its design capacity, it will boost the country's copper production by a quarter and increase exports by many times, strengthening Russia's position on international markets.