July 28, 2015, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Today in the Sakhalin Provincial Court a hearing was held for an appeal filed by the Vostok-2 gold mining prospector partnership about the Smirnykh District Court’s decision to halt the gold mining operation on the Langeri River (http://ecosakh.ru/index.php/news-eco/item/1447-ekologi-cherez-sud-mogut-zakryt-zolotodobychu-na-reke-langeri).
This lawsuit was filed by Sakhalin Environment Watch in February 2015, and on April 23rd the court of original jurisdiction met the lawsuit’s demands in full after six hearings and an inspection of the mining operation site during a field hearing. The conclusions of the Smirnykh court were substantiated in a 51-page decision with detailed references to current Russian federal law and the materials of the case in eight volumes.
The Sakhalin Provincial Court, having heard the views of the parties and the position of Sakhalin’s Forestry and Hunting Ministry, delivered its verdict: the decision of the Smirnykh District Court stands without any change, and the appeal is denied. The court’s decision entered into legal force immediately after the announcement of the appellate determination.
Now the Vostok-2 gold mining prospector partnership is obliged to immediately cease all work on the Langeri River Lower Reaches Mineral Deposit Site and restore disturbed lands before October 31st, 2016.
Non-governmental monitoring shows that, despite the ongoing gold mining, the water in the Langeri River looks much cleaner and clearer at any time in the past 20 years. At the beginning of the 2015 field season the gold mining partnership radically changed the technology used for washing gold placers, built an extensive settlement pond for wastewater treatment, and ceased regular barrage discharges of wastewater.
Obviously, if the company had been in compliance with all environmental requirements and standards from the start and hadn’t polluted the Langeri, a valuable spawning river, the numerous complaints against it would not have been filed with state regulatory authorities and many months of court battles would have been avoided. Now its work must halt and the illegally violated riverbed, forest, and water resources must be restored.
During the trial it became clear that Vostok-2 has four other operating licenses for gold exploration and mining in the Smirnykh District, in the Langeri and Poronai watersheds, so there is no talk about the closure of the prospector partnership: it can continue to mine gold in other mineral resource blocks, strictly observing the Law.
For further information:
Dmitri Lisitsyn, telephone: + 8 (4242) 46-14-16, mobile +7 924 190 1022
Photos of placer gold development in the Langeri Valley can be seen here: http://www.sakhalin.info/news/104741
(Photos were taken from a helicopter in June 2015.)
Translated by Sara Moore firstname.lastname@example.org