The Gold Rush is about to be reignited in Russia, as the parliament has passed a new law which could open a number of old mines across country to individual gold-diggers.
The aim of the law is to help the far-flung regions where the mines are located. Most of the regions that boast the valuable resource (among them Chukotka, the republic of Sakha, Magadan region, and Sverdlovsk region) are underdeveloped. The industrial towns built around the mines have proven unable to provide a decent living for their residents.
The idea behind the project is to allow individual entrepreneurs to make use of old mines which were abandoned by the industry. Although gold deposits there have been nearly exhausted, there is still some gold left – not enough for industrial use, but quite a lot for non-commercial mining, such as tourist and adventure digging.
At the moment, the old mines are used illegally, and there is a big black market of illegal gold.If the digging activities are legalized, the money could be redirected to local budgets. In addition, entrepreneurs who would get hold of the mines could create new jobs, helping the local population make a living.
“The main idea is to provide work for miners who have been employed in the industry for more than 50 years,” Aleksandr Matveev, head of Federation Council on the North, told RT. “Also, we need to decrease levels of illegal extraction and stop people from fleeing these regions by giving them a way to provide for their families.”
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