Some 900 people protest against nickel development by UMMC in Voronezh last weekend

23 July 2013 (17:22)

July 23, 2013. About 900 people took part in a protect picket against nickel deposits development in Novokhopersk District, Voronezh Region last Sunday. The deposits are being developed by Ural Mining & Metallurgical Company (UMMC), RIA Novosti refers to the region’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs division’s press service as reporting.

According to For the Protection of the Khoper, an environmental group, some 3,000 people joined the protest.

In May 2013, Mednogorsky Copper & Sulfur Works (a member enterprise of UMMC) won the tender for the use and development of Yelanskoye and Yelkinskoye ore occurrences. Yelanskoye is estimated to contain 54,100 tons of nickel, 5,600 tons of copper, and 1,700 tons of cobalt in accordance with Category R1 standards. The area of the ore deposit is 28.9 sq m. Yelkinskoye deposit is estimated to have 393,800 tons of nickel, 54,600 tons of copper, and 14,400 tons of cobalt in accordance with Category R2 standards. The area of the deposit is 8.6 sq m.

However, the ore and nickel development plans turned out to be a cause of serious concern for environmental specialists and local residents. They believe the nickel ore byproducts might contain some compounds that are hazardous for human health, such as uranium and mercury.

On May 22, a picket occurred in protest of nickel ore development in a local village; the picket turned into a mass unrest. The police report some 1,000 people took part in the riot, setting two oil rigs and three trailers on fire.

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