A large goldminer in the Republic of Tyva, a region in the south of East Siberia, seems to end up with losing its license. The patient Federal Agency for Subsoil Usage has just sent out another warning to a gold-mining company Tardan Gold so far and let it fix everything that had been violated in a decade and a half of its work within twelve months.
In fact, after Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage (Rosprirodnadzor) got the results of the inspection by the Federal Subsoil Agency, Tardan Gold doesn’t have any options. The impressive list of its license breaches has aroused involuntary suspicions -- the company's top managers are either losers or real sharpers because it was obvious that all these secrets would leak out sooner or later.
Rosprirodnadzor did a check in July and August of this year. As a result, the act of August 13 has been adopted. It turned out that the soil thirty meters downstream from the place of wastewater discharge from the Tardan gold deposit was polluted with a dangerous substance, namely, sulfate ion.
The grinding complex operated without mandatory gas purification. Even the available gas filtration equipment was used as if it had been foisted by the enemies -- no technical documentation and no regular inspections at all. Moreover, there was no stuff appointed responsible for all of the above.
The inspection has revealed the excess of the permitted limit for benzapyrene in the smoke-laden boiler-room – and it was the tip of the iceberg. According to the inventory figures of 2017, the company was not doing any in-process and environmental control of the emission of pollutants. In the same way, the goldmine developers handled the waste: according to the documents, Tardan Gold has invented a method of waste-free gold mining, for which all the employees of the company, from its owners to workmen, will earn enormous sums of money. In simple terms, there was no waste statistics data for 2018 and the first half of 2019. In addition, no refuse dumps have been entered to the state register of waste disposal sites at all.
Certainly, Rosprirodnadzor has found out what had happened with the Tardan waste products. If some of them could be burnt they were burnt in the same place where people worked. Consequently, the workers had to breathe in the poisonous fumes. If not (for example, wastes of hazard classes IV-V), they were just dumped on the outskirts of the workers' settlement. There was a pile of garbage from the office and personnel facilities, from homes and building materials, as well as used tires, scrap metal and other byproducts of civilization.
Tardan Gold did not pay any disposal fee for the waste – for thousands of tons of disposal tips. The company has “forgotten” to pay for the horrible environmental impact associated with the emissions of all sorts of pollutants into the air. Since 2016 fake information has been included in the declaration of this fee.
If during next year Tardan Gold fixes all these issues, it will remain its license. If not, the company will loose everything.
Tardan Gold, registered in 2004, has a great history. Including a criminal one. This is not surprising, taking into account its closeness to “gold dust.” For example, in 2011, Rosprirodnadzor and Federal Security Service did a joint check there. They discovered there the stocks of sodium cyanide which had been used to dissolve and derive gold from ore. However, the poison can always be used for other purposes.
Interestingly, Tardan Gold had no documents for it. Mikhail Khaiserverin, Tardan Gold’s director, and Alexander Eremin, the executive director of the parent firm (TsentrAziaGoldPromStroy LLC), decided that instead of all that paperwork for sodium cyanide, it would make sense to hand over some the papers of some other kind – the bills issued by the Central Bank of Russia – to an officer of the Federal Security Service (FSB). However, either the offer was too small – just 200,000 rubles, or the officer turned out to be a man of principle, but both managers ended up on the dock.
After Khaiserverin, Tardan Gold had another four directors. Its incumbent head – the fifth one -- is Oleg Lebedev. There is also a new founder: the Swedish Public Company Auriant Mining Ab LLC (Auriant Mining Ab). Lebedev, by the way, holds the post of CEO in one more company, the corporate parents of which -- Kara-Beldir LLC (founder of Awilia Enterprises Limited (Awilia Enterprises Limited, Cyprus)) – are located in offshore zones. It is registered at the same address in Tyva as Tardan Gold.
However, the former parent company of the controlling company Central Asia Gold had been also registered in Sweden. Foreign capital for gold mining in Russia was provided by Tomsk businessman Mikhail Malyarenko, who once had managed to obtain a license for the geological study and mining of vein gold at the Tardan deposit in Tyva. Meanwhile, the modus operandi of the company has remained unchanged over the years, despite the changes of its management and founders, with both parties continuing to violate the law.
In addition to Rosprirodnadzor that discovered in August an array of malicious license violations, other supervisory agencies visited Tardan Gold in vain, too. Thus, a couple of weeks ago the Russian Federal Agency for Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo) discovered that the company built a highway across the Sorlug-Khem river leading to the tank ore leaching area of the Pravoberezhnoye deposit -- without doing prior studies studying of authorization documents. As a result, they “forgot” to run the river into the pipe, which was supposed to be two meters in diameter and almost thirty-eight meters in length under the project documentation.
In June, the regional committee for forestry didn’t find mandatory firebreaks in the areas rented by the company. In June, Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Oversight of Russia (Rostechnadzor) recorded forty violations - from the lack of necessary log entries to the absence of supervision at the construction sites. Construction works had been done without approving conclusions of by appraisal missions but with the access of uncertified workers to welding.
Surprisingly, Rosprirodnadzor already inspected Tardan Gold in May, but did not find any violations. Interestingly, did it inspect the site jointly with the Federal Security Service?
The founder of the brilliant Tardan Gold is the Swedish gold mining parent company Auriant Mining AB, which focuses on geological exploration and gold mining in Russia. The company's projects are located in the Trans-Baikal Territory and the regions of Khakassia and Tyva. Companies founded by Auriant Mining AB are registered in Moscow (Aurient Management Company LLC), Transbaikalia (GRE-324 LLC, Rudtechnologia LLC) and Khakassia (Uzhunzhul LLC).
Additionally, the magic happens on the website of the respectable Swedish company Auriant Mining AB. There are five photographs of its directors of with their surnames on the Russian version of the site – but none of them is of Russian origin. The sixth one suddenly appears out of nowhere on the English site: Andrei Barinsky, a substitute member of the board of directors.
Barinsky is a well-known person in Moscow. He and his partner Vladimir Zubrilin are the owners of the Forum Properties development company that clandestinely took over the better half of the capital's real estate. As early as 2005, the business centers near the Kremlin generated an income of about $19 million a year. The company ranked 21st in the rating of the Moscow beneficiaries compiled by Russian Forbes. A year later, Forum Properties moved up already to the eighth place, with the income from renting the real estate growing to $66 million.
Zubrilin is a famous person, too. He is one of the founders of the company uchi.ru, well-known today to all parents of schoolchildren in Russia. This is a portal with tasks for children and teenagers widely promoted in every school. In order to achieve success on uchi.ru, students have to pay for some tasks. Can you smell the billions of rubles? Meanwhile, the firm showed a loss in 2018.
Additionally, just a few days ago, Forum Properties started the process of liquidation. An entry on it was made in the Uniform State Register of Legal Entities on October 29, made an entry about it. As the expression goes, aeterna memoria. At least for now, Mr. Barinsky, a well-known expert in non-conflict solutions of clearly conflict situations, has a job to do in the Tyva Republic.