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Polyus plants over 1.6 million pine saplings in Yakutia

8 September 2021
Polyus plants over 1.6 million pine saplings in Yakutia

New legislation in Yakutia has enabled mining companies operating in the region to start planting trees in reforestation activities.

As September the best time to plant trees in Yakutia, Polyus Aldan’s reforestation team seized their opportunity to create a new forest. However, as this process has not previously been done in Yakutia, there were no nurseries of saplings and it proved difficult to find specialized contractors with the necessary qualifications.

Fedor Bastrygin, Legal Director at Polyus Aldan, commented:

“There are few companies in Yakutia who really understand the importance of reforestation and the methods required to successfully accomplish this. We have established successful business relations with our contractors and achieved impressive results over the past few years.”

The new law allows for reforestation by gold miners anywhere, however, given the wildfires in Yakutia this year, Polyus Aldan is prioritizing this region. This summer alone, the Company planted 1.6 million pine saplings and expects over 85% of these to survive to full maturity.

Andrey Anufriev, Senior Reforestation Expert at Polyus Aldan, commented:

“We are confident we will see strong results as we carefully cleared space for the saplings to be comfortable and have their own space to grow. They were originally planted in greenhouses at Khabarovsk, ensuring a healthy start to life and increasing their chances of survival.”

Dmitry Dianov, Deputy Director of the Growing Forest Company, explained:

“The seeds we used were collected in the local area, meaning that they are conditioned to survive here and they were delivered to and from the greenhouses in temperature controlled trucks. Polyus chose the Naldy area of the Neryungri district due to the effects of wildfires eight years ago; the damage was so extreme that vegetation did not begin to grow again until 13 years later.”

Andrey Mikhailov, Forestry Director in Yakutia, commented:

“Polyus Aldan undertook the task to recover the forest, and the reforestation project has already covered 781 hectares, bringing a new forest to life to replace the burnt taiga.”

Andrey Konoplev, a ranger in the Neryungri forest, planted saplings with a root-balled tree system last year, which have recovered well from the cold winter and grown considerably since then. A camp for 22 forestry experts is set up nearby. However, successfully planting the trees and for them to survive their first winter is not the milestone it may seem for these experts. They take great care of the saplings for years to come.

Yulia Zdorova, Head of Corporate and Property Management at Polyus Aldan, said:

“Our targets will be achieved in 2027 and the reforestation project will be deemed completed, and this land will officially be classified as forest.”

Pine trees are quick to grow and, over the next five years, the mountains in Yakutia will be covered with their first ever artificially planted forest. For the trees to grow to full size in the harsh and cold weather conditions of Yakutia would be a great success.

Polyus is proud to play its part in helping the local eco-system to recover after the devastating wildfires, but is not complacent with this progress. The Company is already looking for potential additional areas for reforestation next September.

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