Key Project-related impacts on the environment and society, which were identified during the ESIA Scoping study are briefly outlined below. These impacts will be assessed in detail during the ESIA. Measures to prevent, mitigate or offset expected negative impacts will be also developed and presented in an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP).
Impacts of the proposed mine and processing plant on ambient air quality would be caused by dust emissions (e.g. from the TSF surface, drilling and blasting, in-pit mining operations, ore and waste rock hauling, etc.) and emissions from fuel burning equipment (carbon oxides, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides).
The Project would contribute to the climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide and methane) arising from fuel burning in vehicles and equipment, consumption of electricity by the proposed mine and processing plant facilities and the thawing of permafrost after pre-stripping and topsoil removal for the on-site facilities.
Impacts on surface water would be caused mainly by the construction and operation of the TSF; the expected impacts of the facility would include direct impacts on the Peschanka-Yegdegkych River and its tributaries, the valleys in which the facility will be built, and potential indirect impacts on the other watercourses crossing the license area.
The Project would also have a potential impact on groundwater within the license area. The hydrological regime may change due to raw water abstraction for domestic purposes, dewatering of open pits, and groundwater inflows to the open pits from subpermafrost aquifers intersected by mining operations. Groundwater quality may change as a result of seepage of contaminated water to groundwater aquifers underlying the TSF site, ore stockpiles, waste storage areas and other sites..
Biodiversity impacts would include, inter alia, impacts on vegetation (forest clearing at the sites of proposed facilities, dust deposition and inhibition of plant growth around the areas with intensive dust emissions), on wildlife (including scaring terrestrial animals away from the mine and processing plant site), on ecosystems (habitat loss, and potentially increased risk of anthropogenic fires), on biological resources (possible unregulated wild plant harvesting and poaching).
Impact on soil cover would result from the irreversible transformation of disturbed lands and risks of leaks/spills of hazardous materials (especially fuels) used on site.
The Project would result in several positive socio-economic impacts e.g. increase tax revenues (up to 9 billion Rubles per year), creation of new jobs (up to 5,000 jobs at the construction stage and between 200 and 1,000 jobs during the operations phase), increased demand for goods and services including freight transportation services. Potential negative impacts may result from workforce migration: increased incidence of social diseases, increased load on the existing social infrastructure, and risk of social conflicts.
The potential impact on indigenous people would be caused by the proposed access road to the mine and processing plant site crossing lands traditionally used by the Burgakhchan Community as pastures for reindeer farming.