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In Developing Deposit, Alrosa Considers the Reindeer
The diamond miner has made “outstanding arrangements” to outfit the wild reindeer that live near Verkhne-Munskoe with radio collars so they can be tracked.
Moscow--Alrosa is taking special measures to ensure the safety of the wild reindeer that populate the area around what is now the Russian mining company’s largest development project.
The Verkhne-Munskoe deposit is located in the Republic of Sakha in Siberia in far northeastern Russia, which is already home to a number of diamond mines. The kimberlite field there is estimated to contain about 40 million carats of diamonds.
As it develops the deposit, Alrosa said it will take measures to preserve the way of life for indigenous people and maintain the diversity of the local ecosystems, which includes the Leno-olenekskaya tundra’s population of wild reindeer.
The proposed site of construction for the approach road to the Verkhne-Munskoe deposit cuts through an area of “vital activity” for the wild reindeer population.
To ensure the animals’ passage from one pasture to another is as safe as possible, Alrosa said it will make “outstanding arrangements” to introduce special radio collars for the reindeer.
In order to implement the program, scientists had to obtain more accurate information about the spring and autumn migration patterns of the wild reindeer who populate the area. This allowed them to pinpoint the number of reindeer migrating in the area, where on the road they were crossing most--minimizing the chance for collisions--and to create crossings with gentler slopes.
Now, a reindeer migration tracking system that uses Russian Pulsar satellite radio collars will be introduced to allow monitoring of the mammals while vehicles are driving on the road. The collars employ GLONASS (Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema; basically, Russia’s GPS) technology to transmit the reindeer’s locational data and route every 20 minutes.
Alrosa said it doesn’t hurt the animals when the collars are put on and they fall off automatically when the battery expires.
“Such an experiment is the first in Russia, and it was launched in Yakutia (Sakha),” said Alexander Fedorov, Alrosa’s deputy chief engineer for environmental protection.
“Similar measures are being implemented by Alrosa’s Udachny Mining and Processing Division that finances flying around the areas of reindeers’ location coordinates … When scientists report that reindeer have entered the division production area or started crossing the site access road, the division is brought to a standstill so as to ensure that reindeer pass freely through the industrial territory.”
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