Russian miner Nornickel received the country's first free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) for relocation from the indigenous community of Tukhard, a small settlement in the north of Taimyr Peninsula in the Arctic.
The relocation of the settlement, home to about 300 indigenous people mostly engaged in reindeer herding and fishing, is vital for local people due to the future sanitary zone around Tukhard's industrial facilities and current poor living conditions.
"Today, the Company and Tukhard residents have taken a huge step unprecedented in the Russian Arctic," Andrey Grachev, Nornickel's Vice President for Federal and Regional Programmes, said. "Now we have signed the FPIC agreement and can put all the discussions into action."
The whole process, which was launched in October 2021, included three rounds of consultations with local residents, mostly of the indigenous Nenets nationality, which unanimously supported the relocation and development programme. It also involved independent Russian and international experts, including Deputy Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Alexey Tsykarev, indigenous rights protection lawyer Mikhail Todyshev, and Antonina Gorbunova, the executive director the Union of Indigenous Peoples SOYUZ (KMNSOYUZ), which organized the FPIC process in Tukhard.
The first two rounds saw a presentation of the company's proposed several ways for Tukhard's resettlement and election of the Council of Representatives, which included both people who plan to relocate and those who want to stay in the area, including local reindeer herders, who are registered in Tukhard, but do not reside there as they permanently live in tundra. Due consideration of their interests was one of the key requirements put forward by international experts.
"Over the recent months, the Council of Representatives has held consultations with all the residents to discuss relocation, new infrastructure and the location for the new Tukhard. There is a lot of work ahead as the Council is the key link between the Company and the residents," Head of the Tukhard Council of Representatives Igor Yamkin said.
After the principled decision is made, Nornickel and local residents now proceed to choosing architectural solutions for the new settlement this year. The construction is expected to be completed in 2026.