The Arktika nuclear-powered icebreaker, the most powerful of its kind in the world, escorted a convoy of ships to the port of Pevek for the first time. The lead icebreaker of Atomflot, a Russian company that maintains the world’s only fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers, successfully piloted three motor ships, Yury Arshenevsky, Inzhener Trubin, and Polar King, which delivered general cargo to Chukotka for companies implementing investment projects in the region, Atomflot reported on 1 January. The voyage to Chukotka was the furthest east that the icebreaker has travelled.
“In 2021, Russia took over as chairman of the Arctic Council. One of the priorities of Russia’s chairmanship is to spur the region’s socioeconomic development. To this end, it is particularly important to develop infrastructure and sustainable shipping in the Arctic, including through the use of the Northern Sea Route as a transport corridor, and ensure safe year-round navigation,” said Adviser to the Russian President Anton Kobyakov, who serves as executive secretary of the Organizing Committee for the Russian Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
In particular, the Arktika delivered cargo for the further implementation of a major investment project to develop the Baimskaya ore zone in the Chukotka Advanced Special Economic Zone. Despite unusually harsh weather conditions, the project continues to be implemented in full swing.
The Baimskoye copper deposit is one of the largest undeveloped deposits in the world. In December 2021, KAZ Minerals CEO Oleg Novachuk presented a strategy for the project’s development to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The tax revenues to budgets at all levels will amount to more than a trillion roubles. This will increase Chukotka’s budget by one hundred percent and make the Chukotka Autonomous District subsidized for the first time. We plan to create new jobs for around 11,000 people during construction, and expect more than 5,000 people to work there during the operation of the project,” Novachuk said during a meeting with Putin on 2 December.
Private investments will amount to more than RUB 620 billion. The project’s implementation will increase copper production in the country by 25% and provide Chukotka with a year-round port, a road, new power lines, and high-speed Internet.
In 2027, the Baimsky mining and processing plant consisting of two factories with total capacity of 70 million tonnes of ore per year will open to develop the deposit. The plant’s construction is part of the strategy for the socioeconomic development of the Far East for the period until 2025.
The project will also contribute to the further development of the Northern Sea Route. The development of the deposit is expected to increase cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route by 2 million tonnes. Novachuk said negotiations are underway with Rosatom on the construction of an individual icebreaker that would serve the project as well as three ice-class vessels, which would make it feasible to deliver cargo year round.
In 2021, a new record was set for the volume of cargo shipped via the Northern Sea Route at more than 33.5 million tonnes. The federal project ‘Development of the Northern Sea Route’ calls for building infrastructure that would help increase cargo traffic to 80 million tonnes in 2024 and 110 million tonnes by 2030. The project is part of the Comprehensive Plan for the Modernization and Expansion of Trunk Infrastructure for the Period until 2024, which was developed in accordance with a decree from the Russian president.
As part of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023, 116 events are scheduled in 11 regions of Russia. In 2022, forums, congresses, student summits, roundtables, a professional skills championship, academic and research conferences, expeditions, and cultural programme events will take place. The largest event will be the 6th ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ International Arctic Forum, which will take place on 11–13 April in St. Petersburg.
The Roscongress Foundation is in charge of handling events held as part of Russia’s chairmanship in the Arctic Council.