Mr Kopin said that the region’s per capita GRP increased 1.5 times over the past five years to more than 1.3 million rubles, with gold mining averaging about 28 metric tonnes per year, which is about 10 percent of the overall gold production in Russia. These achievements enhanced the region’s taxable capacity and drove up revenue almost threefold, while debt to the federal budget dropped by 28 percent. Using proceeds from the mineral extraction sectors, the region increased spending on Chukotka’s traditional industries, including reindeer herding, and sea-hunting. Social spending also increased.
According to the Governor, the region is seeking to reduce its dependence on gold production, which is its single most profitable sector, as well as to put the regional economy on a more sustainable footing, and attract investment.
A number of projects to this effect are already being implemented, including in the coal industry. For instance, the Beringovskoye Priority Development Area attracted Tigers, an Australian coal company that last year launched coal extraction and exports to the Asia Pacific Region, including Japan, Korea and Taiwan. There is also a project to develop the Baimskaya ore area, a major porphyry copper-gold deposit. According to Mr Kopin, this project has strategic importance for Russia’s Far East as well as the Arctic.
The discussion also covered the state of social infrastructure, particularly healthcare and education.