Siberian Official: Multimodal Transport Corridors Are A Strategic Must For Russia

1 de may de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>Siberian Official: Multimodal Transport Corridors Are A Strategic Must For Russia</h1><p>May 1 (EIRNS)--Following up the April 24 conference held in Moscow on Megaprojects of Russia's East: Intercontinental Eurasia-America Transport Link Via The Bering Strait, First Deputy Chairman of the government of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) Gennadi Alexeyev gave an interview that day to Konstantin Kirillov of FK-Novosti. It was also published April 28 on the Sakha News portal, under the headline, "Construction Of A Rail Line From Yakutsk To Uelen Is A Strategic Project Of Federal Significance." Uelen is a village of 500 people on the Chukotka side of the Bering Strait.</p><p>"Without transport connections," Alexeyev said, "there will be no social and economic development of Russia's Northeast." He explained that transport accounts for 70-80 percent of the cost of production of goods and services in Yakutia, as against a national average of 25 percent.</p><p>Construction of a railroad line from Yakutsk to the Bering Strait, with a spur to Magadan, "should be viewed as a strategic project of Federal significance," Alexeyev said. "This railroad will make it possible to develop the natural resources of a huge area of Northeast Russia, which are currently cut off from their markets." These include gold, polymetals, gold-antimony deposits in the Adycha-Tarynsk zone, and copper-tungsten deposits in Agylky. Yakutia also has platinum, graphite, apatit, uranium, tin, phlogopite, rock crystal, precious stones, and raw materials for the construction industry. Likely hydrocarbon and iron ore deposits remain to be prospected.</p><p>Asked about the impact of globalization on Siberian development, Alexeyev said, "As for globalization and Russia's pending entry into the WTO, it is necessary to develop competitive industries, not only mining, but also processing. In the Far East, especially in the initial stages, business is difficult even without the globalization factor. Major business projects here can only be done by world-class companies, and with certain preferential treatment by the government, regarding taxation, as well as co-financing of the infrastructure projects."</p><p>Because of the huge distances in Yakutia, with its three time zones, and in the rest of Russia's East, Alexeyev said that "the only efficient approach will be to build mainlines in a single transportation corridor. This principle is beginning to be implemented in Yakutia now. In particular, the VSTO [East Siberia - Pacific Ocean] pipeline is now under construction in southwest Yakutia, as is the Vilyuy highway, which has been given federal status, and which will link Yakutia and Irkutsk Region, simultaneously serving as a road along the pipeline route, for developing the oil and gas fields.</p><p>"There's no question but that in the same corridor there will be a gas mainline, a major electricity transmission line, tying in the Vilyuysk Cascades Hydroelectric Station and the Irkutskenergo Hydroelectric Station, and a railroad from the Lena Station (port of Osetrovo, city of Ust-Kut) to the city of Lensk."</p><p>Echoing Dmitri Mendeleyev's famous remark about the civilizing effects of railroad construction, Alexeyev pointed out the catalytic role of infrastructure in society: "It was shown during the experience of building the South Yakutsk Coal Complex, that the construction of major transportation lines, especially railroads, leads to rapid growth of industry in a region, and to its social and economic development.</p><p>"At the present time, there is only one Federal highway in the northeastern part of the Asian continent, the Yakutsk-Magadan road, and not a single bridge has yet been built across the major rivers of Yakutia and Magadan Region. Most of the settlements are accessible only by water or air. They get power from hundreds of diesel power plants, at a cost that's an order of magnitude higher than on average in Russia."</p></div></body>