The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) has a rich diversity of mineral resources and produces 99 per cent of Russia’s diamonds, worth annually US$1.5 billion and amounting to between 20‐25 per cent of the world’s output. During the period 1974 to 1987, ten “peaceful” underground nuclear explosions were made in the diamond province. One of these directly supported the diamond mining operations, but it “back‐fired”, contaminating the surface with radionuclides such as caesium‐137, strontium‐90, plutonium‐239 and 240, and americium‐241. Furthermore, the low level of implementation of existing environmental legislation by the diamond mining company has resulted in contamination of the river systems which are the key sources of drinking water, and has significantly affected the health status of the population, which may have long‐lasting consequences, as there is increasing evidence of genetic abnormalities. This paper investigates the exploitation of diamond reserves in the Republic of Sakha and its environmental, social and health impacts, and reviews the actions taken by the Government of the Republic to tackle these problems.
Yakovleva, N., Alabaster, T. and Petrova, P. (2000), "Natural resource use in the Russian North: a case study of diamond mining in the Republic of Sakha", Environmental Management and Health, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 318-336. https://doi.org/10.1108/09566160010372743Download as .RIS
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