11 September ‘20

MMK helps to preserve biological diversity

The programme provides for the implementation of activities in the following key fields:

* Restoration and development of biodiversity in the Ural river and Magnitogorsk Reservoir;

* Conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in the territories surrounding MMK's facilities;

* Planting of greenery the city of Magnitogorsk.

Commenting on the project, Mr. Shilyaev noted: "This programme is a logical continuation of MMK's activities aimed at creating a favourable environment in the locations of the Company's assets."

One of the key elements of the programme is the restoration and development of biodiversity in the Ural river and Magnitogorsk Reservoir, which in 2015 was awarded the status of a high-quality fisheries facility. As such, the reservoir can be used for catching particularly valuable species of fish or for their artificial reproduction.

To radically improve the water quality of the Magnitogorsk Reservoir, MMK implemented the "Reconstruction of the circulating water supply system with expansion of the cooler reservoir" project in 2016-2018 at a total cost of more than RUB 600 million. In doing so, MMK managed to achieve the maximum degree of protection for the Magnitogorsk Reservoir from the influence of MMK's wastewater and confirm the absence of the plant's wastewater in the Magnitogorsk reservoir from November 2018 to present.

With the aim of increasing biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems, MMK, in coordination with Nizhneobskiy Territorial Administration of the Federal Agency for Fisheries (Tyumen), stocks the Ural river and Magnitogorsk Reservoir with young carp, which is an indigenous species and one of the most valuable species for fishing. In the period from 2018 to 2021, about 800 thousand carp with an average weight of 10 grams will be released into the Magnitogorsk Reservoir.

In 2020, an experiment is planned to release 12 thousand specimens of young grass and silver carp into the circulating part of the Magnitogorsk Reservoir. Grass carp and silver carp are herbivorous fish that feed on green algae and phytoplankton. They prevent the overgrowth of algae in the reservoir and destroy dead plants, which increases the oxygen content in the water. The results of the experiment justify fish-breeding and biological stocking of the Magnitogorsk Reservoir on the Ural river with additional fish species.

In 2020, experimental biomeliorative work was carried out to plant 2000 seedlings of Eichornia water hyacinth in the circulating part of the Magnitogorsk Reservoir. Eichornia seedlings improve the quality of water as natural sorbents which purify the water from dissolved pollutants.

Based on the results of the experiment, a specialised organisation will determine the optimal sites for placing aquatic plants, as well as which species to plant and how many of each species. In 2021, there are plans to purchase and plant new types of aquatic plants, as well as to track their impact on water quality in the circulating part of the Magnitogorsk Reservoir.

Another area of the programme is the conservation and improvement of biodiversity in the territories surrounding MMK's facilities.

In 2020-2021, the specialised organisation will perform a comprehensive environmental survey and develop measures aimed at preserving, restoring and improving biodiversity, including:

* A survey of the territory and approval of the list of indicator species;

* Research and monitoring of indicator species;

* Identification of species of flora and fauna to be preserved and restored;

* Development of measures for the conservation of biodiversity. Defining control points to evaluate their effectiveness.

* Publication of public reports with the participation of interested parties in discussing the results of the work.

The proposed measures to conserve and improve the state of biodiversity on the territories surrounding MMK's facilities will be implemented in stages until 2025 and will be funded by the plant.

Planting the greenery in the territory of Magnitogorsk is an important part of MMK's environmental activities. MMK, together with the city administration, is implementing a large-scale greening programme in Magnitogorsk to plant approximately 11 thousand saplings and shrubs across the city by 2023. Total investments into the project are estimated at RUB 57 million.

Over the past three years, more than 6 thousand trees and bushes have been planted on the territory of Magnitogorsk as a result of MMK's landscaping projects. These efforts have introduced various species to the city, including seedlings of ash, Norway maple, linden, birch, Siberian spruce and rowan.

The planting works are carried out by a firm from Yekaterinburg, while the trees are sourced from nurseries in Kazan and Perm. In addition, MMK provides maintenance and watering support, as well as the replacement of planting material when needed.

This year, a large-scale tree planting campaign is planned for late autumn, when it will be easier for plants to adapt to their new environment. Almost 2 thousand seedlings of Norway maple, birch and Siberian spruce will be planted.

The planting programme is an integral part of MMK's Clean City initiative, which aims to reduce the level of atmospheric pollution in Magnitogorsk to values corresponding to the definition of a "clean city" by 2025.

MMK pays great attention to restoring land that has been damaged as a result of human activity. As part of the programme to recultivate depleted land along the western quarry of Magnitnaya Mountain, the Company has carried out biological recultivation across an area spanning 154 thousand sqm, and planted 5.6 thousand tree seedlings (ash, birch, apple) as well as 5.9 thousand shrubs (acacia and rosehip) on the territory. The cost of this programme amounted to RUB 85 million.

By 2025, the entire depleted area along the Western quarry of Magnitnaya Mountain, which is estimated at 1.5 million sqm, will undergo a process of biological reclamation, which involves the creation of a screening and fertile layer (also known as the agrotechnical stage), followed by the sowing of herbs and planting of shrubs and trees (the forestry stage) on the territory.

By implementing measures to preserve biodiversity, MMK demonstrates an environmentally responsible approach, contributes to the sustainable development of the surrounding area, and makes an effective contribution to the restoration and maintenance of the diversity of life on Earth.

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