Jade outlawed

Federal agencies have undertaken for the decriminalization of jade mining in Buryatia. The annual volume of illegal export of stone abroad several times higher than the official catch.

Russian law enforcement agencies interested in the possible fraud with Buryat nephritis, contests for the use of fields which are regularly canceled, but it is actually illegal mineral development on many millions of rubles.

Jade is a high mineral. It, in particular, very difficult to break into separate pieces. The stone is usually used for ornamental and decorative artwork. The advantages of jade can also include the wealth of its natural shades and colors — from green to red and blue.

Before the revolution the jade is mainly imported from China to Russia, where he was always considered a sacred stone. One of the Chinese proverb reads, in part: "Gold has a price, jade — is priceless." Even medal of the Summer 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were the first time in the history of sporting events were inlaid with jade.

Even in Tsarist separate reservoir rock found in Siberia. It is now known that the vast majority of Russian deposits of jade (estimates vary from 90 to 95%) is in the territory of Buryatia. Found it in these places almost by accident during the construction of the Baikal-Amur Railway in 1960.

Serious interest in jade appeared only in times of restructuring. However, the industry over the years has been badly criminalized — not least because of the strong demand for minerals from China. Cost per pound of jade, depending on the variety can range from a few dozen to several thousand dollars.

Authorities in the region have tried to streamline the jade market. In 2009-2010, they recognized that the mineral are trafficked mainly for export to the Middle Kingdom in its raw form and developed plans on how to take quarrying under full control. In 2009, the head of Buryatia Vyacheslav Nagovitcin announced, the need to "once and for all sort out with jade" and was planning in 2010 to put on a professional basis the process of extraction and processing of minerals.

But in 2011-12 has not changed the situation radically. Even strengthening customs inspections led only to the fact that the mineral have been actively exporting through other subjects of the federation. Law enforcement bodies of the republic stated, that the responsibility for irregularities in the jade mining administration, as Russian law does not refer to the precious mineral or semi-precious stones.

In the decriminalization of the jade industry had to engage federal agencies. The inspections found violations of the Russian Prosecutor General‘s Office in this matter on the part of the Federal Agency for Subsoil Use (Rosnedr) and its regional management — Buryatnedr. A Russian Interior Ministry officers raided the main office of the agency, one of the "jade" cases and made a seizure of documents.

In January 2013, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office demanded Rosnedr suspend the right of subsoil use in connection with violations of license conditions by their users.

According voiced even earlier to the official representative of the supervisory authority Marina Gridneva, it was found that in 2011, spent nine Rosnedra auctions for subsoil use in Buryatia containing jade.

In the activities of auction participants, according to the Prosecutor General, revealed violations of the law on protection of competition. The checks, in particular, revealed "a concerted effort to overestimate the size of one-time payments for the use of natural resources and the creation of a situation entailing the annulment of bidding."

According to Marina Gridneva, had been sent to the FAS Russia and the Russian Interior Ministry to check for evidence of a crime under Art. 178 of the Criminal Code (the prevention, restriction or elimination of competition).

In addition, during Rosnedra competitions for the right to use subsoil nefritosoderzhaschimi in 2012, according to the version of the General Prosecutor’s Office, violated the law on combating corruption.

In particular, the authority to sign contracts on the advance in the competitions on the Oka and Bauntovsky areas, according Gridneva, not the employee has been granted control of subsoil use in the Republic, and one of the deputy heads Rosnedr, previously served as the head of the local government Bauntovsky district as well as the Minister of Natural Resources Buryatia.

Apparently, here we are talking about the current management adviser Rosnedr Alexander Popov — Vladimir Bavlove, who held almost all of these posts, except for the last (in the autumn of 2001, he was deputy chairman of the Republican Committee on Natural Resources). In addition, Bavlov was a senator from Buryatia in 2001-2004.

The situation with Bauntovsky site was generally similar to the entangled detective. Order Rosnedr to hold the 2012 competition in this area, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office did not specify the order of the competition committee and a place to view the terms of the tender. But the commission was included Deputy Minister of Natural Resources of Buryatia, released in 2011 from his post and dismissed from the civil service, highlighted by the agency.

Moreover, the documents for participation in the competition presented by applicants, employees Rosnedr simply lost. On this fact, and the Interior Ministry opened a criminal case under part 1 of article. 325 of the Criminal Code (theft, destruction or concealment of public documents committed by mercenary or other personal interest).

Were opened, and other interesting details. When checking the documentation for tenders and auctions for subsoil use in areas Bauntovsky Shestopalovsky and it turned out that it was included incorrect information about the subsurface sites and their geological characteristics. "These violations contributed to expand the boundaries of the producing fields, the implementation of the illegal mining of jade outside the licensed areas," — said Gridneva.

There are other violations. Since the autumn of 2012 in Buryatia, the investigation into the theft case management of family and tribal communities Evenk "Dylacha" Bauntovsky in the area of jade weighing at least 20 tons. During the investigation at the warehouses of the community police discovered more than 1.5 tons of illegally mined jade stone worth more than 3 billion rubles.

In general, according to official data, the country annually produces about 270 tons of the mineral.

Prosecutor General’s Office has its claims, and officials Buryatnedr. They are, according to a representative of the supervisory authority, if there are reasons not to take measures to bring subsoil to the statutory liability, did not inform the management of RPN in the Republic of irregularities, raised the question of early termination, suspension or restriction of the right of subsoil use.

In addition, workers Buryatnedr and the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Republic, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office improperly issued licenses for subsoil use for the collection of mineralogical, paleontological and geological collection of other materials in the areas of deposits of jade.

Such license Bauntovsky, Oka, Muya areas allowed to carry out illegal extraction of minerals from the use of heavy machinery and blasting. Volumes "collect" jade, according to the supervisory authority, testified quarrying on an industrial scale.

"As a result, at the present time in the fields of jad
e stone in the country mainly engaging in illegal extraction of raw materials, it is almost processing, widespread illegal methods of implementation, followed by mineral smuggling. Experts estimate that about 700 tons of jade annually illegally exported from the country," — Gridneva noted.

It is difficult to say how successful prosecutors will work in this direction. But it is worth noting that in November 2012 in Buryatia in one day has been renewed more than 50 "jade" cases just after the intervention of the supervisory authority.

In the near future the decriminalization of the jade industry are going to strengthen cooperation in the matter of several federal agencies. In the ad hoc working group of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, established in January 2013, included representatives of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, RPN, Rosnedr, the Russian Interior Ministry, the FSB and the Russian Civil Code "Russian Technologies".

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