Strukov's "golden" avocados

A strange initiative can correlate with high-profile scandals about cyanide poisoning that accompany the activities of the Yuzhuralzoloto Group of Companies


A strange initiative can correlate with high-profile scandals about cyanide poisoning that accompany the activities of the Yuzhuralzoloto Group of Companies

As it became known to the UtroNews correspondent, the golden company of the notorious politician-businessman Konstantin Strukov "Yuzhuralzoloto" (UGK) plans to increase the production of the "yellow devil" by 60%.

But how? And how can this daring initiative relate to those high-profile scandals with cyanide poisoning that have accompanied the activities of Yuzhuralzoloto Group of Companies for the last 2 years at the Kurasan field? Or is Mr. Strukov so sure that he will not be taken for a "trunk" not only for numerous violations of environmental legislation, but also for a criminal attitude to the health of fellow citizens? After all, as it became known, on the lands contaminated with cyanides, Mr. Strukov began to grow vegetables, herbs and even exotic kiwis and avocados in the cooperative "First Freshness."

But failed. And in the end, he took up apples in the Kuban at Sady Chibia LLC.

A dash for Chinese equipment?

So, UGK plans to increase gold production by more than 60% by 2026.

Three projects should become growth engines - Kurasan in the Urals, as well as Kommunar and Vysokoe in Siberia. The implementation of these projects will allow the company to reach a new scale of activity, as well as reduce the cost of gold production due to economies of scale.

Strukov's "golden" avocados

SGC developments. Photo:

Recall also that the assets of GC "UGK" include deposits in the Chelyabinsk region (Svetlinskoye, Kochkarskoye, Bereznyakovskoye, Western Kurasan, Nailinsky, Oseysky, Altyn-Tash, Zaitsevskoye), Khakassia (OJSC "Kommunarovsky mine") and Krasnoyarsk Territory (LLC AS "Priisk" Drazhny, LLC Sovrudnik).

The shareholders are Ugold Limited and Evgenia Konstantinovna Kuznetsova.

The SGC website says that in 2023 the company completed a large-scale capital investment program. And there is such a recognition: company representatives disclosed information about the equipment. UGK does not use complex equipment from Western manufacturers. Chinese equipment is involved in production.

It is on such equipment that Mr. Strukov will strive for new, golden heights.

Brought tons of cyanide

Recall that almost 3 years have passed since Mr. Strukov brought a thousand tons of cyanide to the Chelyabinsk region. This "gift" to the region cost 200 million rubles. And - in fact - stopped agribusiness in the Chelyabinsk region.

Why did billionaire Strukov need so much poison?

Strukov's "golden" avocados

Cyanide barrels. Фото:

Cyanides are necessary for gold production using cheap heap leaching technology: ore is dumped on the ground and poured. Underground and surface waters are saved from pollution due to one protective layer. Sodium cyanide is a white powder, crystals or plates with the smell of bitter almonds. It does not burn, but forms a flammable gas upon contact with water. This is an extremely poisonous substance: it causes suffocation due to paralysis of tissue respiration.

And it is not the first day that the supervisory authorities have announced massive violations of industrial safety at the quarries and mines of the Yuzhuralzolota Group of Companies, which have already caused serious emergencies.

But the authorities completely turn a blind eye to the work of the dangerous industrial facilities of the Yuzhuralzoloto Group of Companies, which uses cyanide for gold mining: a gold recovery plant has not been built at the South Kurasan and West Kurasan deposits, but only heap leaching sites are equipped. And every year in the quarries and mines of the company, SGC employees die and become crippled.

Meanwhile, there is a more expensive and safe vat leaching, when the interaction of ores with acids occurs in a special container. Unscheduled inspections of Rostekhnadzor, which are carried out due to an emergency with employees of the SGC, have revealed numerous violations 12 times over the past 2 years.

"Second freshness" in Strukov

What else did Mr. Strukov think?

He decided to fill the grocery stores of the Chelyabinsk region with vegetables grown on the territory of a gold mining enterprise in Plast (where cyanides were recently found in the water).

And, despite the constant contact of the territory with hazardous substances, in 2016 the company "UGK" announced the implementation of a large agricultural project: it registered LLC "Agrocomplex Ecomodul."

Strukov's "golden" avocados


And she was going to build greenhouses on 10 hectares!

Strukov's "golden" avocados

Products from Strukov. Фото:

But experts ambiguously assessed the project.

On the one hand, in the Chelyabinsk region there is a lot of competition in the development of greenhouses. And it is difficult for new market players to compete with the Churilov holding, which ships vegetables and greens not only to stores in the Chelyabinsk region, but also delivers them to the centers of large retail chains in the Urals and Western Siberia.

Strukov's "golden" avocados


Even then, specialists had questions about the quality of land and water in the zone where gold is mined and enriched using toxic substances.

Soon, information appeared on the UGK website that the company would not only grow vegetables and herbs, but also develop a branded retail chain.

A pilot outlet was launched in the city of Plast, and all products were planned to be sold under the First Freshness brand.

In 2017, the director of the company, Rimma Panova, stated that thanks to the latest technologies, more than 50 products are grown. And as a result of the modernization of the enterprise, the volume of vegetable production increased 20 times! The range included leaf lettuce, dill, parsley, cilantro, basil, watercress, lemon balm, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, as well as exotic fruits - lemons, papaya, avocado and kiwi.

But then something happened: "First freshness" ordered to live long.

Mr. Strukov left the vegetable growers: LLC Sady Chibia was registered on the territory of the Krasnodar Territory.

Strukov's "golden" avocados


Apparently, Mr. Strukov took up orchards to raise prestige, because cyanides confidently went "to the people"...

"Golden" criminal cases

All in all, the kiwis and avocados played the box...

But the cyanides continued their march.

Recently, the Investigative Committee of Russia opened 2 criminal cases on poisoning people and the death of livestock in the gold mining area of ​ ​ the Yuzhuralzoloto mine near the Kurasan River.

The head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, Alexander Bastrykin, requested a report on the investigation into the poisoning of residents and livestock in the village of Smirnovsky in the Chelyabinsk region.

The cause of the incident could be the use of water from the territory of the gold recovery factory Kurasan.

The essence of the story. A fire broke out at SGC. And firefighters could pour water into their equipment from an ice-free illegal tailing dump. This tailings storage facility is located on the territory of the SGC.

And a year ago there was an emergency leak: chemicals got into the Kurasan River.

Due to a fire in the village of Smirnovsky, water supply was cut off.

Then, by order of the head of the settlement, water supply was organized for the needs of the population. The water was brought in a fire truck.

Residents noticed that the water brought by firefighters did not freeze even in frosty weather.

By evening, people had symptoms of poisoning. 11 residents diagnosed with poisoning were hospitalized in the Verkhneuralsk regional hospital.

An 8-year-old boy was hospitalized in serious condition.

1380 times excess

But the most real disaster occurred on the Kurasan River in July 2022.

And suspicions also immediately fell on the Yuzhuralzoloto company: cyanides used for gold mining could get into the river.

Residents took away dead fish so that the birds would not peck it. But the death of the fish was the reason for checking the environmental prosecutor's office.

During the inspection, it was found that Yuzhuralzoloto was dumping drainage water from the West Kurasan quarry into the river without permission.

Laboratory analysis of water samples showed that harmful substances in it are contained in concentrations many times higher than the norms. The standard for the content of copper in water was exceeded 1380 times, zinc - 180 times, mercury - 110, cyanides - 1.4 times.

According to the environmental prosecutor of Magnitogorsk Rustem Akmanov, the death of the fish was confirmed, and the pollution of the reservoir was due to the discharge of drainage and storm water, which the enterprise itself must clean.

Strukov's "golden" avocados

Rustem Akmanov. Photo:

Then the results of the inspection of the regional department of Rosprirodnadzor became known. A violation of water legislation was revealed: wastewater discharge with a content of pollutants exceeding the maximum permissible concentrations.

But Strukov escaped with only a fine of 30 thousand rubles.

GK "UGK" Strukova was involved in water poisoning in February of this, 2024.

Officials tried to hide this "joint" of Mr. Strukov, but failed...

But how will the two criminal cases against the UGK Group end in the end?