Sustainability Blog

Biodiversity research programme at Verninskoye

In partnership the Vitim Nature Reserve, Polyus has examined the biodiversity environment in the area near the Verninskoye Mine. The monitoring programme was developed in line with Polyus’ Biodiversity Conservation corporate standard.

As part of this research exercise, lists were drawn up of the animal and plant species present both at Verninskoye and at comparative reference sites in the Nygri, Aunakit and Bodaibo river valleys which have seen no intensive business operation activities.

Throughout a course of monitoring expeditions that took place over summer 2018, the Vitim Nature Reserve identified the following species of plants and animals:

  • 244 tracheophytes
  • 29 bryophytes
  • 166 lichens
  • 27 mammalian species
  • 148 bird species

The flora in the area around the Verninskoye Mine in Bodaibo, Irkutsk Region, is typical for Northern Eurasia. No invasive species which could present a potential threat to the biodiversity of the region have been found in the course of the study. The Cyperaceae, Rosaceae and Ranunculaceae plant families are among the most prevalent plant species in the region, in addition to the Pinaceae, Salicaceae and Betulaceae plant families, which are also widely spread.

The monitoring report also comprises a comparative analysis of the biodiversity of disturbed and undisturbed ecosystems in Bodaibo. This report will help us to develop further initiatives to mitigate human impact in areas affected by our operational activities.

The findings of the report indicate that the Verninskoye area itself has seen some decline in the biodiversity index; however the major flora trends in terms of its taxonomic (biological) diversity remain intact. This means that the plant families inhabiting adjacent (undisturbed) territories prevail even in the catchment area.

Polyus Verninskoye will continue to study the Bodaibo biodiversity until the end of 2019. The aim of the study is to provide more detailed analysis of the key biocenotic communities and their dynamics under human impact. Further research to be carried out this year is focused on studying the main groups of vertebrates in the region.