Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 533

533 Arctic Yearbook 2014 “Trust is the main thing. If there is no trust between the company and people, living in the towns, nothing good will come out. It is not possible for the company to possess trust if we (the company) don’t speak about social problems and don’t solve them. It is absolutely important to have locally attached leadership of the company, the leaders who was brought up here, who love, respect and understand the place”. These events strongly influenced public attitudes towards the company and have lowered the SLO level. During the last years it decreased, and as of today we estimate it as “approval”, or even as the lower “acceptance” level. The second case is the new “North-Western Phosphorous Company” Ltd. It was founded in 2005 as a subsidiary company of JSC “Acron”, a large fertilizer manufacturer and consumer of apatite concentrate in Russia. “Acron” previously consumed the concentrate from “Apatit” and, due to the monopolistic position of the latter on the Russian market, had contradictions with “Apatit” concerning the prices for the concentrate. “Acron” has created the NWFC to ensure its own source of raw material. In October 2006, NWPC won a contest for acquiring the state mining permit to develop two new deposits of apatite-nepheline ore “Olenyi ruchei” and “Partamchorr”. In 2007 the construction of the mine and processing plant at “Olenyi ruchei” deposit for production of the apatite concentrate began. In 2012 their exploitation was started (Bay-Larsen et al., 2014). Today NWPC employs about 2000 people, of which more than half live in the city of Apatity. Implementation of the new project caused serious conflicts between several interest groups. Firstly, was the conflict between “Apatit” company and the newly appeared NWPC, since they became direct competitors for the production and supply of apatite concentrate in Russia. Moreover, the new competitor has started to use the ore deposits which “Apatit” considered its own prospective reserves. Secondly, initiation of the construction of the mine and the new ore processing factory caused a conflict with environmental NGOs since the deposits and processing plant were located in close proximity to the “Khibiny” National Park, which is planned to open in 2015. In spite of the conflicts, the implementation of the new mining project was actively supported by the government of the Murmansk region. The support was provided mainly due to large investments (around 1 billion USD) on the territory of the region and expectations for the additional tax revenues to the regional budget. It was also supposed that implementation of the project would provide benefits to the Kirovsk municipality: Additional working places for the locals (along with the weakening almost monopolistic position of the “Apatit” company as an employer in the local labour market) and good prospects for the revival of the formerly depressed rural settlement Koashva situated in the vicinity of the newly developed deposits (BayLarsen et al. 2014). There are many examples of the social activities of NWPC, such as investing in the reconstruction of several municipal social objects, in particular on the territory of Koashva settlement – renovation of the house of culture and the first-aid station, establishing of the youth center, a children’s playground, and others. However, dissatisfaction with the social and environmental aspects of the new company’s behavior was one of the main themes in the interviews. As the interviews with employees of the company revealed, they are not satisfied with the social policy of the company first of all towards its own employees. As an example they mentioned the recent canceling of quarterly monetary premiums that notably decreased the level Social License to Operate for Mining Companies in the Russian Arctic