MOSCOW, August 2 (RIA Novosti) – The much-lambasted paper mill accused of polluting the unique Lake Baikal in Siberia will close down by November, media reported, citing the board of creditors of the flagging enterprise.
About 800 people will lose their jobs after the paper mill shuts down, Radio Liberty reported Thursday.
The authorities have so far failed to create enough replacement jobs in the town of Baikalsk, which hosts the mill, despite earlier promises to do so, Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported.
The government plans to turn Baikalsk into a tourist zone, but named October as the earliest date for reviewing the plan to revamp the town’s economy. The plan has an estimated price tag of 42 billion rubles ($1.3 billion); by comparison, the mill’s debt that drew it into bankruptcy stood at under 3 billion rubles ($90 million).
The paper mill on the shore of the ancient Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest and biggest lake by volume, was launched in 1966.
The mill’s operations were halted in 2008 amid reports that it was polluting the lake’s unique ecosystem, but reopened again in 2010 on the order of then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The government said in February it plans to close it down for good.