Russia and Great Britain noted the importance of maintaining a relationship of trust
Even though the political partnership between Moscow and London has "passed away", the business of the two countries has declared the need to develop cooperation.
On Thursday, March 25th, the 4th Russian-British Raw Materials Dialogue kicked off. Over a thousand businessmen, scientists, and public figures are participating in this year’s forum, which is dedicated to the green economy and transformation of the mineral resources complex. The participants are discussing the prospects for cooperation in business and science.
Is it possible in the current conjuncture? However paradoxical it may seem, but all the speakers of the conference without exception answer this question in the affirmative. Moreover, they believe that an adequate response to the challenges humanity is facing today will only be possible if joint efforts are synchronized. Moreover, there are more and more such challenges, and the most urgent ones are pandemics and climate change.
Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector of St. Petersburg Mining University, opened the dialogue. He noted that we all want to live in a clean environment, breathe fresh air, without harmful impurities, and eat only healthy and natural products. It’s obvious. At the same time, mining and oil and gas companies exert a negative impact on ecosystems, often causing irreparable damage to nature. How to solve this dilemma? Is there no other way but to stop mining and return to the Stone Age?
“Humanity cannot develop without natural resources. At the same time, we must do everything possible to minimize the industry’s impact on the biosphere, primarily through the implementation of the best available technologies. And to do this, we need to develop mutually beneficial cooperation. Great Britain buys fuel and raw materials from Russia, and we are interested in buying high-tech equipment. But our partners must also be interested in this, because the introduction of innovations in production, among other things, helps to reduce environmental pollution, i.e., is good for the planet. To make it cleaner, it is vital for us to build up our partnership and have trusting discussions as equals, especially in today’s difficult geopolitical environment,” Litvinenko said.
The participants from the United Kingdom were in complete agreement. Colin Church, Executive Director of the Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining (IOM3, London), emphasized that the Dialogue remains one of the few discussion platforms where scientists and businessmen of the two countries can discuss topical problems and “learn something from each other.”
Trevor Lewis, director of the Russian office of the UK Department for International Trade, said that such events “contribute to the transfer of knowledge” and “allow us to understand what areas of cooperation may be most relevant to both parties.” For example, the British are now interested in joint scientific research on such topics as the storage and transportation of hydrogen, as well as the capture and utilization of carbon dioxide.
Charles Hendry, President of the Board of Governors of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce, expressed regret that the conference is held in a virtual format. After all, you can establish the necessary communication, the best way to get to know and understand each other only when you visit another country and get acquainted with the mentality of the local population. Nevertheless, "the chance to discuss aspects of cooperation at least online, given the difficult sanitary and epidemiological situation, is also important.
“Relations between the Governments of Russia and Great Britain are not at their best right now. That is why we need to communicate in order to maintain a certain level of trust between the business of the two states. Russia has the world’s largest mineral reserves, the most successful mining companies, and the best technical universities. There is no doubt that we can mutually benefit from this partnership. We need to work together to improve our competitive edge and meet the challenges of our time,” said Hendry.
Russian Ambassador to Great Britain Andrey Kelin noted the leading role of St. Petersburg Mining University in the development of bilateral relations between the states and improvement of the quality of human capital in the mining industry. In addition, he called it “more relevant than ever” to “focus the discussion on the problems of managed transition to a green economy.”
Top executives from major energy and petrochemical companies, consulting agencies, scientific organizations, and various ministries and agencies are among the speakers who will take part in the two-day dialogue’s discussions on topics such as waste management, digitalization of the mining industry, the future of commodity-based energy, hydrogen prospects, and many others. On the Russian side are PhosAgro, SIBUR, Gazprom, Polyus, Polymetal, GEOTECH-seismic, Nordstream 2, and SUEK. The British side includes Oxford University of Energy Studies, Johnson Matthey, CRU, Candey, Micon, Paterson&Coke, and others.
As a reminder, the forum is organized by the International Center of Competence in Mining Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO, St. Petersburg Mining University, and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3, London).