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Technological Change and the Environmental Imperative

Challenges to the Copper Industry

Edited by Claes Brundenius

Technological Change and the Environmental Imperative considers the extent of the success of polluting industries in becoming cost-efficient whilst acquiring less polluting technologies, in the face of fierce competition. The authors also discuss what has been the impact of privatisation on this process and what lessons have been learnt. Against this backdrop, and drawing on case material from Chile, China, Peru and Russia, the book goes on to assess the latest technological breakthroughs, and their possible future impact on cost efficiency and the environment.
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Chapter 6: Growth, competitiveness and sustainability: technological change in the Russian copper industry

Boris Kuznetsov and Igor Budanov


Boris Kuznetsov and Igor Budanov 1. INTRODUCTION Environmental protection is having a difficult time in Russia. The outcome will to a large degree depend on how the general problems of the Russian economy are addressed in the future. After the protracted economic depression between 1991 and 1998 the Russian economy has (as of 2003) at last been showing signs of recovery. Nevertheless, many experts point out that this growth is still very slow and not sufficient to narrow the gap with other developed countries in the near future. The recent recovery growth is primarily based on two factors: (1) the temporary comparative advantages that the Russian industry was able to enjoy from the big devaluation in 1998; (2) high world market prices for raw materials and primary products that are Russia’s major export commodities. This kind of growth is not sustainable without significant improvements at the micro level to increase the efficiency of Russian enterprises (Kuznetsov 2000). The outcome will to a great extent depend on Russia’s ability to use the current favourable situation for modernization of the industry, and to make necessary structural reforms. In spite of relatively better economic performance, the present state of affairs in the economy does not give much hope for environmental protection to become a priority for the state or for the business community, or even for the Russian population at large. The necessity of pursuing a tight fiscal and budget policy makes it difficult, if not impossible,...

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