Challenges to the Copper Industry
Edited by Claes Brundenius
Chapter 6: Growth, competitiveness and sustainability: technological change in the Russian copper industry
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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