The land in Shyrokivskiy district of Dnipropetrovsk region for construction of tailing pond is in state ownership and possession was delivered to PJSC ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih legitimately, explained Yuriy Martynyuk, General Legal Counsel of Legal Administration of the company.
– Not all people are aware of this issue. Please explain, what was in the beginning?
– When existing tailing pond was built, this land was reserved for industrial needs. UGOK and NKGOK development plan provided for construction of new tailing ponds on this land. However, in 2000s this territory was used to give land shares to the individuals. As a result, a part of this land turned to be in private ownership. Actually, the territory was turned into a patchwork quilt – there were over 1000 owners and both UGOK and our company faced the situation, when there was no possibility to continue their development as it was initially planned. Herewith I would like to note that two land plots were allocated for people at that time: small one – on the land where tailing pond construction was planned, and bigger one – on the territory, which was never considered for development of Kriviy Rih industry and where agricultural activities could be performed without encumbrance.
– The land for tailing pond was purchased?
– Yes, between 2008 and 2012, six companies concluded contracts with the owners of land plots and the rights for them were taken over based on them. Other land plots were provided to the people instead. In case if they were smaller with respect to size or cost than those, the owners owned earlier, they received additional payment. Later on these six companies were purchased by our company and together with them – the rights for land plots. In 2012 the administration of Shyrokivskiy district decided to purchase these plots for public needs (there is such definition in the legislation). In this case, it was for location and maintenance of the facilities related to extraction of mineral resources. Therewith, the money for purchase was provided by PJSC ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih as a party interested in further use of this land. After this deal was made, the land was transferred to state ownership and its designation purpose was changed – from agricultural to industrial. And our company also paid certain amount prescribed by the law to the state for changing the land destination. Only after completion of all these procedures, established by legislation in effect, this land (it should be noted that it is state-owned land) was provided for paid use (rent) by PJSC ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih. I would like to note that we pay about 54 million UAH per year to the state for rent of this land. This fair amount of money is transferred to the budgets of local communities.
– Then why do the activists claim that transfer of land has been declared illegal?
– People can say and declare aloud anything they want. There is no such judicial decision in this respect. Moreover, as far as I know, former owners did not resort to judicial authorities to defend their rights. People voluntary transferred their rights for land plots, they were changing them for other ones, receiving additional payment in a number of cases. These deals were made voluntary with notarial certification – our company does not consider that someone’s rights were violated. And it is actually strange, that after such a long time – the deals for these plots were made about 10 years ago – some claims suddenly appeared in a recent year or year and a half. Last year PJSC ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih received written requests from some former owners of land plots. However, it was difficult to understand from these requests exactly what their rights were prejudiced. It seems as if some persons just exploit these people to place pressure on the company and to block its development.
– Against whom do former owners claim now?
– As far as I can see from various publications in media, the claims are addressed to the administration of Shyrokivskiy district. However, it is hard to say that these claims are legally valid. For example, they say that someone tills this land and earns money, and they don’t. Yes, there are some facts of illegal tilling of this land and we appealed to the police in this regard. But what is the relation of former owners to this issue? Or for example they say such things like: return this land to us, we will lease it to ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih by ourselves and get money instead of communities. We cannot take such kind of “proposals” seriously. If some commitments recorded in the contract were not fulfilled with respect to former owners, then PJSC ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih is ready to consider and satisfy them. And if after almost ten years former owners decided that they sold “a bit” too cheap, then we consider such claims to be invalid. I would like to emphasize once again, that PJSC ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih acts only in accordance with the law. This land was purchased at the company’s expense, transferred to state ownership and now it is for industrial use, we rent it legitimately. We have every right to use it for construction and maintenance of tailing pond Obyedinennoye. (AMKR/Ukrainian metal)