Russian Norilsk Nickel Significantly Improves Environmental Performance


The world’s largest metal producer, Norilsk Nickel, with production sites in the Russian Arctic, has significantly reduced its harmful emissions, so that the Russian city that is the company’s headquarters – Norilsk – disappeared from the rating of Russian cities with a dirty atmosphere. This was reported by the journalists of the German online edition Blick with reference to the report of the Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection in Russia.

“In the new report of the Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Consumer Rights Protection, the cities of Russia are ranked by the level of pollution. A number of cities appeared, such as Novokuznetsk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Cherepovets and Lipetsk, but one change was notable: Norilsk is no longer at the forefront of Russian cities in terms of pollution levels,” writes the German online publication Blick.

Nornickel set 21 strategic goals through 2030, by achieving them over this period, Nornickel will gain leadership among global metals companies across climate change, water and land dimensions, and align its operations with best practices in air, tailings, waste and biodiversity management.

In 2021, the company will design environmental and climate change strategies at the division level and adjust a number of strategic metrics

The company works with several projects at once. For example, part of the national Fresh Air project, the sulfur project is based on capturing sulfur dioxide to produce sulfuric acid, as well as gypsum after it has been neutralized with natural limestone. As a result of the project, the recovery of sulfur dioxide at the affected smelting furnaces should reach at least 99%, which will reduce emissions in Norilsk by at least 45% compared to 2015.

Reducing sulfur dioxide emissions in Norilsk is also the goal of the second phase, which is currently ongoing and planned for the Kola branch by 2022 and for the Polar branch in Norilsk by 2030. This includes the launch of sulfur projects at the Nadezhda smelter and at the copper smelter to record emissions. The smelter in Nikel will be permanently shut down, as will the copper line at the Kola Copper Plant.

This project has a budget of $ 3.6 billion and aims to significantly reduce the ecological footprint of Norilsk Nickel. The company’s website says: “The sulfur program at the Kola MMC is aimed at stopping outdated production in Nikel (near the border with Norway) and modernizing the processing and marketing of products in Monchegorsk. These measures will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions in the border region of Russia and Norway. Eliminate it completely and significantly reduce the negative impact on the environment in Monchegorsk. “

Earlier, the Board of Directors of Norilsk Nickel planned to approve a new environmental strategy in 2021 with investments of over $ 5.5 billion.

According to the document, the company plans to invest $ 3.6 billion in measures to reduce air emissions, $ 1.1 billion – in measures to protect water resources, $ 0.6 billion – to minimize harm from industrial waste, $ 0.3 billion – in the reclamation of lands affected by the construction and development of the company’s deposits, climate change and conservation of biological diversity. The volume of investments in these two areas will be determined during the year.

In general, in 2020 Norilsk Nickel significant progress in reducing the intensity of its impact on the environment. The intensity of pollutant emissions has decreased by 20.7% since 2019, and the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions has decreased by 23.3%. In terms of carbon dioxide emissions per tonne of nickel equivalent, the Company is in the bottom quartile of the global metallurgical industry and plans to maintain its leading position in the long term. Norilsk Nickel’s indirect CO2 emissions are also among the lowest in the industry. In addition, the Company’s energy and water consumption has significantly decreased, by 22.4% and 14%, respectively, compared to 2019. The share of energy generated from renewable sources reached 46%, which is one of the highest rates in the global metallurgical industry.

Thanks to all these measures, the ecology of Norilsk will significantly improve in the next few years and pollution will decrease significantly, German journalists report.


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