Russia’s Nornickel keeps its environmental projects going in the Arctic

The Russian mining giant Nornickel continues environmental projects in the Arctic, where some of the company’s key production facilities are located.

Sulphur dioxide emissions from the company’s operations in 2021 decreased by more than 300,000 tonnes, to 1.6 million tonnes, as compared to the previous year. Stanislav Seleznev, the company’s vice president for ecology and industrial safety said on Wednesday.

“This is a significant, but intermediate result for us,” Seleznev said. According to him, the emission reduction in the Polar Division reached 13.7% and in Kola MMC – 78.4%. Such a significant reduction on the Kola Peninsula was in part delivered thanks to the closure of outdated production facilities.

However, the company has ambitious plans to achieve a much more serious effect, Seleznev said.

“Technical work on the sulfur project in the city of Norilsk is underway this year, the first phase of the Nadezhda Smelter construction program is being completed, and we will see the first effect as early as 2023,” he said.

The company plans to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions in Norilsk by 45 percent by the end of 2023 compared to 2015, and by 90 percent in 2025 after the launch of this project at the company’s Copper Smelter.

“We are confident that by 2025, Norilsk will disappear from the list of top 20 most polluted cities in Russia,” Seleznev said.

He said that the company’s Kola division has delivered outstanding results in percentage terms, reducing emissions to 15,700 tonnes in 2021 from 73,000 tonnes in 2020.

Last year, the Clean Norilsk program was launched to clean up unused structures, scrap metal and garbage in the Russian Arctic.

The program will be executed within 10 years. Its total budget is up to 40 billion rubles. Since its launch, the city has cleared industrial territory as big as 140 soccer fields. In 2021, 108 non-operational buildings and constructions were disassembled, 39,000 tonnes of scrap metal and 247,000 tonnes of garbage were taken out.

The Company plans to dismantle around 500 unused buildings and structures and remove over 2 mln tonnes of waste and 600,000 tonnes of scrap metal. Nornickel purchased more than a hundred units of various special equipment, including specialized technical vehicles, 110 of which have already arrived in the city of Norilsk.

The company is set to complete the land reclamation and cleanup program in 2022.

“We delivered a reclamation and cleanup project with the help of a separate company, which carried out the reclamation and cleanup of contaminated and disturbed areas. In 2021, we completed the reclamation of 17.5 hectares of contaminated and 30 hectares of disturbed territories. The work was accepted by the Norilsk city administration. In 2022, we plan to complete the delivery of this project,” Seleznev said.