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Jul 1, 2020 3:23 AM ET

Environment and ecology in Norilsk: Nornickel’s top priorities

iCrowd Newswire - Jul 1, 2020

A joint expert seminar organized by Norilsk Nickel in the fight for the environment and ecology brought together representatives of two countries – Russia and Norway.

The company has already held several such seminars – in different cities (both in Russia and Norway). The event was attended not only by representatives of industrial companies but also by representatives of the governments of both countries, embassies, scientists involved in environmental protection.

From the side of Nornickel, top managers were present, because the company’s management considers the solution of environmental problems among its main priorities.

How to protect the ecology and the environment of Norilsk?

Protecting the environment and ecology from pollution is what Norilsk Nickel experts are focusing on today. In this matter, their opinion fully coincides with the position of environmentalists. Therefore, the company seeks to cooperate with governmental and non-governmental environmental organizations.

Victoria Venchikova, deputy director of the department of state policy in the field of environmental protection (this department belongs to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation), noted the gradual changes in Russian legislation in an environmentally friendly way. That is, the government is also making efforts to improve the environmental situation in the country and, in particular, in Norilsk, on the border of Russia and Norway.

Needless to say, Norilsk Nickel representatives also spoke at the seminar and they showed with the help of statistics and real indicators how the negative impact of industry on the environment was noticeably reduced.

One of the factors contributing to such positive results is the implementation of the Sulfur Project. Thanks to it, it is planned to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 75% by 2023. This means that the atmosphere will be much cleaner!

Why are seminars on environmental protection and ecology of Norilsk important?

Sergey Dyachenko, Norilsk Nickel’s Operations Director, emphasized the importance of such events for the environment.

The previous meeting was organized back in 2014 by the new management team of the enterprise. Many experts and environmentalists doubted its feasibility, doubted that the solution of environmental problems inevitable in the activities of large industrial enterprises is generally possible.

However, the years that have passed since the first seminar have shown a number of positive results. A lot of what was discussed at the first workshop was implemented.

Of course, joint Norwegian-Russian cooperation (as, incidentally, Norilsk Nickel’s partnership with other foreign companies in the field of environmental protection) contributed to a more rapid resolution of problems.

Norilsk and the Kola Peninsula – pressure points in the struggle for the environment and ecology

Most of all, the Norwegian side was interested in the situation on the Kola Peninsula – where the border between Norway and Russia is located, and enterprises of the mining and metallurgical plant operate. As well in Norilsk.

Igor Rakhimov, Director of the Department of Industrial Safety, Labor Protection and the Environment of Norilsk Nickel, cited specific figures showing a 57% reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions since 1997.

Until 1997, it was 227,000 tons. After 1997, with the gradual introduction of environmentally friendly technologies, emissions were reduced to 109,100 tons.

Moreover, the situation is improving every year. For example, in 207 it was possible to reduce emissions by 8.9% compared to 2016.

According to Igor Rakhimov, these are the visual results of the implementation of a whole range of projects related to the reconstruction and modernization of production. All these projects were initially envisaged in the enterprise development strategy.

Norilsk Nickel’s investments in environmental protection and ecology

In just a few years, the company invested more than 8 billion rubles to protect the environment (including capital costs).

Moreover, the renewal of machinery and equipment at the Kola Mining and Metallurgical Combine required an investment of 27.7 billion rubles. The company invested these funds to increase the economic and environmental efficiency of production processes.

In particular, the “The Section for Concentrate Shipment” was modernized so that concentrate separation (approximately 400,000 tons per year) was held in this section: resources rich in sulfur were separated from resources that were “poor” in sulfur. This is another factor to reduce, in the end, sulfur dioxide emissions.

Assessments and wishes of the partners

The Norwegian side appreciated the results achieved by Norilsk Nickel in protecting the environment and ecology from pollution and expressed hope that the company would continue such an effective activity.

Norwegians also positively commented on the activities of the Government of the Russian Federation on the implementation of standards and the creation of environmental legislation, which sooner or later should provide a significant improvement in the environmental situation.

Andrei Bugrov, senior vice president of Norilsk Nickel, focused on the fact that the struggle to improve the ecology and clean environment remains among the priority areas of the company.

Norilsk Nickel management has committed itself to environmental activities and is making every effort to implement this strategy.

The Eighth Ecological Forum in Moscow

Another event of undoubted importance for the fight for the environment and clean ecology took place in Moscow in 2019. It was the Eighth Ecological Forum, which was dedicated to the responsibility of business to the future, the benefits of technology for society and nature.

Norilsk Nickel was among the main organizers of this forum along with the Ecological Fund of the Siberian Federal University and the Research Institute of Ecological Problems.

The event brought together representatives of the government, big business, various public organizations (including environmental), and scientists.

The forum discussed a variety of relevant issues:

The forum took 2 days.

Who spoke at the Ecological Forum?

The meeting was opened by Dmitry Pristankov, vice president of Norilsk Nickel and state secretary.

He read out government telegrams drawn up by Alexei Gordeev, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Government, and Dmitry Kobylkin, head of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation.

In particular, telegrams focused on how important the role of large business is in the implementation of national environmental projects.

Today the era of civilized ecology has begun, when large industrial enterprises are independently engaged in solving problems related to environmental protection. Business representatives themselves realize the importance of these issues, understand their own mission related to ensuring environmentally-oriented development.

Vladimir Burmatov, chairman of the government committee on ecology and environmental protection, spoke at the forum about the need to develop regulatory legal acts that could coordinate the implementation of the national Ecology project.

By the way, representatives of Norilsk Nickel spoke about the same thing, since the company is engaged in the planning and implementation of large-scale environmental projects.

Even in government telegrams read by Dmitry Pristankov at the opening of the forum, attention was focused on the importance of joint work between the government and business. Only in this way success in the struggle for a clean environment can be achieved.

Business structures should become like-minded environmental organizations (as is the case with Norilsk Nickel). In this way, environmental technologies can be implemented and ecosystem integrity and biodiversity maintained.

Moreover, all this is done not only for the sake of the current positive results but also for the sake of future generations.

Collaboration between big business and government on environmental issues

For many years now, Nornickel has shown a worthy example of such cooperation between large business and government. In implementing such a partnership, the company adheres to the principles of transparency and openness and therefore can be considered as a reliable partner.

Especially important is the issue of environmental protection in those territories where large industrial facilities are located.

The importance of the “Sulfur Project” by Norilsk Nickel for ecology and the environment

The Sulfur Project, conceived and implemented by Norilsk Nickel experts, is an excellent example of how fruitful cooperation between a representative of a large industrial business and the government can be.

The main goal of this project is to achieve an overall reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions into the atmosphere of the Norilsk industrial region by 2023.

It is planned to spend at least 123 billion rubles on this project. In addition, it should be noted that over the past three years, Norilsk Nickel has spent more than 80 billion rubles to address issues related to environmental protection and ecology.

Norilsk Nickel Agreement with Rosprirodnadzor

Another example of fruitful cooperation between large industrial business and the government is an agreement with Rosprirodnadzor, according to which Norilsk Nickel undertakes to implement environmental programs in all territories where its industrial facilities are located.

Together with the federal service, the enterprise plans to solve issues of equipping metallurgical industries with special means for measuring and recording the volume of pollutant emissions.

Even in the Murmansk region, a program is currently being implemented to modernize industrial production. The company has already spent 34 billion rubles on it.

Norilsk Nickel’s environmental plans for a pristine ecology

Vladimir Grachev, ecologist, chairman of the All-Russian Society for the Conservation of Nature and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, considers the implementation of projects related to large-scale reconfiguration of production at Norilsk Nickel to be a “real feat”.

One of the main steps in this direction was the closure of the plant in the village of Nickel in 2016. In the past, this plant emitted more pollutants into the atmosphere than all other enterprises in the region. Norilsk Nickel management itself decided to close this production unit, despite the fact that it has been operating since 1942.

But this is not the only step. The environmental plans of Nornickel are really appreciated, even by global experts.

Norilsk Nickel has signed an agreement with the authorities of the Murmansk region, according to which it undertakes to modernize obsolete production facilities and close those that are no longer subject to modernization.

Vladimir Potanin himself, the president of the company, focused on the need to close the obsolete melting plant in the village of Nickel. Modern technology requirements are significantly different from the requirements that were in the past. Solving problems related to environmental protection and ecology was coming for a long time.

International and Russian environmentalists praised this decision of the company’s management: “The statement by Vladimir Potanin is very positive information, emphasizing the desire of Norilsk Nickel to adhere to the implementation of its environmental policy and its improvement.”

Accordingly, one can expect such positive results as a 50% reduction in atmospheric emissions (in particular, in the border areas of Russia and Norway).

The implementation of Norilsk Nickel’s environmental plans is a good signal for society and all partners of the company.

Norilsk Nickel’s investments in ecology

Environmentalists positively note the increase in investments in environmental protection and the rational use of natural resources. Over the past couple of years, the amount of investment exceeded 32 billion rubles.

Alexander Shokhin, president of the Russian Union of Entrepreneurs and Industrialists, noted that “Nornickel is a vivid example of an industrial company that is doing everything possible to improve the environmental situation despite the fact that industry is a priori considered the main polluter of the environment. Moreover, the company is achieving positive results in this direction at once in several territories.

Vladimir Loginov, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation, noted that the implementation of the Clean Air project would reduce emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere by 22% by the end of 2024. The modernization of large enterprises is an important step in this direction. Experts say this will help reduce greenhouse emissions.


Thus, the forums, conferences, and seminars related to ecology and the fight for the environment that Norilsk Nickel organizes and participates in are important venues where the results of already done work are summarized and the plans for further actions are announced.

Naturally, all these results are intermediate, since work on solving environmental issues goes on. There is still so much to do, so many mistakes to fix, so many problems to solve!

Experts are given the opportunity to objectively evaluate the activities of the enterprise in this direction, to express their comments and suggestions. Norilsk Nickel management carefully listens to everything, analyzes, and takes into account.



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