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Nornickel takes part in Norilsk Public Chamber hearings

29 july 2021
Image credit: Nornickel 

Nornickel initiated an extended meeting of the Public Chamber of Norilsk. Public representatives and company executives discussed Nornickel’s efforts to improve the quality of life in the Arctic city.
The roundtable gathered representatives of public non-profit organisations, environmentalists, representatives of local communities, Nornickel’s top managers, and regional authorities. The company announced this in a press release distributed today.
In the run-up to the discussions, the participants took a helicopter ride over the area of last year’s oil spill, landed near the accident response campsite on the Ambarnaya River and could assess the effectiveness of the cleanup campaign. The public representatives also took a tour of the Sulphur Project construction site and visited the hall showcasing the concept of Nornickel’s key environmental programme.
Alexey Knizhnikov, World Wildlife Fund Russia Business Environmental Responsibility Programme Manager, said during the open discussions: “The accident at TPP-3 was an unprecedented event. WWF always monitors such situations. We have monitored everything that has happened since the accident via satellite imagery. And we are happy to admit that the right response team had arrived and had correctly installed the booms. And today we have seen with our own eyes, while flying over the area, that the worst-case scenario has indeed been avoided.”
Andrey Bougrov, Nornickel Senior Vice President for Sustainable Development, said that the company’s environmental strategy for this year would require a vast amount of work in six areas: combating climate change, cleaning air emissions and water discharge, managing tailing dams and waste, reclaiming soil and maintaining biodiversity.
“We intend, as our plans come to fruition, to meet regularly on the platform of the Public Chamber, to talk about how we deliver. We do this also in relations with our investors, with consumers who have expressed serious concerns about the environmental quality of our products, and with banks and financial institutions that finance us. In this respect, we cooperate with virtually all our stakeholders. Visiting and speaking at the Norilsk Public Chamber will become as commonplace as it should be,” said Mr Bougrov.
Stanislav Seleznyov, Nornickel’s Vice President for Environmental Protection, told the public about the company’s specific steps towards cleaner air emissions, its plans to eliminate landfills and recycle waste. In particular, Nornickel will not only build the sulphur dioxide capture and recycling factories, but also two wastewater treatment facilities at the Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant and the Norilsk Concentrator, as well as five water treatment plants at the underground mines.
The Norilsk Public Chamber panellists also discussed one of the most pressing issues on the global environmental agenda — climate change. Given that the Arctic is warming faster than other areas, Norilsk needs to have a permafrost soil monitoring system to control the risks to homes and factories. Therefore, Nornickel is going to equip more than 1,500 buildings in Norilsk with sensors, Mr Seleznyov told the roundtable. The system will also track changes using boreholes and aerospace monitoring, he added.
According to Alexander Zakondyrin, First Deputy Chairman of the Public Council under the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia, the leadership of the Krasnoyarsk Territory needs to act faster preparing design estimates for obtaining federal funding to implement environmental projects in Norilsk.
“We all remember the record estimate of environmental damage from the spill accident at 148 billion rubles (basically this is the amount of damage to the water body involved transferred to the federal budget) received by the state from the company. Almost half a year has passed, but it is still unclear what exactly this money will be spent on. According to my information, not a single project for the rehabilitation of the water body in the Norilsk industrial area has been developed. The regional government needs to speed up the development of draft estimates for sending an application for state environmental examination. And I urge the Public Chamber of the City of Norilsk to take this work under permanent public control,” Zakondyrin said.
Russian Federation Senator Yelena Shumilova, who also took part in the event, noted: “Norilsk Nickel is a socially and environmentally responsible company that is ready to invest in the territory of its presence and deliberately spend billions of dollars investing in both major repairs and ecology and water purification. The management of the company is open to suggestions from the widest circle of people and this cannot but rejoice."

Vladimir Malakhov, Rough&Polished