Nornickel a Russian metals producer is a major global palladium and nickel producer and plans to spend $5.5-billion on environment projects within the next 10 years, according to investment plans updated in December.
Nornickel said it has shut down a metallurgical processing facility in Russia’s border region with Norway and Finland which had been the area’s main source of sulphur dioxide emissions. The shutdown, along with the recent closure of a nearby Nornickel smelting unit, will cut sulphur dioxide emissions in the area by 85% from 2015 levels to less than 30 000 t this year, the company said.
In 2022 emissions will fall further, to 22 000 t/y, 8 000 t to 9 000 t of which currently come from a local power plant providing heat to homes in Monchegorsk in Russia’s Murmansk region.
Nornickel plans to upgrade the plant and build a modern copper refining facility in the town with double the annual capacity – up to 150,000 tonnes – and higher environmental standards.
The facility that has been closed was processing metals concentrate, which other Nornickel assets in the Siberian Norilsk will now process into finished metals products. The closure of the unit affected about 700 of Nornickel’s employees, it said. Two-thirds of them will be reassigned within Nornickel and one third will leave the company with one-off payments.
The company has been hit by series of accidents since a major fuel leak at its power plant near the Arctic city of Norilsk in May. It paid $2-billion, the biggest environmental fine in Russian history, after the spill.