Biggest air-polluter in Barents Region awarded for environmental responsibility

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The smelter in Nikel is the biggest air-polluter in the Barents Region. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
Natural Resource Minister Sergei Donskoi praises Norilsk-Nickel for its environmental efforts.

Norilsk-Nickel proudly quotes Minister Donskoi on Wednesday after receiving the Grand Prix award.

“Norilsk-Nickel is the absolute leader in environmental changes taking place in the industrial policy of Russia,” Donskoi said at the ceremony in Moscow on Wednesday.

It is the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs that gives the 2017 award to Norilsk-Nickel. Closure of a plant in Norilsk on the Taimyr Peninsula and success in social activities are reasons for giving the price.

Natural Resource Minister Donskoi assures that the government is closely monitoring the investments in modernization of production by the company.

Polluting emissions
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Dead forest near Monchegorsk on the Kola Peninsula. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

Norilsk-Nickel’s subsidiary in Murmansk region, Kola Mining and Metallurgical Company, operates mines and briquetting plant in Zapolyarny, a smelter in Nikel and smelters in Monchegorsk. All three locations have large emissions of both sulphur dioxide and heavy metals.

Green technology and being a leader in environmental changes are likely not the first things that come to mind when visiting the factory in Nikel near Russia’s border to Norway in the north. An ecological disaster zone is stretching kilometers after kilometers between Nikel and Zapolyarny. Dead forest and heavily contaminated soil surrounds the plants in Monchegorsk further south in the Murmansk region.

The factories near Norway pollute the nature with some 100,000 tons of sulphur dioxides annually.

The award from the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs is not first time Norilsk-Nickel is greeted for environmental efforts. A year ago, the company received the Natural Resource Ministry’s “Environmental development – Evolution Award 2016.”

In 2010, both then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and then-President Dmitri Medvedev sent congratulation telegrams to the combine.

Putin emphasized Norilsk-Nickel’s “high repetition environmental standards.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Arsenic contamination persists in Yellowknife lake a decade after gold mine shut: study, Radio Canada International

Finland:  Finnish air pollution shortens life, Yle News

Germany: German scientists sound alarm on Arctic trash, Radio Canada International

Greenland: Study finds increase in litter on Arctic seafloor, Blog by Mia Bennett

Russia: Pollution in Arctic Russian city of Nikel increases – Will new technology turn the tides?, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Stockholm cleans up and passes air quality test, Radio Sweden

United States:  Mining corporation a no-show in court as environmental criminal case moves forward, Alaska Dispatch News

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