Norilsk Nickel closes Arctic plant, says emissions will be slashed

Norilsk Nickel is one of Russia's biggest companies in the Arctic, and one of the biggest polluters. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
Norilsk Nickel is one of Russia’s biggest companies in the Arctic, and one of the biggest polluters. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
The nickel melter in Norilsk is the company’s oldest and has for decades been among the biggest polluters in the Taymyr peninsula.

The company, the world’s leading producer of nickel, says the plant from year 1942 will be fully closed by October this year. The melter annually emits about 380,000 tons of sulphur dioxide and is the biggest single pollution source in downtown Norilsk, a city of about 170,000 people.

The closure of the plant has been planned for years. The modernized Nadezhdinsky plant outside the city will now take over all nickel processing, Norilsk Nickel informs in a press release

«The implementation of this complex project allows us to modify the production chain and significantly improve the ecology of Norilsk,» says Aleksandr Ryumin, head of Norilsk Nickel’s operations in Taymyr.

Norilsk one of world’s ten most polluted cities

Norilsk has for years been among the world’s top ten most polluted cities. The closure of the downtown plant will reduce emissions in the region with about 15 percent. However, Norilsk will remain one of the most polluted places on earth with about 1,5 million tons of sulphur emission per year, newspaper Vedomosti reports.

The measures taken in Norilsk might raise hope also in the Koia Peninsula, where Norilsk Nickel has its other main production facilities. In Nikel, the border town to Norway and Finland, emissions from the aging nickel plant annually emits about 100,000 tons of sulphur dioxide and is a major polluter of the surrounding vulnerable ecosystem.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canadian river carries carbon from thawing permafrost to sea, Alaska Dispatch News

Finland: Police investigate whether to bring criminal charges over nickel leak in Finland, Yle News

Norway: Arctic coal company needs support says Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Strong increase in Kola nickel production, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden opens world’s first electric highway, Radio Sweden

United States:  No increase in methane emissions in Arctic Alaska despite warming temperatures, Alaska Dispatch News

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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