A new report by the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection ranked the cities in Russia on their respective rates of pollution. A number of cities appeared such as Novokuznetsk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Cherepovets, and Lipetsk but one change was notable: Norilsk is no longer ranked as the top Russian city in terms of pollution.
This is no small feat and was made possible as a result of a long-standing strategy and methodical efforts by Nornickel company to reduce emissions and air pollution in the city and the whole region.
Norilsk Environment Improves as Nornickel’s Sulphur Dioxide Emissions and Environmental Footprint Decrease
This improvement in terms of Nornickel pollution is not a coincidence but the result of the Company’s strategic direction and years’ worth of implementation. Specifically, it is the result of the Nornickel Sulphur Project. Implemented in two stages, the project was officially launched in 2014.
The first stage ran from 2014 to 2016 and is already completed. During that time, the company committed to reducing sulphur dioxide emissions in Norilsk by 30-35% and has succeeded thus far. Furthermore, this stage had a budget of $900 million and included the shutdown of the existing nickel plant, an upgrade of the Talnakh Concentrator, and the refurbishment of smelting capacities at the Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant.
Norilsk sulphur dioxide reduction is also the aim of the second phase, which is currently in progress and is slated to end in 2022 for the Kola Division and 2030 for the Polar Division in Norilsk. It will involve the launching of sulphur projects at the Nadezhda smelter, as well as the Copper Plant for the purpose of capturing emissions. The smelting operations in Nickel town will be suspended permanently as will the Copper line at the Kola Refinery.
This project has a budget of $3.6 billion and is expected to significantly reduce Nornickel’s environmental footprint. As per the company website, “The Sulphur Programme at Kola MMC focuses on the closure of the obsolete production shop in Nickel town (near the Norwegian border) and downstream modernization in Monchegorsk. These activities will completely eliminate sulphur dioxide emissions in the Russia-Norway border area and significantly reduce adverse environmental impact in Monchegorsk.”
Nornickel Fights Environmental Damage and Air Pollution
Another step in eliminating pollution in Norilsk is the effort that Nornickel is putting towards reducing air pollution. Currently, there is a goal to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions from the Kola Division by 85% in 2021 and by 90% in 2025 in the Polar division. This will be done through the launching of the anchor Sulphur Project at Nadezhda smelter and similar projects at the Copper plant. The smelting operations in Nickel town will also be optimized to reduce carbon monoxide emissions.
With all these in place, it is clear that the Norilsk environment will benefit tremendously over the next few years, with its ecology improving and pollution levels falling sharply as well.