Archive | Norilsk Nickel

Life In Norilsk, A Frozen Gulag Turned Mining Town – by Emmanuel Grynszpan (World – January 11, 2017)

NORILSK — The belly of Mother Russia is most fertile 1,000 meters underground and 300 kilometers north of the polar circle. Outside, the temperature can drop as low as -60 degrees Fahrenheit. But down below, it’s warm and moist. And the walls shine. The blocks that detach themselves as bulldozers strike the stone are loaded with precious and semi-precious metals: nickel, copper, palladium and platinum.

In the “Skalista” mine, in Norilsk, monstrous machines stride along a maze of tunnels that will soon reach 2,000 meters below ground level. The sound of the machines shaving off the walls is terrible. Danger is omnipresent. “The worst thing is the fires,” explains Ivan Grinchuk, lead engineer at the mining group Komsomolsky, an affiliate of Norilsk Nickel.

This year, at least four miners have lost their lives in accidents. “What can I say? That’s how mining is. It’s the same all over the world,” says Grinchuk, who’s been working in Norilsk for 20 years. “It was a lot worse in the 1960s,” he adds. Grinchuk says the accidents are often caused by drunk workers. “When that’s the case,” he explains, “their families don’t get any compensation payments.” Continue Reading →

Russia’s Nornickel in talks to supply materials for BASF’s battery plans (Reuters U.S. – June 27, 2017)

Russia’s mining giant Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) (GMKN.MM) is in talks with German chemicals firm BASF (BASFn.DE) to supply raw materials needed in the process for making lithium-ion batteries in Europe in the future, they said on Tuesday.

The talks between BASF and Nornickel, the world’s second largest nickel producer and a major cobalt producer, highlight the burgeoning market for metals needed for lithium-ion batteries production as the car industry’s push towards electric vehicles gathers pace.

Nornickel and BASF said in a joint statement the talks covered “cooperation to set the foundation to supply battery cell producers for electric vehicles in Europe with regionally produced cathode materials.” Continue Reading →

Botswana Clash With Billionaires Could Tarnish Its Reputation As Resource Investor’s Paradise – by Kenneth Rapoza (Forbes Magazine – May 2, 2017)

At first glance, there is simply no country like it in Africa. Within the continent, Botswana is considered to be the crème de la crème. It’s corruption perception score is better than every BRICS nation plus Mexico, according to Transparency International. It’s resource rich, known mainly for its diamond wealth, and has rolled out the red carpet for foreign firms with what seems like reliable, steady rule of law. This is the place to be.

Some say not so fast. Deloitte Botswana senior manager, Brian Watts, argues that appearance belies a true scale of graft. It is done by multiple actors all throughout the value chain. Watts estimates at least 5% loss due to fraud even in the private sector, in telcos.

Most cases are not disclosed to the public, Watts said during an event for whistleblowers back in March. In mainly state-controlled natural resources sector the stakes are much higher. Continue Reading →

[Norilsk, Russia] Global Lenses: Diverse political films tackle war, energy and the impact of history – by Daniel Glassman (Point Of View Magazine – April 26, 2017)

Three new Canadian films take on contemporary global issues through radically different lenses. Stopping off in an Arctic Russian mining city, the ruins of Basra, Iraq and a massive thermonuclear reactor in Southern France, François Jacob’s A Moon of Nickel and Ice, Ann Shin’s My Enemy, My Brother and Mila Aung-Thwin and Van Royko’s Let There Be Light investigate the entangled issues of history, war, energy and ecology from the bottom up, through intense focuses on individuals and their stories.

Quebecois director Jacob makes his feature debut with A Moon of Nickel and Ice, a multi-faceted portrait of the Siberian nickelmining city of Norilsk. Three facts about Norilsk: It’s the world’s northernmost city with over 100,000 inhabitants; it’s one of the most polluted places in the world; and it’s a “closed city”—foreigners have been banned since 2001, and it was closed to most Russians as well during the Soviet era. Norilsk Nickel’s on-site smelting facility gives the gifts of acid rain, smog and fully 1% of the world’s sulfur dioxide emissions.

You may be wondering how they got 100,000 people to move there. Answer: they forced them. Yes, Norilsk was the site of a Soviet Gulag. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Russia’s Nornickel says could miss 2017 output forecast by 3 pct (Reuters U.S. – April 27, 2017)

Russia’s Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) could miss its 2017 production forecast for nickel and platinum group metals (PGMs) by up to 3 percent after first-quarter output fell, it said on Thursday.

Nornickel, one of the world’s largest nickel and palladium producers, added its management was looking at ways to mitigate this risk and confirmed its previous 2017 production guidance.

This year Nornickel, part-owned by Russian tycoon Vladimir Potanin and aluminium giant Rusal, plans to produce from Russian feedstock 206,000-211,000 tonnes of nickel, 377,000-387,000 tonnes of copper, 2.6-2.7 million troy ounces of palladium and 581,000-645,000 ounces of platinum. Continue Reading →

The Kola Mining and Metallurgy Combine: Northwest Russia polluter posts impressive cuts in harmful emissions – by Anna Kireeva ( – April 12, 2017)

In a surprising development, the Kola Mining and Metallurgy Company –which for decades has stubbornly fouled air over Northwest Russia and Scandinavia – last year reduced its emissions of harmful sulfur dioxide by more than 20 percent.

The KMMC, a daughter company of the giant Norilsk Nickel, reported last week that its sulfur dioxide emissions for 2016 totaled 119,700 tons, which is 35,000 tons less than the previous year.

The new emissions figures seem to reverse a rise in the toxic heavy metal pollution that began in 2011. That year, the KMMC posted figures as high as 134,000 tons a year. They rose in subsequent years, plateauing at a towering 154,900 tons in 2015. Continue Reading →

Does Norilsk Nickel deserve to be Russia’s environmental gold standard? – by Charles Digges ( – March 22, 2017)

Norilsk Nickel, the giant Northern Siberian nickel producer and historically one of the country’s biggest polluters, won a prestigious environmental nod from the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs for closing down one of its most infamously befouling facilities

Norilsk Nickel, the giant Northern Siberian nickel producer and historically one of the country’s biggest polluters, won a prestigious environmental nod from the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs for closing down one of its most infamously befouling facilities.

According to the Russian business daily Vedomosti, the environmental award from the industrialists’ union is one of the organization’s key annual events. Russia’s environmental minister, Sergei Donskoi, who presented the prize, called Norilsk Nickel “the absolute leader in environmental change occurring in the industrial policy in Russia.” Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Russia’s Nornickel sees nickel, palladium output up in 2017 (Reuters U.S. – January 31, 2017)

Jan 31 Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) , one of the world’s largest nickel and palladium producers, plans to increase output of its main metals from Russian raw material this year, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Nornickel, which competes with Brazil’s Vale SA for the rank of the world’s top nickel producer, experienced falls in production of nickel, copper and platinum group metals in 2016.

The lower output was mainly due to scheduled decommissioning of an old nickel plant and ongoing reconfiguration of downstream production facilities in northern Siberia. Continue Reading →

Norilsk Nickel’s Potanin says his company should be an environmental example – by Anna Kireeva ( – December 21, 2016)

MURMANSK –Vladimir Potanin, chairman of the giant and notoriously polluting Norilsk Nickel, has said his company’s biggest problem is environmental – and he knows how to fix it.

The company is looking stem sulfur dioxide emission that pollute Northwest Russia and Northern Norway by shutting down its nickel smelting facility in the Murmansk regional industrial town of Nikel.

In an interview to the business daily Vedomosti, Potanin said in order to transform Norilsk Nickel from a polluter into an example of ecological cleanliness, he’s willing to spend up to $14 million in a process that he says should take about seven years. Continue Reading →

Russian Billionaire Is Cleaning Up in Nation’s Dirtiest City – by Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – December 15, 2016)

Vladimir Potanin makes an unlikely environmentalist. The Russian tycoon, worth $17 billion at last count, derives half his wealth from a mine operator that’s the biggest polluter in the nation’s dirtiest city.

The smelting of nickel and other metals from the mines pumped about 2 million metric tons of waste into Norilsk’s air as recently as 2013, eight times the level of Russia’s next most-polluted metropolis.

Yet if Potanin makes good on plans to spend billions of dollars on the largest modernization of MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC since the Soviet era, he’ll have cut annual sulphur-dioxide emissions equal to the entire output of the toxic gas from Europe’s five biggest economies. Continue Reading →

Kola Peninsula nickel giant promises to cut sulfur dioxide emissions in half – by Charles Digges ( – November 21, 2016)

MURMANSK –The notoriously polluting Kola Mining and Metallurgy Combine (KMMC) has said it plans to reduce annual emissions of sulfur dioxide by nearly half within two years, it’s parent company told Bellona.

A source of tension between Norway and Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union, the KMMC – a daughter company of the giant Norilsk Nickel based in Northern Siberia – yearly emits some 80,000 tons of the heavy metal, much of which finds its way into northern Norway.

Norilsk Nickel itself announced last week that it would slash emissions in its hometown – the most polluted city in Russia – by as much as 75 percent by 2020. Yury Yushin, who heads the Norilsk Nickel’s department of cooperative programs told Bellona that the company intends to reduce its emissions to 44,000 tons a year by 2019. He didn’t, however, discuss any specifics behind the dramatic reduction. Continue Reading →

Norilsk Nickel expands mining along border to Norway – by Atle Staalesen (The Barents Observer – September 29, 2016)

Two new mines to be opened over next three years in Pechenga, the company’s hotbed in the Kola Peninsula.

Kola MMC, the regional subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, is preparing for an extension of activities in the borderlands to Norway and Finland. That includes the opening of two new mines by year 2019, and the annual provision of an additional 2,5 million tons of ore to the company’s local processing plants.

The expansion is a key part of the company’s development strategy in the Kola Peninsula, company General Director Igor Ryshkel says to corporate newspaper Kolsky Nikel.

One of the new projects, the «Sputnik», will be developed as an open pit. It holds nine ore bodies and will deliver an annual 1 million tons of ore. It is located 16 km east of the town of Nikel and is to be opened for production in year 2019, the company informs. Continue Reading →

Russia’s Nornickel sees nickel price stabilizing at $10,000/T – by Polina Devitt and Diana Asonova (Reuters U.S. – September 15, 2016)

MOSCOW – Russian mining giant Nornickel, previously known as Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.MM), expects nickel CMNI3 prices to rise to about $10,000 a tonne by the end of the year and flatten out around that level through 2017, its chief operating officer said.

The stainless steel ingredient has been a top performer on the London Metal Exchange this year, with prices up about 30 percent since February lows to $9,730 a tonne.

Its climb has mainly been driven by concern over supplies after mine closures in the Philippines and Indonesia’s 2014 ban on nickel ore exports. “Everyone is keeping an eye on the development in the Philippines and Indonesia,” Nornickel’s Sergey Dyachenko told the Reuters Russia Investment Summit. Continue Reading →

Norilsk’s 1942 nickel plant gone but far from forgotten – by Andy Home (September 13, 2016)

LONDON – Norilsk Nickel, or Nornik as it has just rebranded itself, has just completed the decommissioning of the nickel refining plant in its far-flung Polar operations in the Arctic north of Siberia. It was known as the 1942 Plant because that’s when it was first commissioned and it has been operating ever since.

The closure is part of a radical overhaul of the company’s nickel operations, with refining operations being refocused on the metallurgical complex on the Kola Peninsula in the west of Russia and the Harjavalta refining complex in Finland. It is decidedly good news for the inhabitants of the city of Norilsk itself.

Located with Soviet practicality within the residential confines of the city, the plant emitted 380,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide every year, representing around 25 percent of total sulphur emissions in the city. Continue Reading →

Russian metals firm admits spillage turned river blood red (The Guardian – September 12, 2016)

Norilsk Nickel insists the temporary problem will not affect people or wildlife, but environmental activists say it is too early to tell

Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel has admitted a spillage at one of its plants was responsible for turning a local river blood red.

Russia’s environment ministry last week launched an investigation into the incident after images showed the Daldykan river near Norilsk in the far north of Russia flowing bright red, with local activists blaming the nearby Nadezhda metallurgical plant.

After initially refusing to confirm a leak, Norilsk Nickel – the world’s biggest producer of nickel and palladium – on Monday said heavy rain on 5 September had resulted in water flooding over a filtration dam at the plant and into the river. Continue Reading →