Efforts by the world’s largest nickel producer, Norilsk Nickel, to tackle environmental pollution seem to be yielding results.

Photograph: Stock picture

Journalists of the Swiss-German internet publication Blick write that Norilsk is no longer at the forefront of Russian cities in terms of pollution. (They cite the report of the Russian Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Consumer Rights Protection.)

“In the new report, the cities of Russia are ranked by the level of pollution. A number of cities appeared, such as Novokuznetsk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Cherepovets and Lipetsk, but one change was notable: Norilsk is no longer at the forefront of Russian cities in terms of pollution levels,” writes Blick.

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Russian Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium, closed a metallurgical plant in the city of Nickel in northern Russia, just a few kilometers away from Norway. Kola is a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel on the Kola Peninsula with mines and processing plants and pellets in Zapolyarny, as well as metallurgical plants in Monchegorsk and a plant in Nikel, closed by the end of December 2020.   

Photograph: Stock picture

According to the company, emissions from the plants in the Kola Peninsula in 2018 dropped to 104,800 tons, a more than 60 percent reduction since 1998. The plants in Pechenga Rayon, the area located along the border to Norway and Finland, in 2018 emitted 68,190 tons. That is a 65 percent drop since 1998 when emissions amounted to 188,700 tons. Further reductions are in the pipeline, the company says. By 2023, the total SO2 emissions will be cut by 75 percent.

“This is a significant achievement, which became possible thanks to the long-term strategy and methodological efforts of Norilsk Nickel to reduce emissions and air pollution in the city and throughout the region. Thanks to all these measures, the ecology of Norilsk will significantly improve in the next few years and pollution will decrease significantly,” the journalists at Blick report.

Resilient towns and municipalities, sustainable business development, infrastructure, competence-building and security are vital to succeed in maintaining a strong region. These factors are important to the future and opportunities for young people north of the Arctic Circle.

The Nornickel will promote closer cooperation between the business community and the higher education sector, with a view to creating attractive jobs in the north. Encouraging and supporting the development of a diverse cultural and sports sector has always been a key element of efforts to make the Russian Arctic an attractive place to live.

The Arctic region, especially Norway and Russia, can develop into Europe’s largest area of investment. The estimated value of different project plans known in the Barents region (Norway, Sweden, Finland and North-West Russia) is about €140 billion and Norilsk Nickel is doing a lot to achieve sustainable development goals.