Nickel tycoon Vladimir Potanin has big plans for the Arctic hub Dudinka

Unlike many other big Russian companies, Nornickel is not under broad international sanctions.

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - July 18, 2022
Nornickel has opened a new Logistics Situations Center for Arctic operations. (Nornickel via The Independent Barents Observer)

A significant expansion of capacities is underway in Russia’s far northern port town of Dudinka, as shipping on the northern end of the Yenisey River is experiencing rapid growth.

The growth in shipping is spurred by a string of new industrial projects in the Taymyr Peninsula, several of them operated by Nornickel.

The company, owned and managed by Vladimir Potanin, now invests up to 26 billions rubles (€300 million) in the modernization of local infrastructure. That includes a new logistics center.

This will positively affect the local goods delivery process, company representative Nikolai Utkin said at the opening ceremony of the new center.

“It is a new direction, a project on the digitalization of production,” he said.

Unlike many of Russia’s other industrial majors, Nornickel is not sanctioned by the international community, and shipments of nickel and other precious metals have continued to reach western manufacturers.

Issues of transportation are today of crucial importance, Utkin underlines.

“The organization and construction of efficient logistics chains has always been a priority for us, after all we are located in the periphery with complicated conditions for goods transportation and a limited period for navigation — it has required smooth and tedious work.”

Among Nornickel’s ongoing development projects in the area is the construction of a new processing plant in Talnakh, as well as a major renovation program for the city of Norilsk.

The port of Dudinka is experiencing growth in shipments. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)

In addition, several more companies are investing in the Taymyr region.

Russian Platinum is ready to start development of its Chernogorskoye project, where production is due to start in 2024.

The company in early 2022 confirmed that it has got the financing needed for project launch. It is estimated to cost 240 billion rubles (€2.76 billion), of which 180 billion will be provided by credits from VEB.RF and VTB.

Also Rosneft is increasingly investing in the area. The company’s Vostok Oil project includes the laying of hundreds of kilometers of new pipelines, roads, working villages, as well as airports.

Several thousand tons of construction materials were shipped to construction sites along the Yenisey in the course of winter 2022. Many more thousands are to arrive over the the next years.

Many of the transport operations depend on icebreaker escort and the use of Nornickel’s infrastructure in and around Dudinka.

It is likely that Nornickel and its new logistics situation center will play an important role in process. After all, the powerful company has decades of experiences from logistics in icy waters.