Nornickel, Russian fisheries agency in talks to settle $806 million claim

Russia's fisheries agency says the Norilsk oil spill caused millions in damage to aquatic resources, including fisheries.

By Polina Devitt, Reuters - September 3, 2021
The logo of Russia’s miner Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) is seen on a board at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017 (SPIEF 2017) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 1, 2017. (Sergei Karpukhin)

MOSCOW—Russia’s Nornickel said on Friday it would discuss an out-of-court settlement with the state fisheries agency, which sought damages of 58.7 billion rubles ($806 million) from the metals miner over the 2020 Arctic fuel spill.

Nornickel, the world’s leading nickel and palladium producer, had previously paid $2 billion for environmental damages from the leak of 21,000 tonnes of diesel into rivers and subsoil from a storage tank at its power plant in May 2020.

“Nornickel and the Federal Agency for Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo) agreed to negotiate an out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit filed by the agency against one of the company’s subsidiaries,” Nornickel said in a statement.

The spill in Norilsk, an industrial city in the Arctic Circle, was Russia’s worst environmental disaster in the Arctic this century, environmentalists say.

The state fisheries agency filed its claim in July saying the spill had polluted lakes, and rivers leading to the Kara Sea. It put the cost of work to restore aquatic bioresources at more than 55 billion roubles and estimated direct damage caused by death of fish at 3.6 billion roubles.

A court adjourned the proceedings for 60 days to allow the parties to negotiate the out-of-court settlement, including compensation for damage to aquatic bioresources, Nornickel said.