Russia’s most polluted city eyes a clearer sky

Norilsk Nickel signed a $1.7 billion contract on a major industrial modernization and emissions in Norilsk will be slashed, the company says.

The company’s contract with SNC-Lavalin Inc., a Canadian company, includes a comprehensive clean-up of Norilsk, the huge nickel-producing town in the Arctic Taymyr Peninsula.

The contract, signed last week, includes one of the biggest ever environmental investments made by the company. The goal is to significantly reduce sulphur emissions by introducing new technical solutions, Norilsk Nickel says.

Company town Monchegorsk in Kola Peninsula. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)
Company town Monchegorsk in Kola Peninsula. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)

In the center of the deal is the Nadezhda Smelter, the company’s key industrial object in the area.

The project target is to reduce sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions by capturing emitted sulphur dioxide. It is one of the largest mitigation projects of its kind in the world, SNC-Lavalin says in a press release.

The project is to unfold in two phases, of which the first will include preparations and submission of work documentation.

Norilsk is today the most polluted city in Russia with annual emissions amounting to 1.9 million tons. Sulphur gas has burned out and destroyed vegetation in a wide range around the city.

The modernization project is due to be completed in 2020. By that time, emissions will be cut by as much as 75 percent, news website Metaltorg informs.

Norilsk is located north of the Arctic Circle in a vulnerable tundra environment. It has a population of more than 170,000.

Norilsk Nickel in June this year closed the oldest and most polluting plant. The melter, built in 1942, annually emitted about 380,000 tons of sulphur dioxide. The company now ships increasing volumes to the Kola Peninsula where it is processed in the plants in Monchegorsk.