The drone war comes to Nornickel’s company town in Kola Peninsula

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - June 26, 2024
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Major protective shields are to be built over oil storage tanks and other facilities in Monchegorsk, Kola Peninsula. Picture: Nornickel

More than 2,000 km north of the frontline, Russia’s major mining and metallurgical company plans to build a shield against Ukrainian drones over its industrial facilities.

The protective system will be built in metal and serve as a “steel dome” over the company’s key industrial installations, the Russian version of the Barents Observer reports.

Among the installations to be protected is a site with fuel storage tanks in Monchegorsk, the company town in the far northern Kola Peninsula.

A picture show how the system covers a several hundred meter long storage area.

Nornickel has already announced a tender on the construction of the shield. According to the tender description, the system is “to be built with a solid metal frame and covered by a comprehensive net made of cable wire.” It is to be “capable of dealing with possible kinetic attacks from any objects.”

A total of six shields are to be acquired. All of them will be applied in Monchegorsk.

Monchegorsk is company town of Nornickel in the Kola Peninsula. Photo: Atle Staalesen

The mining and metallurgy town is located in the Kola Peninsula, more than 1,700 km north of Ukraine. It is a key company town for Nornickel, the world’s leading producer of nickel.

There is growing fear for Ukrainian drones across major parts of Russia as the Ukrainian Armed Forces on several occasions have successfully hit military and industrial sites located several hundred kilometres into Russia.

In May, Ukrainian drones several times hit objects in the far away Russian  region of Tatarstan and in January a natural gas plant in St.Petersburg was hit.

It is expected that the Ukrainian Armed Forces soon will be able to hit military and industrial sites in even bigger distance, such as the Kola Peninsula.

Among Nornickel’s industrial objects in Monchegorsk is a major nickel refining facility reportedly capably of producing more than 165,000 tons of nickel per year.

The facility receives ore from Zapolyarny, the industrial town located near Finland and Norway, and nickel matte from the Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant in Norilsk, Western Siberia.


Located in Kirkenes, Norway, just a few kilometres from the borders to Russia and Finland, the Barents Observer is dedicated to cross-border journalism in Scandinavia, Russia and the wider Arctic.

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