Nornickel initiated an extended meeting of the Public Chamber of Norilsk. Public representatives and company executives discussed Nornickel’s efforts to improve the quality of life in the Arctic city.
The roundtable gathered representatives of public non-profit organisations, environmentalists, representatives of local communities, Nornickel’s top managers, and regional authorities.
In the run-up to the discussions, the participants took a helicopter ride over the area of last year’s oil spill, landed near the accident response campsite on the Ambarnaya River and could assess the effectiveness of the cleanup campaign. The public representatives also took a tour of the Sulphur Project construction site and visited the hall showcasing the concept of Nornickel’s key environmental programme.
Alexey Knizhnikov, World Wildlife Fund Russia Business Environmental Responsibility Programme Manager, said during the open discussions: “The accident at TPP-3 was an unprecedented event. WWF always monitors such situations. We have monitored everything that has happened since the accident via satellite imagery. And we are happy to admit that the right response team had arrived and had correctly installed the booms. And today we have seen with our own eyes, while flying over the area, that the worst-case scenario has indeed been avoided.”
Andrey Bougrov, Nornickel Senior Vice President for Sustainable Development, said that the company’s environmental strategy for this year would require a vast amount of work in six areas: combating climate change, cleaning air emissions and water discharge, managing tailing dams and waste, reclaiming soil and maintaining biodiversity.
“We intend, as our plans come to fruition, to meet regularly on the platform of the Public Chamber, to talk about how we deliver. We do this also in relations with our investors, with consumers who have expressed serious concerns about the environmental quality of our products, and with banks and financial institutions that finance us. In this respect, we cooperate with virtually all our stakeholders. Visiting and speaking at the Norilsk Public Chamber will become as commonplace as it should be,” said Mr Bougrov.
Stanislav Seleznyov, Nornickel’s Vice President for Environmental Protection, told the public about the company’s specific steps towards cleaner air emissions, its plans to eliminate landfills and recycle waste. In particular, Nornickel will not only build the sulphur dioxide capture and recycling factories, but also two wastewater treatment facilities at the Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant and the Norilsk Concentrator, as well as five water treatment plants at the underground mines.
The Norilsk Public Chamber panellists also discussed one of the most pressing issues on the global environmental agenda — climate change. Given that the Arctic is warming faster than other areas, Norilsk needs to have a permafrost soil monitoring system to control the risks to homes and factories. Therefore, Nornickel is going to equip more than 1,500 buildings in Norilsk with sensors, Mr Seleznyov told the roundtable. The system will also track changes using boreholes and aerospace monitoring, he added.