Today, Copper Plant has officially kicked off the Sulphur Project, Nornickel’s most ambitious initiative to dramatically improve local environment.
The official ceremony was attended by Vladimir Potanin, Nornickel’s President, and Sergey Menyaylo, the Russian President’s Plenipotentiary Representative to the Siberian Federal District.
“According to our plans supported by the Russian President and formalised in the government’s regulatory acts, 2023 is the deadline set for resolving the issue,” Mr Potanin said. “Once the project is completed, we will be able to look people in the eye and take pride in what we have done.”
“We cannot develop further until we create adequate conditions for our people. This major project is not just Nornickel’s ambition, but an imperative of our time. The authorities and business are prepared to tackle environmental issues because they directly concern our residents,” commented Sergey Menyaylo.
Following the project completion, Nornickel will be able to capture
The Sulphur Project covers a large scope of work at Polar Division’s Copper and Nadezhda Plants. Today, it kicked off at Copper Plant where Nornickel is upgrading and expanding its capacities to process sulphur dioxide off-gases into elemental sulphur. The project is set to deliver a three and a half-fold increase in the plant’s elemental sulphur production.
On top of that, the facility will shut down part of its hazardous operations. Blister copper production will be moved outside Norilsk, to Nadezhda Plant, which has become a nickel smelting hub following the shutdown of Nickel Plant. The Company is now building a new continuous copper matte converting facility at Nadezhda Plant. As a result, the smelter will be generating large volumes of sulphur dioxide-rich recyclable off-gases. The construction of the recovery unit at Nadezhda Plant will be the project’s final step. Nornickel will convert the captured sulphur dioxide to sulphuric acid that will be further neutralised with natural limestone to produce gypsum.
Since 2013, the Company has been running a large-scale environmental programme, with its first stage covering the reconfiguration and upgrade of production capacities, successfully completed. In 2016, it saw the shutdown of Nickel Plant, which was beyond modernisation. Nickel concentrate smelting was transferred to Nadezhda Plant whose capacity increased to 2.4 mt. To streamline the production process, the Company upgraded Talnakh Concentrator, ramping up its capacity by over 35%, to 10.2 mtpa of ore. The modernisation helped boost metal content in the concentrate and reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.
At Kola MMC, Nornickel has replaced the obsolete roasting technology with briquetting of copper-nickel concentrate prior to smelting. In 2019, Kola MMC will complete the project for separating high-grade and low-grade copper-nickel concentrate, halving its sulphur dioxide emissions on the border with Norway as compared with 2015.