Air pollution

Norilsk Nickel’s goal is to achieve the industry-leading emissions performance

Our priorities

Improving air quality in order to protect the environment and public health from air pollutants while complying with statutory standards for permissible emissions.

Norilsk Nickel is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 "Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable" The company considers it extremely important to reduce the negative environmental impact of cities, including by focusing efforts on improving air quality.

Our commitments

  • Take measures to reduce the negative impact of our operations on air and improve air quality in the regions of presence;
  • Implement air quality monitoring;
  • Ensure transparency and efficiency of emissions management at all production sites of Norilsk Nickel GroupPublic Joint Stock CompanyPublic Joint Stock Company "Mining and Metallurgical Company "Norilsk Nickel"Go to the glossary "Mining and Metallurgical Company "Norilsk Nickel” and its subsidiariesGo to the glossary;
  • Collaborate with stakeholders, including local communities, government agencies and partners;
  • Align our activities with best practices and air quality-related requirements of international standards.

Our targets

To deliver on its strategic objectives, Nornickel will do the following:

  • Reduce Kola Division’s SO2 emissions by 90% by the end of 2021 as compared to 2015, ahead of target of 85%;
  • Reduce Polar Division’s SO2 emissions by 90% by 2025 as compared to 2015;
  • Keep other air emissions (NOx, solids, etc.) at one of the lowest levels in the industry;
  • Introduce an air quality monitoring system to assess and act on ambient air quality and dust associated with mining;
  • Comply with best practices and global standards on air-related disclosures.

To achieve our quantitative targets at Polar and Kola divisions, we are running the Sulphur Programme, an environmental initiative unique in its scale and financing, which is intended to make a significant contribution to improving air quality in our regions of presence.

Norilsk division:
SO2 emissions forecast, %
Kola division:
SO2 emissions forecast, %

Kola Division

Polar Division

  • 2023

    Launch of the anchor sulphur project at Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant to capture furnace gases;

  • 2025

    Launch of sulphur projects at Copper Plant to capture furnace and converter gases;

  • 2030+

    Capturing of SO2 low-grade gases (including converter gases) at Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant.

Please read more on the Sulphur Programme

Our next steps to achieve our targets

  • Implement the Sulphur Programme to achieve SO2 emission cuts;
  • Initiate and proceed with partnerships with selected organisations on scientific research and new technology solutions.

Our current results

Most of the Company’s emissions come from sulphur dioxide produced during the smelting of sulphide concentrates with high sulphur content. In line with its strategy, Nornickel has been implementing Sulphur Project 2.0 at Polar Division and Kola MMCKola Mining and Metallurgical CompanyGo to the glossary to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions and become the greenest company in the industry.


In 2016, MMC Norilsk Nickel completed the first milestone of its large-scale environmental programme to reconfigure smelting capacities as the obsolete Nickel Plant was fully shut down. This allowed reduction of SO2 emissions within the city of Norilsk by 30% compared to 2015.


At the next stage, we shut down the smelting shop in Niсkel town, bringing down sulphur dioxide emissions at Kola MMC by 53% compared to 2015. This also contributed to a significant reduction in SO2 emissions in both Nickel and Zapolyarny. With the smelting shop closed, harmful emissions in the Russia-Norway border zone were completely eliminated.

In 2021, we discontinued Kola MMC’s metallurgical shop to cut sulphur dioxide emissions in Monchegorsk to less than 30 kt this year.

At the same time, Nornickel makes sure to stay within the permissible levels for other pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide and solids:

10kt NOx emissions, which is 80% below the average of the ten largest industry peers (50 kt).
13kt Solid and dust emissions amount, which is 65% less than the average of the ten largest industry peers (37 kt).
Other air emissions by type, thousand tons