Nornickel recognises the importance of biodiversity conservation as vital for supporting life on Earth.
Nornickel’s Environmental and Climate Change Strategy seeks to reduce a negative impact on biodiversity.
Nornickel fully supports the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular, SDG 14 Life below Water and SDG 15 Life on Land.
In its operations and decision-making the Company adheres to the following principles:
- Sustainable use of natural resources;
- Striving to protect and maintain biological variety and variability of terrestrial and aquatic living organisms;
- Striving to halt biodiversity loss;
- Respect for the boundaries of specially protected natural areas and recognising their value.
- Comply with the national legislation as well as the requirements of the international standards and assocations which the Company has publicly announced to fullfil;
- Identify and assess risks to and potential negative impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services;
- Develop and implement a mitigation hierarchy (avoid, minimise, restore, offset) to manage the risks to and impact on biodiversity;
- Cooperate with expert organisations to study, monitor and carry out measures to preserve biodiversity;
- Hold consultations with stakeholders to ensure an efficient assessment and management biodiversity impact;
- Prohibition of exploration and mining activities at World Heritage sites and UNESCO biosphere reserves, as well as at protected areas designated in line with the Russian legislation and IUCN I-IV management categories;
- Ensure alignment of new operations and changes in the existing ones with the Company’s commitments regarding protected areas;
- Take steps to protect ecosystems from introducing invasive species;
- Monitoring biodiversity.
Our main goal is to reduce negative biodiversity impact, including forest protection in the areas of operation.
- Ensure preservation, recovery and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems;
- Ensure sustainable management and protection of marine and coastal ecosystems;
- Replenish aquatic biodiversity;
- Halt biodiversity loss, protect endangered species and introduce additional measures to prevent their extinction.
Our next steps to achieve our targets
- Conduct biodiversity baseline studies in collaboration with research organisations;
- Internal documents and business processes in line with requirements of the standards and organizations promoting sustainable mining practices with which the Company announced to comply;
- Develop programmes to preserve and monitor biodiversity across the Company’s divisions;
- Take action to replenish biodiversity, including in line with recommendations of the Great Norilsk Expedition;
- Monitor the impact on biodiversity;
- Cooperate with natural reserves.
Our current results
Support of natural reserves and protection of rare animal species
Support of natural reserves
The Company has been providing support to natural reserves for more than a decade. These efforts are well aligned with Norilsk Nickel’s overall strategy aimed at responsible mining and pursuing a sustainable growth trajectory underpinned by the Company’s new investment cycle. We are supporting programmes run by Russia’s largest natural reserves on studying and protecting rare and endangered species listed on Red Book of the Russian Federation, including Siberian bighorn sheep, polar bears and lesser white-fronted geese.
We back the following nature reserves:
- Pasvik Natural Reserve in the Murmansk Region and Norway;
- Lapland Natural Reserve (Murmansk Region) designated by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve;
- Rybachy and Sredny Peninsulas Natural Park (Murmansk Region);
- Putoransky State Natural Reserve (Taimyr Peninsula) included in the UNESCO World Heritage List;
- Relict Oaks State Reserve (Trans-Baikal Territory).
Reproduction of aquatic bioresources
For a long time the Company has been running a programme to breed and release valuable fish species into water bodies to replenish their populations. In 2020, 136,000 two-month-old grayling whitebaits were released into the Yenisey.
Since 2016, Nornickel has been cooperating with the Maltat fish breeding farm to release over 1,200,000 Siberian sturgeon fingerlings into water bodies.
Research and development initiatives
In 2020, Norilsk Nickel pioneered the Great Norilsk Expedition, which brought together experts from 14 research institutes of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS SB). The researchers conducted a comprehensive study of the Taimyr Peninsula ecosystems and presented proposals and recommendations for launching the best sustainable practices for industrial companies operating in the Arctic.
In 2020, the Great Norilsk Expedition included four groups of biodiversity studies: biological research, biological and zoological diversity, hydrobiological and hydrochemical research (oil products), soil and plants.
The comprehensive studies of the area’s ecosystem and its changes have continued in 2021. They will help develop recommendations for sustainable business practices to be used by industrial companies in the Russian Arctic.
The work is proceeding in three stages. During stage 1, researchers examined the hydrocarbon content in floodwater. At stage 2, they study the condition of soils and bottom deposits ahead of the planned rehabilitation work. At stage 3, the expedition will analyse the efficiency of Nornickel’s clean-up effort and assess the residual risks.
Participants of Great Norilsk Expedition 2.0
In 2021, the expedition’s interdisciplinary field teams include representatives of 11 research institutes from Norilsk, Yakutsk, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Barnaul, and other cities. It is expected that 32 experts will take part in the field work, and over 40 specialists will be involved in laboratory studies. Nikolay Yurkevich, Director at the RAS SB’s Ecology Research Centre, will head the field and laboratory stages of Great Norilsk Expedition 2.0. The expedition’s scientific supervisor is RAS SB Chairman Valentin Parmon.
Key goals and objectives
- Assess the current state of natural water bodies and land sites, analyse the change in the pollutant content a year after the HPP-3 incident;
- Draft technology recommendations for eliminating environmental damage and rehabilitating disturbed lands in the researched areas;
- Create a GIS model of the Norilsk Industrial District’s geological and geomorphological framework — a digital model of the ecosystem.
Geography and research focus
The expedition routes will cover surface watercourses — the Daldykan, Ambarnaya and Pyasina rivers, and Lake Pyasino — and reference areas.
The research will focus on:
- Surface water;
- Soil and bottom deposits;
- Plants and animals;
- Permafrost soil.