Norilsk Nickel recognizes the importance of biodiversity and conservation. The Company’s environmental policy seeks to encourage activities aimed at understanding the short and long-term impacts of our mining operations on biodiversity and develop measures to minimize the Company’s environmental footprint.
Norilsk Nickel respects UN SDG Agenda 2030, namely SDG 14 Life below Water and SDG 15 Life on Land.
Our activities and the culture of our operations are guided by the following commitments:
- Protect and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.
- Sustainably manage forests.
- Reduce land degradation.
- Halt biodiversity loss, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
- Responsibly manage and protect freshwater ecosystems.
- Prohibit exploration and mining activities at World Heritage sites and respect all legally protected areas.
To deliver on our strategic objectives Nornickel will:
- Apply a rigorous scientific approach to establish a biodiversity baseline and understand our impact on ecosystems in the areas of our operations.
- Enhance our internal policies and procedures to avoid or minimize any future negative impact on biodiversity and terrestrial ecosystems.
- Develop and implement a clear mitigation hierarchy for current and new operations to strengthen our risk management approach towards biodiversity.
- Enhance reporting using our collaboration with numerous natural reserves across Russia, to improve the presentation of quantifiable data on our impact on biodiversity and provide greater transparency on our long-lasting productive collaboration.
The Company’s current Biodiversity Policy focuses on land rehabilitation, active cooperation with nature reserves and the reproduction of aquatic biological resources
Nornickel has been historically focused on:
Supporting several natural reserves
- The Company has been providing support to nature reserves for more than 10 years. These efforts are well aligned with Norilsk Nickel’s overall strategy as a responsible miner, pursuing a sustainable growth trajectory that is underpinned the Company’s new investment cycle.
Landscaping and territory clean-ups
- The Company’s employees, jointly with the administration of Norilsk city, conduct regular clean-ups of the territory and tree planting campaigns in the summertime in the Kolsky peninsula and the Zabaikalsky region.
- The Company regularly attracts volunteers in Norilsk to take part in the environmental marathon called «Let’s Roll!». In 2019, Norilsk Nickel organized more than 100 events involving 3,000 city residents, collected 20 tonnes of rubbish, held festivals and master classes, improved several sites in the city, set up a plastic recycling shop, and laid an ecotrail.
- In 2020, volunteers of Bystrinsky GOK initiated a massive clean-up of the lake and adjacent territory in the Gazimur Industrial area, turning it to an attractive tourist site in just a few months.
Protection of rare animal species
- The Company is supporting programs run by Russia’s largest nature reserves to study and protect rare and endangered species listed on Russia’s Red Data Book, including Siberian bighorn sheep, polar bears and lesser white-fronted geese.
Contribution to the reproduction of aquatic biological resources
- For a long time the Company has been running a program 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 waters of the Yenisei. The replenishment of biological resources was carried out by ecologists of the Norilsk Production Support Complex, a member of the Norilsk Nickel Group. Such programs have been carried out by the Norilsk Production Support Complex on an annual basis for the past 4 years, resulting in the local population of grayling and sturgeon increasing by more than 1 million.
Norilsk Nickel pioneered the Great Norilsk Expedition. The project brings together experts from 14 research institutes of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Researches will conduct a comprehensive study of the Taimyr Peninsula ecosystems and present proposals and recommendations for launching the best sustainable practices for industrial companies operating in the Arctic region.
The Great Norilsk Expedition includes 4 groups of studies related to biodiversity: Biological Research, Biological and Zoological Diversity, Hydrobiological and Hydrochemical Research (oil products), Soil and plants.
- Assessment of external conditions for the development of hydrobionts based on hydrophysical indicators.
- Study of hydrobiological indicators: quantitative and qualitative characteristics of bacterioplankton, phytoplankton, zooplankton, phytoperiphyton and zoobenthos.
- Study of phytocoenotic diversity in the landscapes contaminated with oil products.
- Assessment of phytocoenotic diversity of similar (background) non-polluted landscapes.
- Assessment of the fuel spill's impact on flora.
- Study of zoological diversity in landscapes contaminated with oil products, including the fuel spill in the Ambarnaya River basin.
- Study of zoological diversity (habitats, species, population, pathological) of similar (background) landscapes.
- Collection of hydrobiological data, study of fish food base.
- Assessment of the volume and biomass of plankton and benthos.
- Assessment of the impact on aquatic biological resources.
- Assessment of the actual chemical composition of the inspected rivers, including acidity, mineralization, concentration of basic cations, anions, trace elements and dissolved organic substances.
- Comparison of normalized indicators against maximum allowable concentration levels, assessment of ecological hazard of effluents.
- Definition of the composition of vegetation cover.
- Compilation of geobotanical descriptions of prevailing plant communities and lists of vascular plant species.
- Territory mapping, preparation of description and diagnostics of soils at permanent test sites.
- Assessment of the current geochemical status of coastal soils and bottom sediments.
- Collection of soil, soil and swamp sediments samples.
A report with recommendations following the Great Norilsk Expedition is expected at the end of 2020.