Norilsk Nickel’s priorities are to maintain responsible management of tailings facilities and maximise tailings processing, while also ensuring safety and minimising risks throughout the life cycle of tailings facilities and striving to achieve a zero risk of emergencies in tailings management.
As a party to the UN Global Compact, Nornickel is committed to managing its tailings facilities in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular:
Although all tailings facilities operated by the Group are located far from production sites and residential areas, we view them as assets with elevated risks capable of having a material impact on the environment and local communities.
Our commitments regarding tailings and waste management are as follows:
Nornickel acts responsibly to ensure tailings facilities safety, regularly monitors the condition of their hydraulic structures and conducts environmental assessments of tailings sites and nearby areas.
Our tailings facilities comply with the Russian laws and have all the required construction permits and expert opinions in place. In addition, we developed mandatory safety criteria to operate each tailing facility and had them approved by regulators.
Nornickel also established organisational units and roles accountable for tailings-related risks and reporting to governance bodies. More information is available in the Company’s annual reports.
Nornickel currently operates six tailings facilities:
Nornickel acts responsibly to ensure tailings facilities safety and regularly monitors the condition of their hydraulic structures and assesses the state of tailings sites and nearby areas. The Company also established organisational units and roles accountable for tailings-related risks and reporting to governance bodies. Competency and experience requirements are defined for critical roles within relevant organisational units. Qualified and experienced staff are responsible for identifying and analysing tailings-related risks, developing relevant controls and reviewing their effectiveness. Internal and external review and quality assurance processes are in place so that controls for tailings risks can be comprehensively assessed and continually improved. The Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Nuclear Supervision (Rostechnadzor) provides external oversight. Hydraulic structures are subject to comprehensive audits every five years, with mandatory prior submission of the hydraulic structure safety declarations. The declarations are prepared by an independent expert agency accredited by Rostechnadzor upon a detailed inspection of the hydraulic structures. The findings of the review and quality assurance processes, as well as the relevant follow-up actions are recorded, analysed, summed up and disclosed. Hydraulic structures are constantly monitored by operating personnel and Nornickel’s environmental team. Employees operating the tailings facilities undergo regular dedicated training and knowledge tests mandated by Rostechnadzor.
All Nornickel’s tailings facilities are located away from production sites and residential areas. Potential damage estimates show minimum risks for local communities, ecosystems and critical infrastructure in case of an emergency.
Emergency preparedness and response (ERP) plans take into account a potential impact, and determine roles, responsibilities and communication procedures. These plans are subject to regular testing.
As required by the Russian laws, ERPs have been developed for all operating tailings facilities and a public warning system is in place. Nornickel has all necessary resources and funds required to respond to an emergency at its tailing facilities and promptly repair any damage, including a sufficient fleet of excavators, dump trucks and other vehicles (as outlined in the ERPs).
For more information, please refer to our
Following an inquiry from a group of investors led by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Council on Ethics of the Swedish National Pension Funds (AP Funds), Nornickel published a special report on the safety of all its hydraulic structures. More information is available in the