Russia will test air quality monitoring system in Norilsk with view to going nationwide

Norilsk Nickel, Nornickel
Norilsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. Norilsk Nickel, Nadezhda Plant. Norilsk is the center of a region where nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum, palladium and coal are mined. Mining and smelting ore are the major industries. (Photo: Ninara, Helsinki, Finland)

The Nornickel metals facility in the Russian Arctic city has long been a major source of pollution.

Russia will start testing a potentially nationwide real-time system to monitor air quality at metals giant Nornickel’s base in the industrial Arctic city of Norilsk next year, the company and a government official said on Thursday.

This is reported by Reuters.

Nornickel, the world’s leading nickel and palladium producer, has been a major emitter of sulphur dioxide (SO2) in Norilsk, its main production base since Soviet times and which for years earned it the rank of the world’s most polluted city.

A diesel spill at its power plant in the same area last year caused Russia’s worst environmental disaster in the Arctic this century.

The company is now working with the Russian government to develop the air quality system which, if deemed successful, will eventually operate nationwide as part of a national environmental project.

Nornickel paid $2 billion to the Russian government for environmental damages after 21,000 tonnes of diesel from a storage tank at its power plant near Norilsk leaked into rivers and subsoil in May 2020.

The company is currently investing billions of dollars to reduce SO2 emissions in the Norilsk area by 90 percent from the 2015 level by 2025.

In March, Nornickel shut down its metals processing facility in Russia’s border region with Norway and Finland which had been the area’s main source of SO2 emissions. These would drop there by 85 percent in 2021 as a result, a statement from the company said.

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