Air

Target: improve air quality (reduce SO2 emissions) in the areas of operation.

Key next steps: execute on Sulphur Programme 2.0 and other air emission reduction projects.

High sulphur dioxide emissions from the smelting of sulphide concentrates with high sulphur content are a key environmental issue for the Company. Nornickel’s strategic plan is to transform the Company into an environmentally clean and safe business by implementing Sulphur Programme 2.0 at the Polar Division and Kola MMC.

Sulphur Programme 2.0 in the Polar Division is expected to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions in the Norilsk Industrial District by 45% in 2023 and by 90% in 2025 (2015: baseline). The project is phased in at the Nornickel’s two core downstream facilities: Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant and Copper Plant.

Sulphur Programme 2.0 at Kola MMC

The environmental project at Kola MMC provides for the complete shutdown of smelting operations in Nikel, upgrade of the beneficiation plant in Zapolyarny, and shutdown of the copper refining facility in Monchegorsk.

The upgrade of the beneficiation plant was completed in 2019. The shutdown of Nornickel’s smelting shop in Nikel in late 2020 helped reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 71% in Nikel and Zapolyarny and by 58% in 2020 (from a 2015 baseline) in the Russia–Norway border area. The copper refining facility in Monchegorsk was closed in March 2021, which will help reduce emissions at Kola MMC by another 85% (2015: baseline).

In 2020, emissions from Nornickel’s Russian operations totalled 1,968 kt, up 0.8% y-o-y. The increase was driven by a temporary growth in sulphur dioxide emissions from the Polar Division due to increased production and processing of sulphur-containing feedstock. Despite the increase, emissions did not exceed the Company’s set limits.

During adverse weather conditions, the Company took extra measures to control pollutant emissions in residential areas. Production process at metallurgical plants was stopped for this reason 205 times in 2020.

Norilsk maintains an automatic toll-free enquiry service line offering forecasts on the impact of metallurgical operations on the city air quality to anyone dialling +7,391,942 0007.

Air pollutant emissions across the Group (kt)
Indicator 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Across Norilsk Nickel Group 1,936.4 1,845.8 1,926.6 1,952.7 1,968.1
Sulphur dioxide (SO2) 1,878.0 1,785.0 1,869.6 1,898.1 1,910.8
Nitrogen oxide (NОx) 10.1  11.5 11.2 10.3 10.0
Particulate matter 14.3 14.0 14.5 13.3 14.6
Other pollutants 34.1  35.3 31.3 30.9 32.8
Polar Division 1,787.6 1,705.0 1,789.0 1,819.2 1,857.5
Sulphur dioxide (SO2) 1,758.2 1,675.9 1,764.7 1,798.6 1,836.9
Nitrogen oxide (NОx) 1.5 1.6 0.6 0.5 0.6
Particulate matter 6.2 6.1 5.5 4.2 4.1
Other pollutants 21.7 21.5 18.2 15.8 16.0
Kola MMC 132.9 121.9 117.5 110.8 83.4
Sulphur dioxide (SO2) 119.7 109.1 104.8 99.4 73.2
Nitrogen oxide (NОx) 1.1 1.2 1.8 1.8 1.6
Particulate matter 7.4 6.9 7.6 7.0 6.1
Other pollutants 4.7 4.7 3.3 2.7 2.4