Tailings and waste

Targets: maintain safe operation of tailings facilities and minimise environmental impact of mineral and non-mineral waste.

Key next steps: build mass balance model for waste management and prepare for the self-assessment under Global Tailings Standard.


The Company reuses most of its industrial waste as approximately 99% of the waste generated are hazard class 5, i.e. non-hazardous waste. This is mostly waste from the mining and smelting operations, including rock and overburden, tailings, and metallurgical slags. Ore extraction waste is used as backfill for underground workings and open pits, road fill, or for tailings dam reinforcement. The increase in waste generation in 2020 was attributed to the commissioning of Bystrinsky GOK.


Nornickel currently operates six tailing dumps: four in the Norilsk Division, taking tailings from Talnakh and Norilsk concentrators and Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant; one at Kola MMC, storing tailings from Zapolyarny Concentrator; and Bystrinsky GOK tailing dump.

Waste generation by hazard class (kt)
Hazard class 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
V 32,118 30,722 29,517 35,300 144,052
IV 1,114 1,190 1,191 1,115 1,175
III 30 12 15 5 7
II 5.8 2.4 1.1 0.03 0.05
I 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.04 0.04
Total 33,267 31,926 30,725 36,420 145,234