Nornickel Shuts Down its Nikel Smelter

The town of Nikel in Russia’s Murmansk region will be short of one smelter as Nornickel has announced the closure of its now-defunct smelter site. Before its closure, the plant in Nikel had been Nornickel’s oldest production facility but was suspended as part of the company’s plans to cut down on pollution.

Besides this, the company has also stated its commitment to reducing sulfur dioxide emissions. The closure of the smelting facilities in Nikel is a step in that direction. For 74 years of the shop’s existence, it produced 61.8 million tonnes of nickel-containing feedstock and over 2.4 million tonnes of high-grade nickel matte.

Nikel Environmental Problem

The closure of the plant in Nikel represents the end of a 74-year era and the start of a brighter future for the people of the region where they care most about the environment. 

“Today, we host a symbolic event — the melting of the ‘last ladle’, after which the smelting shop will be closed. This is a historical event for Nornickel. Following the closure of the smelting facilities in Nikel, we are modernizing our metallurgical production in Monchegorsk, including the construction of new state-of-the-art facilities,” said Vladimir Potanin, President of Nornickel. 

Potanin also said that the company wants the plants to meet modern requirements, as the products being produced by the company are essential for the future. Thus, he said, the company can boast of being an environmentally advanced company that produces goods for the green economy.

The closure of the Nikel plant was commended by Andrey Chibis, the Murmansk Region Governor, who reported on the recent developments that, in his opinion, will benefit the environment.

“The company’s decision to close the smelter was certainly a forced measure aimed at reducing harmful emissions into the atmosphere. But overall, this is the reconfiguration of the Kola Mining and Metallurgical Company’s production facilities, modernization, implementation of modern technologies, and an increase in the output of the company’s main products in our region,” he said.

The Road to Solving the Nikel’s Ecological Problems

Besides reducing environmental damage, the social aspect of the Nikel plant’s closure was also taken into account. Employees who worked at the former plant were offered replacement jobs within the company, and those who wished to start a business were given the resources to get started.

The decision to close the plant in Nikel was first made in November 2019. However, it has already benefited the environment in that it completely eliminated the sulfur dioxide emissions in the border area with Norway.

Over the next year, customer service and the clean-up crew will operate in the shop to prepare it for mothballing. Then, if any use can be found for the plant, it will be transformed accordingly. Currently, there is competition among Nornickel investors to develop an industrial or cultural project that can be implemented at the currently vacant site.

Requirements for this planned development include the ecological transformation of the local area, the creation of green production facilities, and providing new jobs for the staff.

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