Norilsk’s 1942 nickel plant gone but far from forgotten – by Andy Home (September 13, 2016)

LONDON – Norilsk Nickel, or Nornik as it has just rebranded itself, has just completed the decommissioning of the nickel refining plant in its far-flung Polar operations in the Arctic north of Siberia. It was known as the 1942 Plant because that’s when it was first commissioned and it has been operating ever since.

The closure is part of a radical overhaul of the company’s nickel operations, with refining operations being refocused on the metallurgical complex on the Kola Peninsula in the west of Russia and the Harjavalta refining complex in Finland. It is decidedly good news for the inhabitants of the city of Norilsk itself.

Located with Soviet practicality within the residential confines of the city, the plant emitted 380,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide every year, representing around 25 percent of total sulphur emissions in the city.

Its removal marks a major leap forward in Nornik’s program of improving its environmental record, back in the news with reports of rivers turning the color of blood due to metallic contamination.

But the removal of this legacy plant leaves an interesting legacy for the global trade in nickel, much of which is predicated on stocks of “Norilsk Combine H-1” and “Norilsk Combine H1-Y”, the two brands produced by the 1942 Plant.

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