MURMANSK –Vladimir Potanin, chairman of the giant and notoriously polluting Norilsk Nickel, has said his company’s biggest problem is environmental – and he knows how to fix it.
The company is looking stem sulfur dioxide emission that pollute Northwest Russia and Northern Norway by shutting down its nickel smelting facility in the Murmansk regional industrial town of Nikel.
In an interview to the business daily Vedomosti, Potanin said in order to transform Norilsk Nickel from a polluter into an example of ecological cleanliness, he’s willing to spend up to $14 million in a process that he says should take about seven years.
The company’s biggest problem, he acknowledged, were its emission of the heavy metal sulfur dioxide in Norilsk, in Northern Siberia, and on the Kola Peninsula around Murmansk at its daughter facilities at the Kola Mining and Metallurgy Company, or KMMC.
Environmental organizations and citizens of Northern Norway have long demanded these emissions cuts. Scientists have indicated the KMMC’s emissions routinely exceed accepted norms in Norway by five times.
The emissions have fired up local actions in Northern Norway against the industrial giant. In 2013, Cecilie Hansen, then the mayor of Sør-Varanger in Northern Norway, threatened to bring suit against the company.
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