Does Norilsk Nickel deserve to be Russia’s environmental gold standard? – by Charles Digges (Bellona.org – March 22, 2017)

http://bellona.org/

Norilsk Nickel, the giant Northern Siberian nickel producer and historically one of the country’s biggest polluters, won a prestigious environmental nod from the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs for closing down one of its most infamously befouling facilities

Norilsk Nickel, the giant Northern Siberian nickel producer and historically one of the country’s biggest polluters, won a prestigious environmental nod from the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs for closing down one of its most infamously befouling facilities.

According to the Russian business daily Vedomosti, the environmental award from the industrialists’ union is one of the organization’s key annual events. Russia’s environmental minister, Sergei Donskoi, who presented the prize, called Norilsk Nickel “the absolute leader in environmental change occurring in the industrial policy in Russia.”

Norilsk Nickel has long been a dark star on Russia’s environmental landscape, belching sulfur dioxide into Northern Siberia since 1942, consistently earning the Norilsk a designation among the most polluted places on earth, and shortening local lifespans to less than the country’s already dour demographic postings.

So, what has changed in the last year to earn Norilsk Nickel this honor? Norilsk Nickel last year shuttered an aged and ailing nickel smelting facility, long viewed as its most toxic contribution to local air. It last year also inked a $1.7 billion contract with Canada’s SNC-Lavalin company to help it reel in further sulfur dioxide and other heavy metal pollutants in a bid to reduce its overall emission by as much as 75 percent by 2020.

In December, Vladimir Potanin, the billionaire industrialist who heads up Norilsk Nickel, promised to spend $17 billion over the next seven years to modernize the company’s geriatric facilities and transform it into what he called an “environmental example.”

For the rest of this article, click here: http://bellona.org/news/industrial-pollution/2017-03-what-has-norilsk-nickel-done-to-make-itself-russias-environmental-gold-standard

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