Norilsk Nickel (MCX: GMKN), the world’s largest producer of palladium and nickel, will have to pay a record fine of 146 billion rubles ($1.94 billion) in compensation for a huge fuel spill in the Arctic last May, a Russian court ruled on Friday.
The amount, while in line with a demand by the nation’s environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor, more than doubles what Russia is seeking to get in mineral extraction tax from mining companies this year.
“We won!!!” Rosprirodnadzor head Svetlana Rodionova, who was in the courtroom on Friday, said in an Instagram post. “Ecology is everyone’s business!!!”
Nornickel had rejected the watchdog’s damage estimate, which according to the company assumes it did nothing to mitigate the impact of the spill. The objection was based on an extensive clean-up the miner carried out in the seven months following the accident.
The miner’s attempts to reduce the original 148-billion-rubles fine were based on technicalities in the way the original sum had been calculated, rather than denying culpability.
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