Nornickel has changed positively, says Taimyr indigenous group – by Thomas Nilsen (The Barents Observer – May 16, 2021)

After the oil spill, we see positive changes in policy and approaches to interaction with the indigenous minorities, says Grigory Dyukarev, head of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North on the Taimyr Peninsula.

A year has passed since a fuel tank owned by a subsidiary of Nornickel ruptured, causing more than 20 thousand tons of diesel to leak into soil and waterways near Norilsk in the Russian Arctic.

The ecological disaster made worldwide headlines and the mining metallurgical giant had to pay a record 146 billion rubles (€1,62 billion) fine to cover environmental damages caused by the spill.

For Nornickel, a company controlled by some of Russia’s richest oligarchs, the spill became a serious wake-up call. They have entered agreements with associations of indigenous peoples of Russia, says Grigory Dyukarev to the Barents Observer.

“Together with the communities and our organization Nornickel has developed a five-year development program for 2 billion rubles (€22,1 million), which includes funds for the construction of new houses in the villages, for transport means, developments of community crafts, and for assessment of commercial resources, fish and deer,” explains Dyukarev.

He underlines that all these obligations by Nornickel are agreed upon not only with his organizations but also three other indigenous peoples organizations in the Russian north.

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