[Norilsk Nickel] This Russian Metals Giant Might Be Too Big to Sanction – by Alistair MacDonald (Wall Street Journal – March 2022)


Norilsk Nickel is a key supplier of nickel and palladium, two metals that are key for electric-vehicle batteries and semiconductors

From its base at a former Arctic gulag, Russia’s MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC digs up a large portion of two metals that are essential to greener transport and computer chips.

So far the U.S. and its allies haven’t sanctioned the company, or its oligarch chief executive, underscoring the dilemma some analysts say governments face in seeking to punish Russia without hurting their own access to key commodities.

The mining company is responsible for about 5% of the world’s annual production of nickel, a key component of electric-vehicle batteries, and some 40% of its palladium, which goes into catalytic converters and semiconductors. Nornickel, as the company is known, also supplies energy transition metals such as cobalt and copper.

The price of those metals has jumped since Russia invaded Ukraine amid concerns that Western sanctions or logistical difficulties stemming from the conflict could choke supplies.

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