Nornickel Launched the Largest Environmental Project in the Arctic


Photo: Norilsk Nickel

This project aims to drastically reduce sulphur dioxide emissions in Norilsk, Russia elevating the air quality for its residents

Nornickel has inaugurated the Sulphur Programme at the Nadezhda Smelter, 12 kilometres (7.45 miles) from Norilsk, marking the launch of Russia’s most ambitious environmental project to date. Nornickel is Russia’s leading metals and mining company and the world’s largest high-grade nickel and palladium producer.

The project aims to drastically reduce sulphur dioxide emissions in Norilsk, elevating the air quality for its residents. The construction took more than three years. The project encompasses a new facility equivalent in size to seven football fields and has created approximately 500 new jobs to ensure its seamless operation.

To launch the project Nornickel: partially reconfigured its metallurgical processes, established an advanced facility for sulphur dioxide (SO2) utilisation, and constructed essential infrastructure.

Up to 4,000 workers and specialists were involved in the construction of the Sulphur Programme’s facilities around the clock, and more than 400 specialised equipment units were used.

Challenges arose when certain international vendors declined to provide vital equipment to Russia, Nornickel said in a statement. After pivoting to new manufacturers and suppliers, over 90% of equipment now originates from Russia or allied countries, it said.

The project should cut sulphur dioxide emissions by 45% by 2025 from 2015 levels.

The project at the Nadezhda Smelter leverages a technological process that converts sulphur dioxide into sulfuric acid. The acid is then neutralised using limestone to generate gypsum waste, safely managed within a designated storage facility.