Rusal highly critical of Norilsk Nickels environmental management

first_imgAlexander Bulygin, CEO of United Company RUSAL has written an open letter to Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, Norilsk Nickel CEO, in which he says: “UC RUSAL, as a shareholder of Norilsk Nickel, is seriously concerned with the environmental situation relating to production activities at Norilsk Nickel’s facilities in Russia. According to the state environmental monitoring service and international public organisations, the environmental situation at Norilsk is on the brink of catastrophe. The following are just some of the alarming observations:For approximately 350 days-a-year the level of hazardous substances, recorded in the atmosphere surrounding Norilsk Nickel facilities exceeds the Maximum Permissible Concentration (MPC). Approximately 80% of these substances exceed the MPC by up to five times and 20% exceed the MPC by ten times or more. This is categorized as a “High Level” and “Very High Level” of pollutionAccording to the International Blacksmith Institute, which included Norilsk on a list of “The World’s Ten Most Polluted Cities,” average life span in Norilsk is ten years less than in the rest of RussiaNorilsk residents have 65% more cases of oncological diseases than the rest of the population of Russia. For those who live in the central part of the city the cases of oncological diseases are 170% more than the rest of the population of RussiaSulphur concentration in the atmospherical condensation in Norilsk is the highest in Siberia and RussiaThe monthly average level of sulphur dioxide in Norilsk exceeds the ambient level in the region by 50-60 timesAccording to the Russian Federation Service of Environmental Monitoring and the Russian branch of Greenpeace, the amount of pollutants in the waste waters of the Norilsk Nickel facilities, which are discharged to the rivers in the region, exceed the Maximum Permissible Levels of heavy metals (zinc, iron, nickel, copper), oil products, phosphates and nitrates by dozens, and in some cases, hundreds of times.“We believe that a large-scale environmental modernisation program of Norilsk Nickel facilities could resolve the situation and we are offering our help to prepare a feasibility study for such a project. We have extensive practical experience of implementing such programs.  A part of UC RUSAL – the Engineering and Construction Division – has independently developed and implemented an environmental programme at one of the world’s largest aluminium smelters in Krasnoyarsk. Experts at the International Aluminium Institute have confirmed the effectiveness of this program. Similar projects are now underway at four other aluminium smelters.s The company has developed its own environmentally safe production technologies, RA-300 and RA-400, which are among the world’s best five aluminium-smelting technologies and will be used at three aluminium smelters being constructed.“The key processes for aluminium and nickel production are similar: extraction of raw materials, hydrochemistry and electrolysis. RUSAL has accumulated extensive experience in resolving environmental issues by addressing them at aluminium smelters, which were constructed without consideration of environmental impacts, dozens of years ago. We are therefore confident that RUSAL specialists could successfully prepare a feasibility study of the environmental modernisation programme required for Norilsk Nickel, which will be a starting point for developing concrete steps to improve the environmental situation in the region.“We will prepare this feasibility study at no cost to Norilsk Nickel.“Taking into account Norilsk Nickel’s practice of decision making behind the scenes, we have chosen the format of an open letter as we believe that the issue of the environmental situation in Norilsk is of critical importance not only to Norilsk Nickel’s shareholders, but also to the residents of Norilsk, whose lives it concerns. We believe that the discussions about the action plan and its implementation should be as open as possible. The community in Norilsk should also be involved in the Evaluation of Environmental Impacts, which should become an integral part of environmental modernisation programme at Norilsk Nickel facilities. Therefore, we intend to make this process as transparent as possible.”last_img

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