Sulfur Program’s first phase launched in Norilsk

Sulfur Program’s first phase launched in Norilsk

October 26, 2023

The largest environmental project in Russia will make the air in Norilsk cleaner.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Yesterday, October 25, Nornickel launched the largest environmental project in Russia – the Sulfur Program. Its task is to radically reduce sulfur dioxide emissions in Norilsk and make the air in the city clean.

Opening the launch ceremony of the Sulfur Program, Nornickel senior vice president, of the Norilsk Division head Nikolay Utkin noted that Nornickel’s strategy is aimed at environmental friendliness and the pursuit of “green” metals. This is very important not only for the company itself, but for the residents of Norilsk.

“It is very symbolic that just two weeks ago, on October 10, the Nadezhda metallurgical plant celebrated its 44th anniversary. In 1979, the first stage of the enterprise was launched – hydrometallurgical production. In 1981, the pyrometallurgical line was put into operation. In 2016, Nadezhda became a participant in Nornickel’s unique environmental program when, as a result of the reconfiguration of production facilities, it took over a significant part of the raw materials from the closed nickel plant. Let us remind you that the nickel plant, which had been operating since 1942, was located almost within the city limits of Norilsk, and its closure made it possible to reduce the environmental load by more than 30 percent. Today, Nadezhda is ready to take another big and important step towards improving the environmental friendliness of Nornickel’s metallurgical production”, Nikolay Utkin emphasized.

The start of the Sulfur Program’s first line comprehensive testing was entrusted to the director of the NMP, Vitaly Muravyov. True, instead of the usual symbolic button, this time a tablet was used. After shifting the NN logo to the right Let’s Go! words appear on the screen. As the equipment is turned on, the icons change color from red (Off) to green (On). The equipment started working, joining the technological process.

Nikolay Utkin congratulated everyone on the launch of a large-scale environmental project that is significant for the city and the company.

The Sulfur Program is the Nornickel’s unprecedented environmental initiative, aimed at achieving sulfur recovery rates at the level of the best global practices.

Nornickel supports environmentally responsible metal production and has for many years invested significant resources in reducing harmful emissions at its enterprises. A significant part of these efforts is aimed at implementing the Sulfur Program – Nornickel’s largest and most important environmental initiative, which will significantly reduce sulfur dioxide emissions in the Norilsk industrial region. We are strongly determined to complete this project”, Sergey Dubovitsky, Nornickel’s senior vice president, commented on the Sulfur Program start.

The construction of the Sulfur Program facilities at NMP lasted more than three years. The bulk of materials and equipment for the large-scale project were delivered along the Northern Sea Route. As a result, practically another plant was built in Norilsk.

The commissioning of the constructed complex at NMP into full-scale operation is planned to be carried out in stages. Sulfur dioxide emissions from metallurgical plants in Norilsk amount to about 1.8 million tons per year. The project’s achievement of technological parameters will make it possible to fulfill the legislative requirements to reduce the total volume of pollutant emissions in Norilsk by at least 20 percent in 2024. Over the course of 2025, sulfur dioxide emissions from city enterprises will decrease by 45 percent from the 2015 base level.

The technologies adopted for the Sulfur Program will make it possible to capture not only sulfur dioxide from the exhaust gases of the NMP’s main smelting units, but also solid substances released during the of sulfide concentrates smelting.

During the Sulfur Program construction, the company faced restrictions due to the refusal of certain foreign companies to supply critical equipment to Russia. Nornickel, with the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade’s support, was able to find alternative manufacturers and suppliers. As a result of this work, the share of equipment produced in Russia or friendly countries amounted to more than 90 percent.

The size of Nornickel’s investment in the Sulfur Program at NMP after the project is fully implemented will amount to more than 180 billion rubles. These costs are purely environmental in nature.

Nornickel’s president Vladimir Potanin commented on the Sulfur Program launch:

“For many decades, the Norilsk plant has been an air polluter in the Arctic. From its founding in the 1930s until recently, the environment was not a priority. And there were no corresponding technologies either. When our team came to manage the company, we decided to radically change the environmental situation. The huge scale, difficult polar conditions and logistics, the covid epidemic and the changed geopolitical situation – all this led to the fact that Nornickel’s Sulfur Program was seriously transformed and changed its configuration. Today we are launching the first series programs at the Nadezhda plant. This is a project of an all-Russian scale, affecting the entire Arctic. For the Nornickel team, this launch is a symbol of fulfilling our obligations, first of all, to the Norilsk residents”.

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Text: Maria Ivanova, Photo: Nikolay Shchipko

October 26, 2023

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