Russia’s Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and nickel, announced the launching of a $2 billion program to support the city of Norilsk, located above the Arctic Circle and which hosts the company’s main industrial campus.
According to the miner’s CEO, Vladimir Potanin, the program involves four parties, including Norilsk Nickel, the federal government and regional authorities. The idea is for it to be introduced before 2024.
The funds will be used to launch social initiatives that promote enrollment in the Norilsk State Industrial Institute, as well as projects to build new housing for the city and advance infrastructure enhancements and renovations such as the refurbishing of unused factories and abandoned apartment buildings.
Industrial waste clean-up is also among the priorities set up in the deal.
With about 175,000 residents and no roads leading to it, Norilsk is considered a hard place to live.
Besides being covered with snow about 250 days a year, acid rain and severe smog, caused by the smelting of nickel ore, are common occurrences. According to Russia’s Federal State Statistics Service, Norilsk is the most polluted city in the country.
Non-for-profit organization Pure Earth, on the other hand, has listed the city among the 10 most polluted places on Earth, while NASA has reported that it is possible that 1% of global sulphur dioxide emissions come from Norilsk’s nickel mines.