Russia’s Nornickel has new routes for palladium supplies – Potanin says

Norilsk Nickel biggest shareholder Vladimir Potanin. (Image by Kremlin.ru, Wikimedia Commons).

Russian mining giant Nornickel is facing significant logistics issues but has managed to secure alternative routes for its palladium deliveries, its biggest shareholder, Vladimir Potanin, told Russian RBC TV on Saturday.

Potanin said airspace closures had made supplying palladium particularly challenging and the task was to find new routes to bring down surging demand and price hikes as much as possible. 

“Consumers do not like them,” he said in an interview with RBC. “Many of them are even looking at the possibility of cancelling their contracts.” 

Potanin said this week that Russia should try to preserve its economic position in markets that are now shunning Moscow over events in Ukraine, warning that confiscating the assets of companies that have fled Russia would shatter investor confidence for decades and take Russia back to the calamitous days of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. 

“The recovery of the Russian economy will depend on the depth of the crisis we enter,” Potanin said on Saturday. “The sooner this situation is resolved and the sooner normal dialogue with partners resumes, the softer the consequences for our country will be.”

He said Nornickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and refined nickel, was not yet considering moving to new markets from its traditional ones but does have plans in place.

As sanctions bite, another issue facing Russian companies is how to service their foreign debt amid foreign exchange limits imposed by the Russian government. 

Potanin, one of the most prominent Russian billionaires who is not sanctioned by the West, said a recently created finance ministry commission had granted Nornickel’s request for permission to service certain debt.

“Today (Russian oil producer) Rosneft and Nornickel were able to make payments that have become urgent,” Potanin said. He did not specify which type of debt.

(By Reuters; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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