The metallurgical workshop in the Russian Arctic city of Monchegorsk closed on 20 March. Shop’s closure will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, and with the shutdown of the smelting shop in the town of Nikel, the emissions in Kola Peninsula in 2021 will be 85% lower compared to 2015. Learn more about air quality in Finnmark, Norway is to become cleaner – because Russia shut down copper plant.
Metallurgical shop in russian Arctic Monchegorsk has been shut down on March 20th, 2021. It was previously a major source of sulphur dioxide emissions in the region, Russian owner Norilsk Nickel said in a press release.
The environmental impact will be evident next year
Immediately after the shop’s closure, Nornickel will start cleaning up the production facilities and the metallurgical units from the copper-containing materials. This work will last throughout 2021, and the dismantling of production facilities and buildings will start in 2022.
“The results of the company’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact are evident: next year, we expect Kola MMC’s emissions to be 22,000 tonnes per year, of which 8,000-9,000 depending on the season are emissions from the power plant, which also heats homes in Monchegorsk,” said Evgeny Borzenko, General Director of Kola MMC. – We plan to upgrade the power plant in order to reduce emissions from this energy source as well. In the future we will act to reduce the negative environmental impacts: air emissions, discharges into the water bodies, land reclamation, waste management”.
Some changes in nature are already visible
Paul Eric Aspholm, a researcher at NIBIO Svanhovd or the Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomic Research, positively views the situation.
“From the perspective of nature protection, the stopping of SO2 and other pollutants from the Nickel- melting plant will make the nature to recover slowly. Already, there are some changes in the nature as a response to the lowering emissions since the 1990-thies. The process of recovery is slowly but visible through some decades, i.e. horsehair lichens. Further, the common frogs have become more common and the mice (voles) reach higher number of individuals during the maximum of population cycles,” noted the scientist.
Scientists from the Finnish Meteorological Institute also follow the news from Russia. Scientists have learned from the media about the modernization program of the Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel and believe that this is good news.
Changes in Russian industry might improve the environment
«Yes, we followed the news about this reform with great interest. We learned from the media that the Nickel complex, which is closest to the Finnish border, will be closed and activities will be transferred to the Monchegorsk block, located 250 km from the border. In general, this is good news, but only if the new facilities in Monchegorsk are modern from an environmental point of view» noted by FMI scientist Pia Anttila.
She also expressed the hope that these changes in the Russian industry could improve the environment, air quality and the content of heavy metals in the air in the future will decrease compared to the observations of previous years.
The shop’s closure is part of a global strategy aimed at transforming Norilsk Nickel, also known as Nornickel, into an environmentally friendly company – or at the very least, limiting its environmental impact.
Air quality in Finnmark to become cleaner – Russia shut down copper plant, written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian by Martin Berg. Martin is a Danish freelance journalist currently based in Oslo. For the past 15 years writing for different newspapers and web publications covering social and environmental issues.