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Russia: Indigenous communities ask Tesla not to get its nickel from major polluter

"Russian Indigenous communities are begging Tesla not to get its nickel from this major polluter", 22 September 2020.

Last month, Aborigen Forum, a group of Russian indigenous activists and leaders that Shchukin heads up, launched a campaign to raise awareness of Norilsk Nickel’s impacts on their communities and to demand restitution. Rather than focus on an obscure Arctic mining company, Aborigen Forum is appealing to someone more likely to grab international headlines: Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla...Aborigen Forum wants Musk to commit that his company won’t buy any nickel that can be traced to Norilsk until the Russian megapolluter cleans up its act.

Norilsk Nickel, also known as Nornickel, is one of the largest nickel producers on Earth. It claims to be the largest producer of so-called class 1 or high-purity nickel, the type coveted by battery manufacturers. Demand for high-purity nickel is predicted to surge as the electric car market grows...Even before this year’s oil spill, Nornickel was one of the biggest polluters in the entire Arctic... When a diesel storage tank at a Nornickel-owned natural gas power plant ruptured on May 29, a chronic environmental affliction became an acute crisis. The leak, which prompted Russian president Vladimir Putin to declare a federal emergency in early June, has been described as the second-largest oil accident in modern Russian history...

... So far, neither the company nor Musk himself has made any public responses to Aborigen Forum’s appeal... Aborigen Forum isn’t asking that Tesla or the larger EV industry boycott Nornickel forever....Shchukin said that the best result of the campaign would be for Nornickel to organize a “real negotiation” with indigenous peoples that results in greater indigenous participation in environmental monitoring and in Nornickel providing more essential services, like healthcare and education, to local communities...

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