Russia: Norilsk Nickel's plant spill raises concerns about environment & livelihoods

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13 September 2016

Russia: Indigenous people fear Norilsk Nickel spill impacts on environment & their livelihoods

Author: AFP, Guardian (UK)

"Russian metals firm admits spillage turned river blood red," 12 Sep 2016

…Norilsk Nickel has admitted a spillage at one of its plants was responsible for turning a local river blood red…After initially refusing to confirm a leak, Norilsk Nickel…said heavy rain on 5 September had resulted in water flooding over a filtration dam at the plant and into the river. “Despite the short-term discolouration of the water ... this incident does not present a danger for people or fauna in the river,” the company said in a statement. Environmental activists, however, insisted that it was too early to judge the environmental impact…Greenpeace Russia official Alexei Kiselyov…said that investigating…was extremely difficult, because its infrastructure was located in remote areas…Groups representing indigenous populations in the area say that local media went out of their way to whitewash the company and did not inform the public after the accident…Sidor Chuprin, an indigenous activist…accused Norilsk Nickel workers of poor safety standards and said locals are concerned about the Daldykan river, because they fish in another river further downstream…

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13 September 2016

Statement by Norilsk Nickel

Author: Norilsk Nickel

"Abnormal rains became the reason for Daldykan River Case," 12 Sep 2016

In response to the reports made by local media…regarding changes in coloration of the Daldykan river, situated in Norilsk Industrial area, Nornickel declares:

Nornickel has investigated the reasons for temporary color change of Daldykan river…In 2015-2016 the Company modernized tailings dam and tailings pipeline of hydrometallurgical shop of Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant (NMP)…Before a pipe tie-in the standard work procedure requires to drain the whole pipeline with discharge of wash water into tailings dam…On the 5th of September after abnormal heavy rain…the overflow of one of the dikes occurred, and water entered Daldykan river.

Short-term river color staining with iron salts presents no hazards for people and river fauna.
The Company undertakes all necessary actions to assess the areas with the biggest historical pollution and eliminate effects of the old tailings pipeline operation by sanitary stripping of the ground. Nornickel will put the most efforts to avoid such incidents in future.

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