Soil protection and responsible mining

Land protection

Nornickel seeks to reduce the negative impact on soils resulting from the Company’s operations. To this end, Nornickel focuses on the rehabilitation of all land affected by construction and mining, as well as otherwise affected by our operations.

The Company conducts an environmental impact assessment, including a negative impact on land, in accordance with the Russian laws.

Nornickel is developing the Oktyabrskoye, Talnakhskoye and Norilsk-1 deposits on the Taimyr Peninsula, Zhdanovskoye, Zapolyarnoye, Kotselvaara and Semiletka deposits on the Kola Peninsula, and the Bystrinskoye deposit in the Trans-Baikal Territory.

For each deposit, the Company has built and is continuously updating a list of measures to prevent or mitigate potential negative effects on the environment while ensuring sustainable use of natural resources throughout the deposit life cycle.

Environmental protection and monitoring measures taken during the deposit life cycle

The Company has field development, mine liquidation and land rehabilitation project documents in place for all of its deposits. Nornickel’s deposits are in commercial development, exploration or production test stages with liquidation or abandonment not expected until 2050 and special provisions set aside for rehabilitation activities.

Disturbed and rehabilitated land area in 2022, ha

GRI 304-3

Indicator Total Including:
during mining during construction during disposal of solid domestic and industrial waste during other activities
Total disturbed area, beginning of period 16,694 14,055 1,066 782 791
Total rehabilitated areaThe table does not include data on disturbed and rehabilitated land near CHP-3. 75 0 0 0 75
Total disturbed area in the reporting period 317 145 127 45 0
Total disturbed area, end of period 16,936 14,199 1,193 828 716

Completion of the restoration efforts at CHP-3

In January 2022, NTEC transferred land plots of a total area of 47.5 ha to the Norilsk Administration, with certificates for acceptance and delivery signed; 2021 saw the rehabilitation of these land plots, which were contaminated by the fuel spill and disturbed during clean-up activities.

As for the remaining area of 27.4 ha, the rehabilitation works were completed in full in the reporting year.

The quality of the work performed is confirmed by:

  • lab tests of the rehabilitated soils conducted by the Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences;
  • report on the inspection control and evaluation of the work quality submitted by the Institute of Soil Science and Agrochemistry of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The transfer of the rehabilitated land plots of a total area of 27.4 ha to the Norilsk Administration is scheduled for 2023.

Responsible exploration and field development

To replenish its resource base, Nornickel focuses closely on exploration, including geophysical and geochemical surveys and drilling at promising subsoil areas across the Company’s current operations. Nornickel sees a significant potential for the discovery of new deposits and plan to continue exploration both within and beyond its footprint to unlock it.

The Group’s exploration activities are subject to various regulations of the Russian Federation covering subsoil use, environmental protection, occupational health, industrial and fire safety. Furthermore, Nornickel assesses its environmental protection obligations based on the requirements of applicable laws in various jurisdictions, terms of licence agreements and internal engineering estimates as interpreted by the Company’s management.

In order to assess, monitor and predict the environmental situation during exploration, development and operation of deposits to make competent management decisions aimed at preserving habitats and ensuring environmental safety of traditional trades, we conduct environmental monitoring at all stages of exploration and development.

In addition to environmental monitoring, exploration is accompanied by a set of measures to protect the subsoil, topsoil, vegetation and water bodies. Upon completion of reserve exploration, disturbed land is subject to rehabilitation including liquidation of drilling sites, neutralisation of soil contaminated with fuel and lubricants, as well as land levelling. The sites are brought to a condition suitable for further use according to their intended purpose.

Exploration areas of Nornickel Group in 2022
Environmental impact of exploration activities
Activity Source of impact Type of impact Object of impact Environmental activities

Preparatory works:

  • Drilling site layout
  • Equipment transportation and storage
  • Construction of storage facilities for chemicals, fuel and lubricants
  • Road transport
  • Exhaust gases of motor vehicles, construction and road machinery
  • Excavated soil
  • Materials for site construction and preparation of drilling mud and cement slurries
  • Physical disturbance of the fertile soil layer, natural landscapes, thermal abuse, degradation of topsoil layers.
  • Ecosystem disturbance, changes in the flora and fauna habitats
  • Fertile soil layer on drilling equipment sites, routes of linear facilities
  • Flora and fauna, atmospheric air, soil, ground, surface water, landscape
  • Compliance with land allotment standards
  • Land rehabilitation
  • Construction of trays and platforms at machinery parking lots
  • Soil protection measures
  • Fire safety measures
Well drilling
  • Mud mixing unit
  • Drilling waste circulating system
  • Chemicals used for drilling and plugging
  • Waste products (mud spills, slime)
  • Domestic wastewater
  • Solid domestic waste
  • Crossflows inside the annulus and damaged casing string
  • Ecosystem disturbance and changes in habitats of certain plant and animal species
  • Machinery-generated noise
  • Flora and fauna, soils, subsoil, surface and underground water, snow cover, air
  • Animal and human habitats
  • Compliance with the requirements for the completeness of the study and use of subsoil
  • Planning protective measures based on the results of hydrological, geotechnical and environmental monitoring
  • Well plugging
Well abandonment and mothballing
  • Leaks in casing, casing pipes, wellhead equipment, mineralised water
  • Ecosystem disturbance and changes in habitats of certain plant and animal species
  • Flora and fauna, soils, surface and underground water, air, animal and human habitats
  • Plug and abandonment operations
  • Rehabilitation