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Nornickel Admits Waste Discharge at Talnakh Plant in Arctic

Metal News - Published on Mon, 29 Jun 2020

Image Source: Nornickel Talnakh Plant Waste Discharge
Russian metal & mining giant Nornickel has suspended workers at Talnakh enrichment plant near the Arctic city of Norilsk, who were responsible for pumping wastewater into nearby tundra. It said “On June 28, 2020, at 8:20, to avoid any possible damage from clarified industrial water found overflowing from a sump at the Talnakh Concentrator, the plant’s personnel chose to pump the water to an adjacent site. This decision constituted a gross violation of the factory’s operational protocols. The responsible personnel have been suspended effective immediately and Nornickel has opened an internal investigation. The company is cooperating with Russia’s ecology watchdog Rosprirodnadzor and the Ministry of Emergency Situations to monitor the situation and assess whether any damage has occurred.”

A source told Interfax news agency that around 6,000 cubic metres of liquid used to process minerals at the facility had been dumped and that the discharge had lasted several hours. It was impossible to determine how far the wastewater had dispersed

Independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta published videos from the scene showing large metal pipes carrying wastewater from the reservoir and dumping foaming liquid into nearby trees.

The journalists claimed the factory deliberately funnelled the wastewater into wildlife areas and hastily removed their pipes when investigators and emergency services arrived on the scene. The Investigative Committee, which probes serious crimes, said it had received reports of unauthorised dumping of liquid waste into the tundra on the site of the facility, and had opened an enquiry. The local emergency services in a statement said the wastewater was not likely to reach the nearby Kharayelakh river.

Russia's natural resources agency said the decision to remove water from the reservoir was taken to avoid an emergency after heavy rains and recent tests had caused water levels to increase dramatically.

The massive fuel spill last month took place at a plant owned by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, which had said that the fuel tank had collapsed or sank due to melting permafrost due to climate change. Putin declared an emergency situation after the accident and the head of Norilsk Nickel, oligarch Vladimir Potanin, promised to pay the costs of the clean-up. The Russian authorities said earlier this month they had cleared the spill from the surface of a river, but the full clean-up could take years.

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Posted By : Yogender Pancholi on Mon, 29 Jun 2020
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