Norilsk Nickel Yet to Submit Plan to Restore Land at Oil Spill Site

Norilsk Nickel has not yet submitted a plan to restore the environment at the oil spill site in Norilsk, head of the environment watchdog Rosprirodnadzor, Svetlana Radionova said on Friday. She hopes that the company will not delay compensation for damage, otherwise her department is ready for litigation, TASS reported.

“We have presented a calculation of the damage, we are waiting for a corresponding reaction from the company, which said that it had reserved the money. We very much hope for their responsible behavior in order to make these payments. <…> We also hope that further they will come to us for a recultivation project. <…> We hope that the company will not delay,” she told reporters.

However, according to Radionova, the recultivation project from Norilsk Nickel has not yet been submitted to Rosprirodnadzor. The company has not made payments to cover the damage, she added. According to her, the department is ready to go to court if the company does not want to voluntarily compensate for the damage. “Naturally, we will go to court if the company does not want to [voluntarily compensate the damage]. Although it is difficult for me to imagine <…> that such a large company would suddenly say that ‘I have nothing to do with it and owe nothing to anyone’,” Radionova said.

According to the head of Rosprirodnadzor, it will be possible to talk about the first results of ecosystem restoration at the site of the accident in about five years, since the damage has been significant.

On May 29, more than 21,000 tonnes of fuel spilled after a storage tank collapsed at the Combined Heat and Power Plant CHPP-3 operated by Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company, a subsidiary of metals giant Norilsk Nickel, in the city of Norilsk. The fuel leaked, flooding an area of 180,000 square meters of terrain and also into local rivers, causing damage to the environment.

The Russian environmental regulator Rosprirodnadzor estimated damages to the environment from the fuel spill at about 148 bln rubles ($1.9 bln). Norilsk Nickel said it would dispute the amount of damages stated by the watchdog.