Russian metals and mining giant Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) said on Thursday it had designated 10.5billion rubles ($143million) to the fight against the spread of coronavirus and to increasing protection measures for its workers, bneIntelliNews reports.
“The money will be used to purchase medical equipment, medicines and personal protective gear for local healthcare institutions, the company’s operating sites and employees, as well as to provide additional support for the company employees and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) located in NorNickel’s regions of operation,” the company, owned by tycoon Vladimir Potanin, said in comments emailed to the news outlet.
Nornickel’s main nickel and platinum group metals mines operate in the Norilsk industrial region, on the Kola Peninsula and in ZabaykalskyKrai in Russia’s Far North – some of the most extreme climate conditions in the world.
The donation is part of Nornickel’s growing focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG). The company implemented a comprehensive ESG policy more than a year ago and has already invested more than $2bn in removing sulphur dioxide gas from its emissions – one of the GHG gases proscribed by the Paris convention – as well as closing some of the more problematic metal plants. And the company said earlier this year it intends to invest another $3 billion in the coming years to clean up its emissions.
To beef up the local medical facilities to tackle the crisis, the company has also bought two stationary laboratories and five mobile laboratories to test for the coronavirus infection that will shortly be put into operation, it said.
“Measures have also been taken to increase hospitals’ capacity. In Norilsk, the number of beds in the city’s hospital infectious disease ward has more than doubled from 45 to 100, whereas in the worst-case eventuality this number can quickly be increased to 1,000,” the company said.