Mega-polluter posts net profit of $765 million

Pollution from the chimneys in Nikel moves towards the Norwegian border, while the snow around the plant is black of fallout of heavy metals, sulphur dioxide and other pollutions from the plant.

Poisons from the chimneys kill nature in the borderland to Norway, but Russia’s Norilsk-Nickel is a river of cash flow for its owners.


The company presented its financial results from 2013 on Monday. Revenues amounted to $11,5 billion, down 7 percent in what Norilsk-Nickel says is due to lower prices of nickel, copper and platinum.

Despite lower prices on metal, the smelters on the Kola Peninsula and in Norilsk on the Taimyr Peninsula still makes spectacular economic profit for its shareholders. Excluding the impact of non-cash write-offs, Norilsk-Nickel’s net profit amounted to $2,6 billion last year, the company says in a market update.

That is down 15 percent from 2012.

Including write-offs, the net profit was $765 million. Write-offs include property, plant and equipment, both at the factories and mines in Siberia and on the Kola Peninsula.

Plans to pay $2 billion in dividends
The company has earlier said the goal has been to pay not less than $2 billion per year as dividends to its shareholders.

In Norway, Norilsk-Nickel is most famous for being worst-on-dirt. The company’s plant in Nikel is located some few kilometers from the Norwegian border. Consentration of sulphur dioxide on the Norwegian side of the border notoriously exceeds maximum allowed limits for air quality. Air quality samles taken by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) show that Svanvik in the Pasvik valley has the highest precipitation values for heavy metals among all sample stations in entire Norway. Sør-Varanger municipality has the highest measured concentrations of sulphur dioxide (SO2) in all of Norway.

The levels are higher than the maximum legal limits for SO2 made by Norwegian and EU regulations.

Lack of environmental performance
Larisa Bronder with the environmental group Bellona is not impressed by the company’s environmental investments.

Larisa Bronder with the Bellona Foundation is an expert on the pollution from Norilsk-Nickel’s plants on the Kola Peninsula.

“Norilsk-Nickel’s Kola GMK is responsible for  43 percent of all toxic emissions on the Kola Peninsula. The company reports about big investments in environment, but the figures from company’s official reports  shows a bad sing of reducing environmental investments in the last two years,” Larisa Bronder says to BarentsObserver.

She points to the fact that in 2012, the investment in the environmental projects were reduced almost twice, from $50 million in 2011 to $29 million in 2012.

“The emissions are on the same level as before. The environmental investments of the company are not reflected in the environmental performance,” Larisa Bronder says.

Bellona urges the company to prove that it takes environmental investments seriously.

“The financial result of Norilsk-Nickel in 2013 shows that the company managed to make a profit of  $765 million inspite of the market’s low nickel price. It is announced in the corporate strategy of Norilsk-Nickel that the company put focus on building a sustainable and an environmental responsible business. Now the company has to prove it by investing in the new technology in Nikel,” Bronder says.