Norilsk, Russia

Norilsk, Russia

Site Name: Norilsk, Russia


Pollutant: Copper, nickel oxide, other heavy metals


Population Affected: 135,000


Site Description:

Norilsk is an industrial city founded in 1935. Mining and smelting operations began in the 1930s, and Norilsk contained the world’s largest heavy metals smelting complex up until the early 2000s. Nearly 500 tons each of copper and nickel oxides and two million tons of sulfur dioxide were released annually into the air. Life expectancy for factory workers in Norilsk is 10 years below the Russian average. Norilsk Nickel, the firm responsible for the pollution, is one of Russia’s leading producers of non-ferrous and platinum-group metals. It ranks first among Russian industrial enterprises in terms of air pollution.

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