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Norilsk Nickel disagrees with methodology for calculating damage caused by diesel fuel spill

Christian Fernsby ▼ | July 10, 2020
Nornickel announces that it disputes the amount of damage caused to the environment as a result of the diesel fuel spill, which has been calculated by the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources Management (Rosprirodnadzor).
Norilsk Nickel Arctic
Spill   Norilsk Nickel Arctic
At the same time, Nornickel reiterates its commitment to fully cover the cost of remediation of the environmental impact of this accident.

Topics: Norilsk Nickel spill

The company sent a letter to that effect to Rosprirodnadzor.

According to the Company, the calculations of damages caused to water bodies and soil made by the Yenisei Interregional Department of Rosprirodnadzor were based on certain assumptions, which led to distortion of the damage estimates and thus should be adjusted.

In particular, the maximum applicable multiple of 5x was applied in this calculation, which reflects the duration of pollutants having negative impact on a water body assuming that no measures have been taken to eliminate the impact (so-called “Kdl coefficient” or duration coefficient).

Meanwhile, according to the prevailing legal practice, such a multiple due to being punitive in nature is applied only in cases when no efforts have been undertaken at all or no efforts have been undertaken over a long period of time to clean up pollution.

Taking into account the Company’s immediate response and launch of the clean-up of the diesel spill, applying the maximum multiple (“Kdl coefficient”) was not justified.

The existing judicial practice also refutes the justification of applying the maximum multiple to cases of pollution of water bodies with oil sub-products due to their solubility.

Diesel fuel, which have been leaked to a water body, does not fall under the category of soluble pollutants, which are not feasible to collect from the water surface.

In the Company’s opinion, the volume of oil products which has been spilled to the water bodies has been also determined incorrectly, since their content in the water-fuel mixture, contaminated soil and sorbent collected in the HPP-3 area was estimated before the collection of oil products in this area was completed.

At the same time, the Company reiterates its commitment to fully cover the cost of remediation of the environmental impact of the fuel spill accident in line with the applicable legislation.

Furthermore, Nornickel is ready not only to remediate the environmental impact, but also to completely restore the ecosystem of the impacted area in close cooperation with Rosprirodnadzor and other government agencies and organizations.

The Company has organized regular monitoring of the environment in the impacted area in order to receive objective measurement of the pollution levels and the effectiveness of clean-up efforts.

The recent water tests taken by Rosprirodnadzor confirm that pollution levels in the water bodies were in line with the background maximum permissible levels of pollution (PDK).

Nornickel has already launched land recultivation program.

The Company jointly with the leading Russian and international experts has been simultaneously looking for the best technologies and tools, which should help to restore the environment as much as possible.