Norilsk, Worst Sulphur-Dioxide Polluter, Plans Facility in 2016

OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the biggest sulphur-dioxide polluter, said the first stage of a facility to reduce emissions will start in late 2016 as the company woos investors after Norway banned it from the country’s wealth fund.

The company needs to cut emissions at its Polar unit to 425,000 metric tons from 1.91 million tons with the aid of the sulphur recovery-and-storage plant, Konstantin Mashkovich, head environmental regulation, told reporters in London today without giving a timeline for full completion of the facility.

While Norilsk didn’t meet Norway’s sovereign wealth fund at investor roadshows it held this week in Helsinki, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Zurich and London, it is “open to conversations,” said Sergey Belyakov, the deputy head of investor relations.

Norway excluded Norilsk from its sovereign wealth fund in 2009 because of environmental damage. Norilsk is responsible for a quarter of Russia’s emissions of industrial sulphur dioxide. The company released 2.05 million tons of the pollutant in 2011, five times more than Xstrata Plc, the second-biggest emitter, according data on 258 mining companies compiled by Bloomberg.

Norilsk, the world’s biggest nickel miner, is spending $2 billion to cut emissions on top of the more than $2.4 billion it invested from 2007 through 2011, according to a presentation.

It signed a deal with Italy’s Techint Group to develop a $1.8 billion sulphur dioxide-capture project at the Polar unit, Norilsk said in July. It aims to cut emissions at its Zapolyarny site to 1,400 tons a year from 40,000, the presentation showed.