Fire breaks out at Nornickel power station with one fatality

A brief fire outbreak at one of Russian multi-metal miner Nornickel’s Arctic power plants had led to the death of one worker, the company said on Monday August 3.

Fastmarkets understands that the fire, caused by a short circuit, was confined to six square meters and was extinguished quickly, having no material impact on production at the plant.

The fire is the latest in a line of incidents at the company’s facilities.

The company is currently contesting a $2.1 billion fine, the largest in Russia’s history, for a 21,000-tonne fuel spill into Arctic waterways in Siberia on May 29.

The spill was the first of three environmental incidents to befall the miner.

The company reported the overflow of clarified industrial water at its Talnahk concentrator in Siberia on June 28 while another subsidiary, Norilsk-Transgaz in Krasnoyarsk, suffered a second fuel spill on July 12.

Major shareholder Russian aluminium producer UC Rusal, which holds a 27.82% stake in the company, subsequently made a public call for new Nornickel leadership in a press release on July 14.

The statement called into question the competence of Nornickel’s management and suggested the company move its headquarters to Siberia to better handle operations there.

As a result, Nornickel has announced multiple personnel changes at corporate level and the introduction of a standalone environmental department but did not go as far as relocating its headquarters to Norilsk itself.

The miner has already invested an estimated $150 million in clean-up costs for the first fuel spill, 90% of which has been retrieved from Arctic waters, according to Nornickel.

The company made a further announcement on June 19 that it would invest $193 million to improve safety across its plants over an 18-month period.

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