Protection of water bodies
A big part of Nornickel’s environmental efforts is devoted to water resources protection. As a party to the UN Global Compact, the Company is committed to advancing the sustainable development goals related to water resources, in particular SDG 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, SDG 12 Responsible consumption and production, and SDG 14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. In addition, we adhere to the requirements of prominent associations and best practices in sustainable development. Nornickel consistently ensures compliance with permissible wastewater discharge limits based on corporate environmental reporting of the Group’s companies.
In 2021, MMC Norilsk Nickel adopted the Position Statement on Water Stewardship as a set of the key relevant principles, obligations, initiatives and targets. The Company works to reduce and, where possible, prevent negative impact on water resources caused by production and delivery operations. Our role and responsibilities regarding water use consist in informed corporate decision-making drawing on sustainable development principles and our commitment to maintaining the Company’s market value without harming the environment.
Key principles of Nornickel’s water stewardship:
- complying with applicable national laws and rules;
- ensuring adherence to international best practices and requirements of leading sustainability associations;
- no Company’s or its branches’ operations in water-scarce areas as they are defined in the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas;
- making sure that the employees of the production facilities belonging to the Company and its branches comply with the 2021 Position Statement on Water Stewardship at all stages of these facilities’ life cycle;
- fostering employee knowledge and skills in responsible water use at our sites and branches, identifying meaningful incentives to stimulate responsible water use;
- enabling information accessibility and transparency as regards water stewardship;
- working towards water consumption and discharge targets, efficient water use;
- proactively engaging stakeholders on matters of external water resource management to support predictable, consistent and effective regulation;
- liaising with government bodies to participate in drafting environmental responsible water protection regulations.
Nornickel’s water stewardship goals:
- reducing water impact down to the limits set out in Russia’s sanitation and hygiene legislation (where necessary);
- efficiently using water, with the water recycling and reuse ratios maintained at a minimum of 80%;
- keeping absolute fresh water withdrawal (excluding mining water) for production needs below 120 mcm;
- determining the water balance for all production assets and implementing automated online monitoring of all water withdrawal and discharge (including effluent) in 2022.
Nornickel uses water from surface and underground sources for its drinking, production and process supply needs, as well as for community and shipping needs. Water is withdrawn in compliance with the pre-approved limits, without any major impacts on water bodies. All of the Company’s facilities that withdraw water implement surveillance programmes for water bodies and water protection zones. No water is withdrawn from the bodies included in the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
Effluents by destination in 2021, ‘000 m3
To decrease withdrawal volumes, the Company continues to improve its closed water circuit, which enables efficient use of water resources.
Nornickel’s works to make sure its wastewater effluents do not exceed the approved limits, including admissible impact limits, or have any major impact on biodiversity of water bodies and related habitats.
In 2021, the Group withdrew 351.2 mcm of water, of which 320.3 mcm came down to Kola MMC, NTEC and Polar Division, and 30,9 mcm — to other Group operations. Water withdrawal was reduced mainly due to a decrease in non-freeze discharges, leaks (losses) as a result of repairs of water pipelines at NTEC.
In 2021, reused and recycled water accounted for 84.6% of total water consumed by the Group. A 12% decline in the volume of water used by 2020 was driven by a reduction in the volume of recycled water NTEC uses to cool equipment.
Fresh water accounts for 7% of the Company’s effluents, the rest being other wastewater.
In 2021, the Company spent RUB 105.4 mln on building and upgrading wastewater treatment facilities to improve the quality of water discharge. They, in particular, include the treatment facilities for drained water, tailing dumps and industrial effluents alongside local and additional facilities.
Total water consumption, mcm
Total effluents, mcm