Within the framework of implementation of the Zapolarny Branch charity programme, Since 2012, Federal State Budgetary Institution Joint Directorate of the Taimyr Nature Reserves.the Taimyr Nature Reserves received over 500 thousand roubles in 2013 for the purchase of construction materials and equipment. The project “Reduction of Poaching on Large Norilsk Lakes by Creating Conditions for Recreational Fishing in the Upper Part of the Pyasina River Basin” prepared by the Joint Directorate of the Taimyr Nature Reserves also won the first open competition of social projects “Our future – Our responsibility” organised by the Company (see section “Social Projects Competition” for further details).
The Pasvik State Nature Reserve is located 30 km from the Nickel industrial site of Kola MMC. The nature reserve is included in the Perspective list of wetlands of international importance (Ramsar Convention) under the name of Fyarvann Skonning Landfill. The total area of the nature reserve is 14,727 hectares. Its territory is inhabited by 15 species listed in the Russian Red Data Book, of which 7 are rare, 3 are vulnerable, 4 are supported, and 1 is disappearing. The Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) includes nine species, of which 8 are near threatened (NT) and 1 is vulnerable (VU).
In 2013, the Company allocated funds for the construction of a thermal centre and the installation of a heating system at the visitor centre of the nature reserve, and provided financial assistance in the amount of 10.5 million roubles. The nature reserve conducts scientific research as part of a programme called “Environmental Evaluation of the Natural Environment in the Area of Operation of the Pechenganikel Plant” under the agreement reached with Kola MMC.
According to the results of observations presented at the conference “Protection of the Arctic from the Atmospheric Pollution”, positive biodiversity dynamics can be observed in the impact zone of Kola MMC. The situation with respect to the number of bird species at a distance of 15 kilometres away from the industrial site is identical to that observed in the middle lane. Gradually, new previously undetected species of flora and fauna have been identified.
Lapland State Nature Biosphere Reserve is located 10 km from the Monchegorsk industrial site. In 2013, Kola MMC provided financial assistance to the Lapland Nature Reserve in the amount of 1,750,000 roubles.
In addition, the project of the Lapland Nature Reserve “Birds in Nests. Technosphere. Monitoring” became one of the winners of a competition for socially significant initiatives organised by Kola MMC in 2013.
The experts of the nature reserve and volunteering citizens hung 30 nest boxes for tits, redstarts, and tomtits in the territory of Monchegorsk and in the area adjacent to the industrial site of Kola MMC. Additionally, the volunteers were monitoring birds and assisted in the statistical analysis of data. Since 2012, redstart nesting sites have been discovered in the territories bordering the industrial site of Kola MMC, where the Company has been conducting reclamation works for several years.
A yearbook titled News of the EcoLapland was also issued within the framework of the project. It published 40 articles on nature conservation prepared by staff, representatives of large industrial enterprises in the region, educational institutions, libraries and the Kola Nickel newspaper. At the end of 2013, the Lapland Nature Reserve project ‘Birds in Nests’ won the “100 steps to the Arctic” competition organised by the World Wildlife Fund in collaboration with Panasonic.
In 2013, the Company financed the development of design estimates for the construction of a new visitor centre at the Chunoozerskaya Estate Nature Reserve. In addition, the Company has allocated funds for the purchase of five snowmobiles.
In accordance with the contract reached with Kola MMC, the Lapland Nature Reserve is developing methods for the restoration of damaged natural complexes located in the area of long-term exposure to aerotechnogenic emissions originating from the Severonikel factory, and conducts monitoring of the territory of the Monchegorsk district adjacent to the industrial site of Monchegorsk and the territory of the nature reserve. The works, costing 3.5 million roubles in total, were carried out in 2013.
In order to restore the natural environment in the areas where the enterprises belonging to Kola MMC are located, the following was accomplished in 2013:
In 2013, work associated with caring for optimised (landscaped) areas on the parcel of land adjacent to the tailing storage facility Lebyazhye was carried out at the Zapolarny Branch in order to create long-term sustainable vegetation cover consisting of perennial grasses and trees.
In connection with the emergency situation occurring in the territory of the municipal entity Norilsk in summer 2013, which was attributed to abnormally low water level in the river Norilskaya (the main source of water for the Norilsk industrial district), the Company implemented the “Comprehensive Programme to Prevent Restrictions of Water Supply to Municipal Facilities in the Region and the Industrial Enterprises of the Norilsk Nickel Group”. The Zapolarny Branch carried out the construction of a “low bridge” within the framework of the Programme implementation, in order to conduct an analysis of low Norilskaya river flowage and provide recommendations to ensure normal operation of the water intake stations. The results of the works performed included equalisation of water levels in the Norilskaya River and, as a consequence, restoration of continuous operation of the Norilsk water supply system. The “heightened readiness” state was cancelled in Norilsk in early October due to low water levels in the Norilskaya river.
The risks posed by climate change can also include problems caused by thawing of soils.