SOURCE: The Guardian

DATE: June 28, 2020

SNIP: A Russian mining giant said on Sunday it had suspended workers at a metals plant who were responsible for pumping wastewater into nearby Arctic tundra.

Independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta published videos from the scene showing large metal pipes carrying wastewater from the reservoir and dumping foaming liquid among nearby trees.

A source told Interfax news agency on Sunday that about 6,000 cubic metres of liquid used to process minerals at the facility had been dumped, and that the discharge had lasted “several hours”.

It was impossible to determine how far the wastewater had dispersed, the source said.

Norilsk Nickel cited a “flagrant violation of operating rules” in a statement announcing it had suspended employees responsible for dumping wastewater from a dangerously full reservoir into the natural environment.

The incident occurred at the Talnakh enrichment plant near the Arctic city of Norilsk, the company said.

It comes a month an unprecedented fuel leak at one of the company’s subsidiary plants near Norilsk saw President Vladimir Putin declare a state of emergency. More than 21,000 tonnes of diesel leaked from a fuel storage tank, with the fuel seeping into the soil and dying nearby waterways bright red.

The Novaya Gazeta journalists reported the factory funnelled the wastewater into wildlife areas and hastily removed their pipes when investigators and emergency services arrived on the scene.