The Russian mining giant Nornickel announced on Sunday it had suspended several of its employees dismissed in the nature of the wastewater from one of its enrichment plants-ore in the Arctic.
This new incident comes one month after a pollution episode without precedent for such hydrocarbons in the same region.
Norilsk Nickel has denounced, in a press release, “a flagrant violation of the operational instructions” on the part of the employees suspended.
The incident involved the plant of enrichment of Talnakh, located near the arctic city of Norilsk. Wastewater, used for the treatment of ore mined from the region, have “overflowed from a tank” Sunday and dumped in the nature, according to the company.
According to a source cited by the Russian news agency Interfax, about 6000 cubic metres of liquid which have been discharged into the nature. The rejection lasted for “several hours” and the area of rejection is soggy, indicated the same source.
According to Nornickel, the release has been “stopped” by the staff of the factory and it will not pose “any threat of leakage of waste.”
The services of the Russian ministry of emergency Situations on site, as cited by the public agency Ria Novosti, however, have evoked a risk of contamination of the river Kharaïelakh surrounding by toxic substances.
The investigative Committee of the Russian confirmed, in a press release, a “rejection of non-permitted liquid waste in the tundra zone” near Talnakh and announced the opening of an investigation.
The opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta , for his part, said that the factory rejected illegally and purposefully waste water in nature and has published images of the area. According to its local correspondents, employees of Nornickel have disassembled the pipes of rejection to look forward to when they arrive on-site investigators, and emergency services.
A spokesman for Nornickel, Tatiana Egorova, confirmed to AFP that the plant’s employees had taken the decision “to reject the purified water of the tank” and that an internal investigation was underway.
According to the Russian agency, environmental control, Rosprirodnadzor, the staff of the factory has taken this decision due to “heavy rainfall” which have resulted in a “sharp increase in the water level in the settling basin”.
To “avoid potential emergency situations, the employees have decided to “reject the industrial water is purified to the adjacent area”, in nature.
This is the second incident of this type in a month in the region: on may 29, 21 000 tonnes of fuel contained in the tank of a thermal power plant belonging to Nornickel were dumped into the river Ambarnaïa and land near, tinting the water purple.
President Vladimir Putin had declared a state of emergency in this region of the Russian Arctic is rich in minerals and coal.
The authorities have indicated, on the 17th of June, having completed the surface cleaning of this pollution, although complete cleanup may take “years”.
Nornickel considers that the accident was probably caused by the thawing of permafrost, or permafrost– as a result of climate change, which would have resulted in the collapse of the pillars supporting the tank.