Small fine for Russia metals giant over red river leak

Puddles of bright red polluted water are seen on the bank of the river Daldykan in the region of the city of Norilsk on Septembe
Puddles of bright red polluted water are seen on the bank of the river Daldykan in the region of the city of Norilsk on September 8, 2016

Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel has been handed a small fine for a spillage last month that turned an Arctic river bright red, the company confirmed Monday.

Russia's environment ministry opened an investigation in September after images showed the Daldykan river near Norilsk, a city of 170,000 in Russia's far north, flowing bright red.

"Norilsk Nickel confirms the company was issued a decree detailing administrative punishment," said a company statement sent to AFP.

Imposed by the environment ministry's watchdog, the punishment amounts to a "fine for the impact by polluting substances... on the river Daldykan," it said.

A spokeswoman refused to name the amount of the fine, referring AFP to Russia's administrative code, which says that companies which violate protection regulations for bodies of water are to be fined between 30,000 to 40,000 rubles ($475-$630/430 - 575 euros).

Norilsk Nickel is the world's biggest producer of nickel and palladium and reported net profits of $1.3 billion (1.2 billion euros) in the first half of this year.

After initially refusing to confirm a leak at its plant, Norilsk Nickel said that in early September had resulted in water flooding over a "filtration dam" at its Nadezhda plant in Norilsk and into the river.

The river feeds into a local lake which locals use to fish, but not information was sent out to warn the public, an indigenous activist in the region told AFP last month.

The environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor told RIA Novosti that the company has 10 days to appeal the decision.


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© 2016 AFP

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