Rusal, one of the largest shareholders of Norilsk Nickel, made a statement regarding the situation in the company after a series of accidents. Rusal expressed doubts about the competence of Norilsk Nickel's management and demanded that the main owner, Vladimir Potanin, change management and move the headquarters from Moscow to Norilsk. The application was received by RBC.
UC Rusal owns 27.8% of Norilsk Nickel. Vladimir Potanin owns 34.5% of the company and is president and chairman of the board.
“What is happening at Norilsk Nickel makes us wonder how competent and capable the management is to run the company. Also, a question arises for the board of directors - how much it is able to influence what is happening in the company and whether it gives a report that this situation will inevitably lead to unpleasant questions from the environmental and investment communities, ”Rusal said in a statement.
UC Rusal reported that the company appealed to the board of directors of Norilsk Nickel with a proposal to adopt a resolution and demand that Vladimir Potanin, as a managing partner, "change the management team, move the company's head office to Norilsk and change the company's attitude to environmental and safety issues." Now the head office of the company is located in Moscow.
Norilsk Nickel declined to comment.
UC Rusal was founded by Oleg Deripaska, who, prior to the imposition of US sanctions, was the main owner of the company through the En + holding (the sanctions against Rusal were later lifted, one of the conditions was a decrease in the businessman's control over the company). Deripaska has been in litigation with Vladimir Potanin for several years over the terms of the sale of a 4% stake held by Roman Abramovich. In 2018, UC Rusal filed a lawsuit in a London court, accusing Abramovich and Potanin of conspiracy to make the buyback of Norilsk Nickel shares unprofitable for Deripaska's company. The court sided with UC Rusal, and in April 2020 the litigation was over.
The accident at TPP-3 near Norilsk, owned by Norilsk Nickel's subsidiary NTEK, occurred on May 29. About 21 thousand tons of oil products were spilled from the tank with diesel fuel. According to Rosprirodnadzor, 6 thousand tons fell into the ground, and the remaining 15 thousand tons - into water bodies. Rosprirodnadzor estimated the damage from the accident at 148 billion rubles. - a record amount for Russia.
In UC Rusal, the amount of damage, named by Rosprirodnadzor, was called “unexpected”. “We expect that a meeting of the board of directors will be convened in the very near future, at which the managing partner [Vladimir Potanin] and management will propose sources to cover losses from such an unprecedented fine,” the company said on July 6.
After the accident near Norilsk, it became known about several more incidents with environmental pollution associated with Norilsk Nickel and its "daughters". In June it became known that the Talnakh enrichment plant (Pacific Fleet, part of Norilsk Nickel) for some time was discharging polluted water from the tailing dump into the adjacent territory. From there wastes contaminated with heavy metals fell into the Kharaelakh River. On July 12, another incident took place - in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, near the village of Tukhard, 44.5 tons of aviation kerosene spilled out during fuel transfer due to depressurization of the Norilsktransgaz pipeline.