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Nornickel fighting allegations of cover-up

Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) is rebuffing accusations of a cover-up concerning an oil spill in the Arctic.

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Attempts to contain the spill (Marine Rescue Service/Reuters)
Attempts to contain the spill (Marine Rescue Service/Reuters)

As reported by Reuters, pressure is mounting on the company after the Arctic oil spill wiped around 17% off its share price, left it with a hefty compensation bill and exposed it to accusations of covering up the full extent of the damage.


Nornickel denies the cover-up allegations by green campaigners, a regional governor and a former official at Russia’s environmental watchdog, who have spoken out publicly and, in some cases, published tests, photographs and witness accounts to support their allegations.


Their evidence, which Reuters said it has been unable to verify, shows diesel has spread into a lake and, according to witnesses, into a river that feeds into the Arctic Ocean.


Citing official tests and satellite images, Nornickel denies pollution has spread into either body of water. It said it has contained the leak, from a power station near the industrial city of Norilsk on May 29, and that it has recovered 90% of the diesel by using containment booms and pumps.


It also denies hiding the extent of the damage, saying the vast number of companies, regulators and others officials involved in the clean-up operation guarantees full transparency.


“We cannot imagine how it would be possible to hide anything in such conditions,” a company spokeswoman said. “An investigation into the incident is being carried out by regulatory and monitoring agencies.”


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