MAC: Mines and Communities

"No to Norilsk!" - Russian peoples plea to Elon Musk

Published by MAC on 2020-08-15
Source: Bloomberg

An Indigenous group in Russia's Arctic has taken the unusual step of appealing to the supposed environmentalist Elon Musk.

They plead that he forgoes buying nickel supplies from one of the world's most castigated mining companies - Norilsk Nickel - at least until the company compensates the people for massive damages [SeeNew Norilsk disaster ].

Russian Arctic peoples appeal to Elon Musk for Nornickel boycott

By Áine Quinn

Bloomberg News -

7 August 2020

Indigenous group says miner turned land into ‘lunar landscape’

Nornickel is facing increased scrutiny of environmental record

A group of indigenous people in Russia are asking Tesla Inc’s Elon Musk
to stop buying supplies from miner MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC until the
company compensates them for environmental damage to their ancestral lands.

“The lands of indigenous people appropriated by the company for
industrial production now resemble a lunar landscape,” members of the
Aborigen Forum network wrote in an open letter to Musk this week.
“Traditional use of these lands is no longer possible.”

The group is asking Nornickel to assess the damage from a massive fuel
spill in the Arctic earlier this year, revise its policies toward
indigenous peoples and to re-cultivate contaminated areas in the Taymyr
Peninsula and Murmansk Oblast, where the company’s operations are based.

The appeal comes after Musk last month promised a “giant contract” to
companies mining nickel in an environmentally sensitive way. Supplies of
the metal, which is a key component for electric vehicle batteries,
could run short as early as 2023, according to BloombergNEF.

The letter adds to pressure on the Russian mining giant, which has long
been criticized for its environmental record. It is contesting a fine of
as much as $2 billion for the May fuel spill that infuriated Russian
President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s northern indigenous populations are finding their traditional
lifestyle under threat from climate change and development. Warmer
temperatures are making access to remote areas reliant on frozen roads
more unreliable, while pollution from projects to extract the area’s
resources have impacted local fish and wildlife that locals rely upon
for food.

A spokesperson for Nornickel declined to immediately comment on the letter.


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