Nornickel completes upgrade of Arctic-based concentrator

7th June 2017 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Nickel and palladium miner Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) has completed the Talnakh concentrator modernisation project, in Russia’s Arctic region, the company reported on Wednesday.

The upgrade, which cost 47-billion roubles, expanded the concentrator’s capacity by 34% from 7.6-million tonnes a year to 10.2-million tonnes a year.

The Talnakh concentrator, which forms part of Nornickel’s Polar division, reached the targeted throughput capacity in March, and the design parameters in April.

“The upgrade of the Talnakh concentrator is a key element of our downstream reconfiguration programme aiming at raising the operating efficiency of our business and reducing the environmental footprint of Nornickel's production sites,” Nornickel first VP Sergey Dyachenko said in a statement.

Launched in 2014, the modernisation project was split into two stages and also involved the construction of major engineering infrastructure for a new tailings pit. The concentrator's reconstruction and technical upgrade project involved the expansion of the main building, installation of a semiautogenous grinding mill by Metso Minerals, flotation machines, and fine grinding mills. The new tailings pit has a capacity of about six-million tonnes a year using a closed water circuit, which will significantly reduce fresh water usage and improve the environmental impact.

The concentrator, built in 1981, processes ores mined at the Talnakh and Oktyabrskoye deposits to produce nickel and copper concentrates.