Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) has completed the Talnakh concentrator modernisation project in Russia for more than RUR47bn ($820m). 

Following the upgrade, the plant’s total throughput capacity has increased more than 30% from 7.6Mtpa to 10.2Mtpa of ore.

In addition, the company noted that metal losses in tailings have been reduced, while target nickel and copper recovery rates to the collective concentrate and also the target quality of nickel-pyrrhotite and copper concentrates have been reached. 

Norilsk Nickel first vice-president Sergey Dyachenko said: “Upgrade of the Talnakh Concentrator is a key element of our downstream reconfiguration programme aimed at raising the operating efficiency of our business and reducing the environmental footprint of Nornickel’s production sites.

“In March 2017, Talnakh Concentrator reached the targeted throughput capacity, and in April, the design parameters. Going forward, we will focus on enhancing the Talnakh concentrator's operating performance.”

Furthermore, the upgrade programme is claimed to have reduced the environmental footprint by combing higher sulphur disposal to tailings with the shutdown of the nickel plant, resulting in lower sulphur dioxide emissions in the Norilsk Industrial District.

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"Going forward, we will focus on enhancing the Talnakh concentrator’s operating performance."

Carried out in two stages, the modernisation project involved construction of engineering infrastructure for a new tailings pit. 

As part of the concentrator’s reconstruction and technical upgrade project, the main building was expanded and a semi-autogenous grinding mill with a capacity of 10.2Mtpa of ore was installed by Metso Minerals.

Other installations included flotation machines and fine grinding mills.

With a capacity of approximately 6Mtpa, the new tailings pit is equipped with closed water circuit to significantly reduce freshwater usage and improve the environmental impact.

Image: The plant of Norilsk Nickel in Nikel, Murmansk Oblast, Russia. Photo: courtesy of Hans Olav Lien.