MOSCOW, November 25. /TASS/. The Norilsk Nickel Company (Nornickel) will invest about 1 trillion rubles ($17 billion) in improvement of the environment and in modernization of the cities, where the company has industrial facilities, Nornickel’s Vice President Larisa Zelkova told the All-Russian Civil Forum on Saturday.
"Within next 5 years, the company will invest one trillion rubles in modernization. <…> Those will be investments also in the environment, first of all, as for us those are two neighboring processes. Without changing technologies and implementing new technologies we cannot expect any environmental effect," she said.
The company see the main direction of its work in making comfortable environment for the people, she continued. In September, Nornickel launched a fiber-optic communication line in Norilsk, she said. Thus, the people, living there, received access to the high-speed Internet. Before that, for a very long time the city had remained the last Russian city with a population of more than 100,000, where residents did not have an access to the high-speed Internet.
"For us, the challenge of the new industrialization is in where in 10 or 15 years will be those who would want to go and work in the Extreme North. What should motivate a young person to receive skills in engineering and then be prepared to work in complicated climate conditions. Those conditions would always remain complicated, no matter how the environment changes in Norilsk or on the Kola Peninsula, where we have industrial facilities. Anyway, we are unable to make miracles and develop our cities into blooming sites," the vice president said.
Improvement of living conditions in the North requires "better quality of state services," settlement of social objectives. According to her, Nornickel considers its task to change quality of life in the cities where its staff live and work.
"We have quite many competitions for grants. We support various projects both in Norilsk and outside it. <…> Our position is - people, who live in our cities, who work at our enterprises are the main resource of changes. Those people can do much more than anybody else coming from outside," she said.
Nornickel has organized the Agency for Development of Norilsk with the purpose of improving the urban environment there. "This is another technology, which we consider correct and important," the company’s vice president said. "We have used the experience of Severstal (Russia’s steel producer), which had implemented a similar project and which has been working for almost ten years now, offering new opportunities in the city of Cherepovetsk. We hope to achieve similar results in Norilsk."
The agency was organized in May. It focuses on projects aimed at quality changes in the urban environment, at formation of comfortable conditions for development of businesses, including medium and small businesses, at better infrastructures in the city, and at support in employment. The nonprofit organization also has plans for social-cultural projects, development of the region’s tourist infrastructures and for raising the territory’s attractiveness.