Several workers were killed, and a handful of others were injured after the Nornickel enrichment processing plant in Norilsk, Russia collapsed on February 20, according to a company statement and international news reports.
“Three people have been reported dead and five others have been rescued when the roof in an enrichment plant unexpectedly collapsed at 4:15 a.m. local time,” a statement issued by Nornickel following the incident said. Renovation work was being carried out at the site at the time of the incident.
Local officials are investigating whether violations of safety rules contributed to the injuries and fatalities, Russian state-owned news organization TASS reported.
“We take full responsibility for the tragic accident and are doing everything we can to support the victims and their families at this difficult time. The accident happened overnight, due to a severe violation of safety rules,” Nornickel’s chief executive officer, Vladamir Potanin, said in the company statement. “Nornickel has always treated industrial safety as its highest priority. We are undertaking a full review and are focused on strengthening our safety efforts even further.”
Over the next five years, Nornickel intends to spend about $1.35 billion to improve industrial safety across its operations. The plant was opened in 1947, according to the mining and metallurgy company.
Earlier this month, Nornickel was fined over $1.9 billion by a Russian court for its role in a massive diesel fuel spill at the Norilsk plant in May 2020, an account by Radio Free Europe said. The Russian government-sponsored news organization Russia Today said some 21,000 tn of fuel was released into soil and water in the area.
Nornickel is the world’s largest manufacturer of refined nickel and palladium, information on its website states, and the fourth largest producer of platinum and rhodium.