Norilsk Siberia – You can’t go there!

Norilsk meant Hell for many. It is the most polluted place in Russia. Step outside the city and don’t step in the toxic puddles edging the road.


Norilsk was not on any maps for many years.


Why Norilsk?

Nickel. Lots of nickel. Maybe the largest deposits on Earth. But who would get it out? Stalin put criminals and political prisoners to work mining it beginning in 1939.

The best way to look at the mines are from a safe distance, as the photo below shows.


Things are much better now with willing, highly paid workers.

How Can People Live Here?

Because of the permafrost ground problems, a lot of Norilsk buildings are on stilts with an airway between the floor and earth below. You might think this is to protect the people from the cold below. The opposite is true. It’s to protect the ground from the warmth above. The heat makes the permafrost unstable and the buildings would collapse in a short time without this clever method of construction.


Can I Go There?

Stay where you are. It is very unlikely that you could get permission to visit. Only workers are welcome. There are perks for the workers like exercise classes and free daycare. You can even spend time in a luxury Spa. But I doubt that this will convince you to apply for a job there.


How Much?

The mines of Norilsk produce 35% of palladium, 25% of platinum, 20% of nickel, and 10% of cobalt in the world. It remains the greatest source of pollution, as well.



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