Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Depressing Industrial City of Norilsk

Norilsk is an industrial city located in Krasnoyarsk Krai, in Russia. It is the northernmost city in the world with a population of 170,000 and the second largest city (after Murmansk) above the Arctic Circle. Norilsk is almost cut off from the world. It is connected by a railroad to only one city – the port of Dudinka. The only way to leave Norilsk is to then travel 2,000 km down the Yenisei River or by air. But due to bad weather a flight can be delayed for up to two weeks.

The city was founded in 1935, as a slave labor camp, and later as a settlement for those working in mining and metallurgic operation. Located at the foot of the 1,700-meter high Putoran Mountains, where occurs some of the largest nickel deposits on earth, Norilsk is a hotbed for mining and smelting industries. The city contains the world's largest heavy metals smelting complex, producing more than 20 percent of the world’s nickel, 50 percent of its palladium, more than 10 percent of its cobalt, and 3 percent of its copper. Norilsk’s exports make up more than 2 percent of Russia’s GDP.

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