Between 2000 to 2025, gross emissions at Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MMK) will be halved, and the Company's investments in environmental protection will exceed RUB 9.3 billion in 2021 alone.
This was reported by Grigory Shchurov, MMK's Director for Labour Protection, Industrial Safety and Environment, speaking at a meeting of the Magnitogorsk Public Chamber. According to him, back in 2015, MMK adopted a new development strategy, which envisages the implementation of the strategic initiative "Clean City" to radically reduce the man-made impact on the environment. Many of the measures envisaged by this initiative were then incorporated into the federal Clean Air project plan.
As part of the Company's environmental strategy 2015-2020, MMK commissioned major environmental facilities such as a new sulphur recovery unit No. 2 in the Sinter Shop, a gas purification unit for twin-smelting unit No. 32 in the Electric Arc Furnace Shop, aspiration systems for casting beds and under-bunker rooms of Blast Furnaces No. 1, 2, 9, 10; a separating dam with culverts which enabled the transition to a closed circulation water supply system. In addition, the new sinter plant No.5, equipped with state-of-the-art environmental protection facilities, should be mentioned: its commissioning made it possible to put the obsolete sinter plant No.4 out of operation. MMK's total investment in environmental protection during this period amounted to over RUB 24 billion.
Thanks to the measures implemented, gross emissions into the atmosphere were reduced by 14,850 tonnes per year, including 8,850 tonnes of dust, 5,300 tonnes of sulphur dioxide and 700 tonnes of nitrogen oxides. In addition, the discharge of industrial wastewater into the Magnitogorsk Reservoir was stopped.
Overall, by 2025, it is planned to halve gross emissions of pollutants compared to 2000 and to reduce specific emissions by a factor of three. This will be facilitated by significant environmental investments in the coming years. Within the framework of these investments is the construction of the new coke battery No. 12, the start-up of which will make it possible to decommission 5 old coke batteries and to reduce gross emissions by 11,350 tons per year. In addition, the chemical recovery and processing shop and the biochemical plant will be reconstructed at the coke plant, which will increase the efficiency of coke gas purification by 20%, reduce emissions of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere by three times and enable repeatedly improving wastewater treatment at the biochemical plant.
In addition, a new blast furnace ¹11 will be built, which will allow three old blast furnaces to be put out of operation, thus reducing gross emissions by 6,600 tonnes per year; the steelmaking process gas treatment facilities will be reconstructed with converter gas utilisation; measures will be continued to reclaim disturbed land, to green Magnitogorsk, and to preserve and enhance biodiversity in the Chelyabinsk Region. Measures for dust suppression are planned. Considerable attention will be paid to the development of an atmospheric air monitoring system, automated control of industrial emissions, and industrial environmental control at the boundary of MMK's sanitary protection zone.
According to Grigory Shchurov, Director for Labour Protection, Industrial Safety and Ecology at MMK, this year alone MMK’s spending on environmental protection activities will amount to RUB 9,344 million, of which more than half - RUB 4,872 million - will be spent on construction and reconstruction of environmental facilities for atmospheric air protection; the remaining amount will go to construction and reconstruction of water protection facilities and waste disposal facilities. These figures are one-third higher than 2020’s environmental investment, when MMK allocated RUB 7 billion for environmental purposes. This significant increase is due to the construction of environmental facilities at coke battery No. 12, which is under construction, and the reconstruction of gas treatment facilities at the electric steelmaking and oxygen furnace shops.