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The world’s top producer of refined nickel and palladium is dealing with the aftermath of a devastating Arctic fuel leak that resulted in a record $2bn levy and is among the biggest emitters of acid rain-causing sulphur dioxide. Yet Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel spent much of its time with investors this week talking up its green efforts and climate goals.

To attain them, it plans to spend $5.5bn-plus, as part of a broader $27bn, 10-year investment blueprint. That’s a strikingly modest push for a company that throws up as much cash, and pollutes as badly, as Nornickel does. Still, it’s talk and organisational reshuffling that send an encouraging signal — providing coming discussions between the company’s largest owners also reconsider a generous dividend policy to free up more money for investment in cleaner operations. If that happens, it will augur well for progress even in what have long been the least environmentally friendly corners of corporate Russia, despite the ...

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