This initiative is part of a comprehensive environmental programme, the company said in a statement. The aim is to convert heavy mining equipment to dual consumption of diesel and LNG.
Nornickel is currently developing the technical scope of the LNG plant, with construction expected to take place between January 2022 and March 2023.
A pilot project to re-equip dump trucks for dual-fuel operation using LNG is underway, and trials have been scheduled for the second half of 2021.
The company will upgrade the engines of four BelAZ mining dump trucks for dual use, and they will be tested at the Zapolyarny openpit mine in the Murmansk region.
The trials will explore whether it is possible to replace 40% of diesel fuel with LNG.
Nornickel expects that replacing diesel fuel with LNG will cut fuel costs as well as harmful emissions.
Following the the trial, Nornickel will decide whether to re-equip Zapolyarny' 30-strong dump truck fleet, and may look at other large operations for doing the same.
The cost of re-equipping one dump truck under the pilot project is approximately 11 million roubles, or US$150,000. If the modernisation process covers large fleets of trucks, costs of the works will be significatly lower.