A Metso Outotec smelting furnace / image MO group


 Metso Outotec has been awarded a landmark contract by Norilsk Nickel to modernise one of the company’s two existing smelting lines at their Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant in Norilsk, Russia.

The contract value is approximately €90 million, and the order has been booked in Metso Outotec’s December quarter 2020 order intake.

Metso Outotec’s contract includes the design, engineering, and delivery of a nickel flash smelting furnace and a heat recovery boiler with related automation and advanced digitalisation.

According to the MO group, replacing the existing smelting line with the latest process technology and furnace structures will significantly increase the line’s capacity and availability, reduce metal losses and ease maintenance. The new line can also be connected more easily and efficiently with possible sulphuric acid production and neutralisation expansion projects. 

Norilsk Nickel is Metso Outotec’s long term partner. “Outokumpu (Outotec’s mother company at the time) delivered first furnaces to Norlisk back in the1980s and we have done business since,” Jyrki Makkonen, director of Smelting Unit of Metso Outotec told Helsinki Times. “We have had a very good collaboration over the decades and done many projects together.”

Nadezhda plant is using Metso Outotec’s technology at the moment, but this modernisation will bring the plant up to date and supplies it with state of the art digitalisation. The modernisation is in line with the recently announced "Enabling the Transition to a Greener World» Nornickel’s corporate strategy.

The delivery of the equipment will take place during the first half of 2022.

“Metso Outotec is a long-term partner of Norilsk Nickel, supplying state-of-the-art equipment and technologies. Our cooperation allows us to solve the most important production and technological issues, such as increasing the reliability and efficiency of production,” said Sergey Dubovitsky, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Strategic Projects, Logistics & Procurement at Norilsk Nickel.

Jari Ålgars, President of Metso Outotec’s Metals business area, added: “Norilsk Nickel operates the world’s largest nickel and palladium deposit in Russia. We are very committed to our long partnership with Norilsk Nickel, and we are pleased to have been awarded the contract to modernise their smelting line at Nadezhda. Our unique process expertise and sustainable technologies enable the design and delivery of a world-class smelting technology, that meets production requirements today and in the future.”

Metso Outotec claims its Flash Smelting Process is the cleanest smelting method available, giving high recovery of metals with low investment and operating costs.

This modernised line will set the stage for Norlisk to implement further environmental improvements to the plant,” adds Makkonen. 

Smelting plants could function for a very long time when maintained and modernised on regular basis. “Flash smelting was developed in Harjavalta, Finland back in1949, and The Nickel and Copper smelting is still functioning,” says Makkonen. “Of course the furnaces have been rebuilt several times. Smelter furnaces are operated 24/7 every day of the year. The melting temperatures for Nickel are somewhere around 1400 - 1500 degrees Celsius,” explains Makkonen.  

Metso Outotec was created through the combination of Metso Minerals and Outotec on June 30, 2020. Metso, merged with Outotec to form Metso Outotec (MO Group). The company is a leading supplier of smelting technology, with about 40 operational smelting lines around the world. “ We have delivered smelting lines to every continent except Antarctica,” says Makkonen. “We have smelting units in North- and South-America and in countries as diverse as Australia, Russia, China, Japan, Zambia, Iran, Sweden and Spain to name a few.”

Nornickel is Russia's leading metals and mining company and the world’s largest producer of high-grade nickel and palladium. The company owns the Harjavalta Plant in Finland and has operations in South Africa in addition to Russia. 


Paul Kostner

Helsinki Times