Norilsk would find ways around sanctions to sell palladium

Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest palladium producer, would find ways around sanctions to sell the metal if its operations are targetted by Western governments, an executive at the company said on Friday.

Russia's seizure of Crimea has resulted in European Union and US sanctions on some Russian individuals and certain companies, but Norilsk has so far escaped unscathed.

But the United States and its European allies agreed on Thursday that Russia should face broader economic and industrial sanctions if the Kremlin meddled in Ukrainian elections later this month, a US official said.

"We hope that common sense will prevail," Anton Berlin, Norilsk marketing director, told Reuters in an interview. "In theory, even with the most pessimistic scenario Norilsk will find ways to sell its products... Plus, it's against the interests of our consumers there."

Norilsk accounts for 41% of global mined output of palladium, which is used in emissions-capping catalytic converters in automobiles and in jewellery.


Selling metal from Russian state stockpiles controlled by precious metals and gems repository Gokhran has been a key source of supply to the market for much of the last decade, but has been dwindling in recent years.

Gokhran has plans to start buying palladium and expects Norilsk to be the most likely seller, its head Andrey Yurin told Interfax news agency on Friday.

Berlin said he was surprised by Gokhran's plan, as the repository had been focusing on gold than on industrial metals in recent years.

Norilsk would find ways around sanctions to sell palladium