A few of an open cast mine near the city of Norilsk. The city sits on the Western Siberian Plain, at the foot of the Putorani Mountains which reach to 1,700 metres above sea level. It was built on top of the largest deposits of nickel, copper and paladium in the world, now the only reason for the town's existence.
The city of Norilsk, in the far north of Russia's Krasnoyarsk region, was founded in the 1920s and today has a population of just over 175,000. In its early years it served as the centre of Norillag (or the Norilsk Corrective Labour Camp) but was given town status in 1953 as the Gulag system was slowly winding down. Today the city is largely dependent on MMC Norilsk Nickel, the world's leading producer of Nickel and palladium and Norilsk's main employer. In 2001, the city was closed to all non-Russians, except for citizens of Belarus.