Miners stand in cage lifts in one of the underground mines in Norilsk. The industrial complex in the city consists of 6 underground and one open cast mine. Nickel, copper, palladium, platinum, cobalt, gold and other minerals are mined here. The mines add up to a total of 800 km of underground passage ways varying from 450 metres to 2,050 in depth.
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.