Workers take a break, smoking cigarettes and playing dominos in one of the smelters belonging to Norilsk Nickel. The smelters work around the clock, seven days a week. The workers shifts operate on a three days on, one day off cycle.
The complex consists of three plants - the nickel plant, the copper plant and 'Nadezhda' ('Hope') plant built in 1942, 1949 and 1981 respectively.
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.