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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Norway Fund Divests From Norilsk Nickel

OSLO — Norway excluded Norilsk Nickel from its sovereign wealth fund Thursday, saying the world’s largest producer of the metal is contributing to extensive environmental damage.

“Emissions from the company are the direct cause of forest death and other serious, visible damage to the natural environment in the Norilsk area,” Norway’s Finance Ministry said in an e-mailed statement. “This is deemed to be in breach of the ethical guidelines for the fund.”

The oil fund is Europe’s largest stock investor and has holdings in about 7,900 companies worldwide. The Norwegian Finance Ministry decides what companies to exclude based on recommendations from an ethics council. Before Thursday, it had dropped 28 companies, including Wal-Mart Stores. A decision to ban a company is made public after shares are sold.

Norilsk spokeswoman Erzhena Mintasova couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

High emissions of sulfur dioxide and heavy metals from Norilsk’s activities on the Taymyr Peninsula, located in the Arctic in Siberia, have caused “extensive, lasting damage” on the vegetation and waters, the Finance Ministry said.