The Company kept improving efficiency with a particular focus on work performance and costs control. By virtue of accurate fulfilment of the objectives set and proper management, we coped with threats of the reporting period. A good standing, investment attractiveness, access to foreign capital allowed balancing the debt burden of the Company and proceeding to the development of new significant projects.
In terms of sustainable development, one of the most important objectives for the Company is the reconfiguration of the flow charts, which will allow not only ensuring economic efficiency but mitigating fundamentally adverse environmental effects in the city of Norilsk. In 2014, we announced the restructuring of metallurgical production providing for the accelerated closing of the obsolete Nickel Plant in Norilsk, the modernization of Nadezhdinsky Metallurgical Plant and Talnakh Concentrator. It is important to emphasize that in view of environmental and social effects, these initiatives are supported by the Government of Russia, which allowed obtaining partial recovery of costs within the scope of the Program for the closing of Nickel Plant at the expense of early zeroing of export duties on nickel and copper. The main actions of the Program will be implemented already by 2016.
Social responsibility and cooperation with the key stakeholders remain conventionally the major priority of Norilsk Nickel Company. Social programs are implemented for the personnel. The indexation of wages for the workers of production units is carried out pursuant to collective agreements and internal regulatory documents. The costs are anticipated for that purpose in 2015 budget, too. Within the scope of the Program for the closing of Nickel Plant, social support to its workers will be ensured, including training and retraining for employment at other sites of the Company as well as assistance during their move to the “mainland.” Improvement of the health and safety system allowed considerable reduction of the total accident rate in 2014. The achievement of a zero fatal accident rate by 2018 is our key strategic objective.
In 2014, the tax and non-tax payments of the Company to the budgets of various levels amounted to RUB 79.2 billion. The costs for charity and projects for development of social infrastructure amounted to RUB 2.7 billion. The budget for 2015 provides for the preservation of existing social and charity liabilities and initiatives, including implementation of the charity program “World of New Opportunities,” which proved its efficiency. The projects and programs for migration, occupational guidance of youth, and development of infrastructure, which are implemented jointly with the federal and regional authorities, will be kept on.
Despite the apparent problems stipulated with the global situation, which the Company will face in the coming years, we are absolutely sure that we will implement all strategic objectives and will be able to make progress both in terms of enhancement of business efficiency and in terms of social security of our employees, development of the initiative in the Company habitats, and improvement of the environment.
I would like to thank the team of Norilsk Nickel for their conscientious work, professional and responsible approach, for their will to develop and facilitate the development of the Company!