Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel will cut nickel output in 2002-2003 due to upgrading operations at its Nadezhdinsky plant, the first deputy CEO of its Arctic subsidiary was quoted as saying today. "Taking into account the key role of the Nadezhdinsky plant, which produces 70 percent of Norilsk's (nickel) matte, logically, a substantial decline of nickel output will take place," Yuri Filippov was quoted as saying. Filippov gave no concrete figures for the production cut. He said another factory nearby would not be able to make up the shortfall. Norilsk plans to transform Nadezhdinsky into a full-cycle facility, processing all local nickel and cobalt concentrate into refined products, with a limited amount of copper as a by-product. Filippov said reconstruction of Nadezhdinsky was the most important stage in the upgrading of the plants of Norilsk's Arctic subsidiary, which account for 80 percent of the firm's output. He said that in 2002 and 2003 Nadezhdinsky's nickel smelting facilities would be modernized and the building of a leaching facility would start in the middle of 2003 at the plant, which has been in operation since 1979, the Russia Journal reported.