The country had understood the importance and value of nickel, which was indispensable in medicine and for military purposes, long before the First World War. However, the Empire did not develop any nickelfields of its own, preferring, with rare exceptions, importing metal. When the Bolsheviks took over the country, they had to start from scratch. The USSR started its own industrial extraction of nickel only in the early 30-s in the Urals. Factories with required infrastructure generally required three years on construction. The exact ammount of time was given to workers in Norilsk. And there was no discount on the extremely harsh conditions of the Far North.
On June 23, 1935 the Council of National Comissars (SNK) defined that the Norilsk Combine must start its work in year 1938. The first workers, who arrived in the Arctic Circle could hardly believe this plan to be possible. Before their eyes opened pristine expanses of deepfrozen soil, holding huge deposits of strategic metals.