Norilsk Nickel, the world's top nickel miner, will suspend on Tuesday shipments from its Arctic port of Dudinka due to seasonal flooding, the company said on Tuesday.

A Norilsk spokesman said the last two vessels loaded most recently at Dudinka and accompanied by an icebreaker will leave the port later on Tuesday.

Norilsk plans for the port to resume loading in the middle of June.

Norilsk stops loading nickel, copper and cobalt for export from Dudinka, as well as concentrate for its refineries on the Kola peninsula in northwest Russia, each year in mid- or late-May when ice breaks up at the mouth of the Yenisei River and floods the port.

This year's closure is later than last year's, when the last ship left Dudinka on May 15. Loading resumed in the middle of June 2007.

About 4.5 million tonnes of goods, mostly metals from Norilsk, pass through Dudinka each year.

Norilsk is building a fleet of five ice-class container ships, each equipped to carry 15,000 tonnes of metal per voyage between Dudinka and Murmansk in northwest Russia, from where it can be shipped to anywhere in the world. (Reporting by Polina Devitt)

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