The National Landsurvey of Finland -agency (Maanmittauslaitos) opened up its vast database of geographic information for the masses. The picture above (CLICK FOR LARGER) presents the current state of mining related reservations in Central Lapland made mostly by foreign multinational corporations to the national treasure of us Finns – our clean and beautiful nature. Inside the concentration on the left are Levi and Ylläs, two of the most important leisure centers of Finland. The municipality of Sodankylä in the middle is basically one large mine field.
Beyond the shear size of the land mass reserved for destruction is the fact that at the same time down south in Talvivaara all the possible measurements and observations indicate that the current state of the art in clean tech mining in Finland has sunken deep beyond acceptable levels. Ethical mining in Finland is hogwash – it’s a myth way bigger than Santa Claus. At the same time that Talvivaara and e.g. Raahe gold mine have vast environmental problems we are having a fire sale in Lapland to exploit strategic and diminishing natural and national resources. Local municipalities are left basically with just income from wages from mines but have to cope with pollution and damages to the nature. In comparison Norway takes a 68% cut from all the income from oil production with in its borders. At the same time Finnish Minister of Employment and Economy is reluctant to even talk about taxing ore exploitation in Finland.
The newly elected Finnish president Sauli Niinistö stated a couple of weeks ago, that he believes the mining industry will be Finland’s new Nokia – the locomotive of our economy. Has it come to this: from high premium knowledge intensive economy to low premium primary production? At the same time that we are transferring to decreasing returns from our resources, us citizens have to fight for our rights to own property and rights to own land. Large land areas next to the mines have lost major shares of their value but the mining corporations refuse to pay adequate compensation. The “new” mining legislation from a couple of years back was watered over in favor of mining industry and to disadvantage to private citizens. In practice this means that us highly educated citizens need to spend our time promoting our own rightfully earned rights to prosper and let opportunities to create value in life slip away in order to stand up against negligence and short sightedness.
What about Santa then? His home, the Korvatunturi fell, is cornered next to Russian border by mines from West and South. Maybe its time for the exodus of one more Finnish national treasure.