A mining company defeated in Samiland by local resistance!
A year ago I wrote about Karelian Diamond Resources seeking diamond mining rights in Utsjoki. The local inhabitants rose to resistance and expelled this Irish company from Northern Lapland ending it’s yearn for diamond excavation in exchange for destroying the most important salmon river in Europe. [Irish Independent, referred 14.4.2015 ]
Karelian was scared off by the bad publicity of mining in indigenous Sami people’s land against their will. The victory sends a strong message: indigenous rights must be acknowledged and respected.
However the true receivers of this message must be the Finnish authorities that did unforgivingly poor job in both preparation, presenting and communicating this mining exploration project. The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) was utterly unaware of the Finnish legistlation and good business conduct while administrating the mining exploration rights to Karelian. First Tukes didn’t communicate with other Finnish government agencies in a good manner leaving multiple questions unasked granting e.g. the rights to use motorized vehicles in places where they are strictly forbidden. In addition Tukes granted rights to seek exploration in a strict nature reserve. In both cases Metsähallitus – Park and wildlife agency had to seek correction after Tukes had granted Karelian rights with out consulting with Metsähallitus first.
Second Tukes didn’t communicate their decisions in Sami language even though required to do so by the Finnish legislation. They did that only after being asked to do so but were clearly unprepared for these requests.
It is totally another question what motivated Tukes to grant such rights to seek destruction of the most important still free running Arctic river in Europe in the heart of indigenous Samiland virtually on the border of two nations Norway and Finland. My take: lack of professional competence and poor management skills with a hint of arrogance.
I also want to question Metsähallitus for it’s stay-at-home conduct on this mining exploration episode. Fully aware that Utsjoki (the river) is perhaps the most important Freshwater pearl mussel (critically endangered) habitat in Finland, they did absolutely nothing to bring this issue into public discussion. Not to mention the salmons. It seems their business code is to remain passive instead of being active. Information delay leads to wasted resources.
But the community stepped in. Together we can! Where You find value in Your own environment You can Stand up against injustice. With reason and argument minds can be won. Where there is a will there is a way.
Vive la résistance!