Vastine: Guardian 3.9.2014 ”Mining threatens to eat up northern Europe’s last wilderness”

13.9.2014, 19:46 - Pekka Suomela

Dear Chris Elliott, Readers’ editor of The Guardian,

In the article ”Mining threatens to eat up northern Europe’s last wilderness”, published on September 3, journalist John Vidal interviewed Scandinavian environmentalists and known opponents of mining. However, he did not contact any mining industry representatives. The mineral industry is important to every modern society and raw materials are vital inputs for the EU’s economy, and are particularly crucial for the development of environmentally friendly technologies.

We welcome any audit of our businesses, as long it keeps to the facts. Therefore, we would like to correct some statements:

“Vast network of rivers, lakes and mountains in Finland, Sweden and Norway at risk from being exploited for rare earth and other minerals”
Mining concessions make up only a tiny part of our countries: Finland  0,1 %, Sweden 0,03 % and Norway 0,066 % of the total area. There are large areas of mining reservations, but the reservation only gives a priority to apply for an exploration permit. Experience has shown that only around one in a thousand projects will result as an operational mine.

“Mining companies know that the authorities provide licenses for exploration and mining very easily”.
Licenses for exploration and, in particular, mining are very strictly regulated. Opening an actual mine requires many years of thorough planning and pass through several legal procedures of permits and authorisations along the way.

Great stretches of Europe’s last wildernesses risk being damaged and polluted as…
Environmental issues in mining are strictly regulated and controlled on a regular basis. The regulation covers mine closures and the corresponding funding.  There are several ongoing projects which aim to improve further environmental issues as well.

Next time The Guardian covers the minerals industry, you are more than welcome to contact the Scandinavian mining industry representatives. Journalists are welcome to visit any mine and enjoy the wilderness and the beauty of the region.


Yours faithfully,
Per Ahl, Managing Director, Swedish Association of Mines, Mineral and Metal Producers
Elisabeth Gammelsæter, Secretary General, Norwegian Mineral Industry
Pekka Suomela, Executive Officer, Finnish Mining Association


Contact: Pekka Suomela: mobile +358 40 533 2848,