Mine must fix emissions this year says Finland environment minister

Dead birds were found at Talvivaara in April. Image: Yle  Environment Minister Ville Niinistö says that the Talvivaara mine in Sotkamo, eastern Finland must rein in its emissions by the end of this year, or else its operations may be suspended.

Niinistö says that so far the company has complied with requests to reduce pollution.

Penalty payments or a suspension of operations will be considered if Talvivaara fails to control its emissions by the end of 2012, according to the minister.

He points out that it is unfair to area residents that they have had to put up with high concentrations of sulphates for many years. The environment has also suffered, Niinistö says.

“Finland has existing legal processes to make sure that nobody can pollute the environment without being held accountable,” the minister explains.

Toxic substances in dead birds

Meanwhile signs of poisoning have been discovered in dead birds found last weekend near the Talvivaara nickel and cobalt mine. A closer microscopic and chemical analysis of the birds is to be carried out. The carcasses showed no external signs of violence. According to Finland’s food safety watchdog Evira, there were indications that the birds had breathed and swallowed dangerous substances.

In March high levels of hydrogen sulphide were apparently responsible for the death of a worker at the mine. The incident led to a temporary closure of the facility.

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