Officials keep crisis-hit mine closed in east Finland

Processing area at the Talvivaara mine in Sotkamo. Image: Kimmo Rauatmaa / Lehtikuva. Supervisory officials conducted a joint inspection tour of the Talvivaara nickel mine in Sotkamo, eastern Finland Monday following a toxic waste leak two weeks earlier. The mine remains closed.

Officials have not given Talvivaara management a green light to recommence operations following their inspection of the Sotkamo nickel mine Monday.

Representatives from the Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), the Radiation Safety Authority (STUK) and the Kainuu Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (Ely-keskus) performed a joint tour of the mining area Monday.

The regulators have requested several reports from the mining company outlining the overall risks related to its operations as well as how it plans to mitigate environmental hazards.

The supervisory officials will use the reports to evaluate whether or not the mine can resume operations.

Ilkka Haataja, an environmental geologist with the Kainuu Ely-keskus said that Talvivaara officials have already prepared a fresh risk assessment report, but the team of regulators has not yet been able to study it.

Haataja could not immediately speculate on the schedule for a decision on re-opening the plant. He also could not say whether additional reports or inspection tours would be required.

Talvivaara to pay compensation to Kainuu Power

Meanwhile the Vaasa Administrative Court decided Monday that the Talvivaara mining company was not obliged to compensate the energy company Fortum for hydro power losses.

The Court said that Talvivaara’s water intake station was so far from Fortum’s Oulujoki hydroelectric plant that the impact of its water consumption was too small to affect the Fortum plant.

However the court ordered Talvivaara to compensate the Kainuu power company for losses related to hydro power production losses caused in 2008 and 2009.

Talvivaara must now pay Kainuu Power 538 euros for its 2008 losses and about 1,800 euros for losses incurred in 2009.

Related Link:

Officials consider reopening crisis-hit mine in Finland, Yle News

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