Police remove iron ore mine protesters in Sweden’s Arctic

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The activists who blocked work in Kallak. (Tor Lundberg Tuorda / Privat / Radio Sweden)
The activists who blocked work in Kallak. (Tor Lundberg Tuorda / Privat / Radio Sweden)

Four activists stopped preparations for the exploration of iron ore from a prospective mine in Sweden’s Far North on Monday.

Three of them were taken in for questioning by the police in the afternoon,. The other, who had climbed up on an excavator, got left behind because it was too dangerous to get him down, reports Swedish news agency TT.

The activists were visiting from other parts of the country, but have the support of local networks that are against the mining plans at Kallak, 40 kilometres west of the town of Jokkmokk in the Arctic Circle.

British company, Beowulf Mining’s Swedish subsidiary, Jokkmokk Iron, stands behind the plans for a mine between Jokkmokk and the village of  Kvikkjokk. The company has been granted permission for exploration during the summer.

Work on cutting trees and exploding rock has started, but was stopped on Monday morning when the activists sat on an excavator’s caterpillar tracks.

“We are simply concerned and are protesting against the ongoing mining boom and the use of finite resources,” Malin Norrby, one of the activists, tells Swedish Radio P4 Norrbotten.

High mineral and iron ore prices have led to an explosion in prospecting in recent years and increased the number of conflicts, with a regular stream of objections being brought to court.

The mining company Beowulf has been been accused before of illegal test drills that damage Sami grazing lands.

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