Local opposition buries plans for diamond mine in Arctic Finland

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The proposd mining area included the catchment area for the Teno River, which borders Finland and Norway. (Jarmo Honkanen / Yle)
The proposd mining area included the catchment area for the Teno River, which borders Finland and Norway. (Jarmo Honkanen / Yle)
An Irish mining company’s bid to begin prospecting for diamonds in Utsjoki, northern Finland has fallen flat following opposition to the venture by locals.

The mining company Karelian Diamond Resources announced in April that it planned to scupper the project.

The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency Tukes said Thursday that it had allowed the lapse of a mining exploration permit for a proposed diamond mine in Utsjoki. The announcement followed a decision in April by the Irish mining company Karelian Diamond Resources to pull out of the project due to resistance by locals.

Located in Sámi heartland

Last year the company received provisional approval from Tukes to prospect for diamonds in Utsjoki. The exploration area was located in Sámi heartland and also extended into the Kevo Nature Reserve.  The site also spread across Europe’s largest natural salmon-populated river and the largest catchment area for the Teno River, which borders Finland and Norway.

The grassroots movement that opposed the proposed mine in the Teno Valley comprised activists from Finland and Norway, and even traveled to Ireland to meet representatives of the mining company – however they were unsuccessful in holding face-to-face talks.

The Irish company specialises in prospecting for diamonds on Finnish soil. Board chairman Professor Richard Conroy told the Irish Independent daily that the company would in future focus possible mining operations in southern Finland.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Canadian province of Quebec announces plan for northern development, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland’s Sámi request UN help in securing their rights, Yle News

Sweden: Relocation of Arctic town underway in Sweden, Radio Sweden

Norway: Production uncertain beyond Q2 at iron-ore mine in Arctic Norway, Barents Observer

Sweden:  Bids given for Pajala mine in Arctic Sweden, Barents Observer

United States:  Alaska – Judge temporarily halts EPA process on Pebble Mine, Alaska Dispatch

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