No more state money for Terrafame mine, says Finland’s minister of economic affairs

Finland’s minister of economic affairs, Mika Lintilä. (YLE)
Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä says it’s “his understanding” that state support for the Terrafame mine (formerly known as Talvivaara) has come to the end of the line.

Last November, the government granted the troubled mine 100 million euros worth of additional funding to continue its operations and search for an external investor. The minister hinted that a deal is in the works, and more information will be available in two weeks’ time.

Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä, who took over for new Bank of Finland director Olli Rehn three weeks ago, says the controversial Terrafame mine, formerly known as Talvivaara, will likely no longer be the recipient of state money.

Terrafame is a nickel, cobalt and zinc mine located in Sotkamo and is currently entirely state-owned.

Appearing on Yle’s morning talk show Saturday, the new Centre Party minister said the mine is now in good shape, as nickel and zinc prices are up, and the mine has sorted out its questionable environmental issues.

“The water situation is very good, as measurement results are nowhere near the limits. These are facts that were confirmed by the local authorities,” Lintilä told Yle.

He said a further example of the mine’s more efficient operations is the mine’s water use, which has dropped from 10 million cubic metres to just 3.8 million cubic metres at the end of 2016, due to the introduction of a new water treatment plant.

Before the state stepped in, the mine operated under the name Talvivaara. It went bankrupt in November 2014, declaring 1.4 million euros in debt. Several leaks of toxic metal-contaminated tailings also threatened local waterways, and members of the mine’s senior management were later charged with criminal environmental offenses.

Last November, the government granted the mine 100 million euros worth of additional funding to continue its operations and continue its search for an external investor.

Lintilä says negotiations to sell the mine to a private buyer are ongoing and hinted at more news in two weeks’ time.

Related stories from around the North:

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

Finland: Finns begin to abandon lawsuits against Talvivaara mining company, Yle News

Greenland: Greenland pioneers Arctic tourism & mining, Cryopolitics Blog

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

Russia: Mining accident death toll rises to 36, The Independent Barents Observer

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

United States:  Could good mining jobs actually hurt Bush villages?, Alaska Dispatch News

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