Thursday’s ruling shows that Kaunis Iron has been technically right. It is of course a great relief, not only for the company but for the Swedish mining industry in general.
-It is important that permits that have gained legal force continue to apply. The mining industry has extremely long planning horizons and is completely dependent on a reliable permit system, says Maria Sunér, CEO of Svemin.
In the ruling (Swe.), the Land and Environmental Court decided to limit Kaunis Iron’s permit so that the permitted production volume will be 7 million tonnes of ore per year instead of 20 million tonnes. That limitation roughly corresponds to Kaunis Iron’s current production volume. In practice, therefore, the business is not affected.
The ruling is still a relief for the industry
– Confidence and trust in the Swedish system for permit examinations has, to say the least, eroded, says Maria Sunér. Therefore, it is gratifying that the court has now ruled that Kaunis Iron conducts an environmentally correct mining operation with good environmental performance.
In recent years, however, Sweden has collapsed on the international list of attractive mining countries. The situation has become increasingly acute in the past year with more high-profile cases, such as Cementa and LKAB.
Svemin therefore launched a reform package in the autumn with concrete input on measures to achieve effective and more predictable permit tests.
-Our politicians must address the permit issue now to take advantage of the strong Swedish mining cluster and the potential that exists in this country, says Maria Sunér. Both for the climate and for jobs.
Kaunis Iron has applied for a new and extended environmental permit for the mine, the main hearing was scheduled to begin on Monday 17 January. Recently, however, the news came that that hearing was postponed due to a delay in translating the court documents into Finnish. A new date has not yet been set. For the time being, the company continues to operate in accordance with the existing permit.