ContactWe believe that mining operations should be examined in clear and appropriate processes
Today’s permit processes are often unpredictable in terms of how long they will take and what is required for permit testing of the planned operations. Long and unpredictable licensing processes affect companies’ investment ability and, by extension, Swedish competitiveness. Clear regulations and knowledgeable authorities are needed to maintain a stable and predictable investment climate.
To conduct the extraction of mineral deposits is a complex operation and takes many years of preparation. Mining operations are about building and running costly operations that must be individually adapted to each individual project. Since geology and other natural conditions differ from place to place, there are no simple solutions to suit everyone. It is often about developing new ones. We are good at this in Sweden, where there have long been successful collaborations between mines, equipment companies and researchers, which have resulted in technology development that has become a world leader in several areas.
The entire process from searching for mineral deposits to actual extraction is very capital intensive. All mining projects are associated with uncertainties regarding future returns and the opportunities to cover the high investment costs. In many places, including in Sweden, the solution is to attract private investors.
When different interests are set against each other
Unlike many other industries, it is not possible to decide where a mine should be placed. It must be where the geological conditions are. In the permit testing of a possible mining operation, what is appropriate land use is determined at the site of the proposed mine. The rules on this are in Chapter 3-4 in the Environmental Code. For concession minerals, land use is tested in connection with the application for a processing concession. For landowner minerals, the examination is carried out in connection with the application for a permit according to the Environmental Code.
In assessing what is appropriate land use, conflicts of interest may arise between different competing land claims. It is not uncommon for mineral deposits to be found in areas that have been identified as of national interest for both valuable substances and minerals and for other purposes such as reindeer husbandry, nature conservation and outdoor life. If the land use for the various interests is incompatible, a balance must be made of the interest that is most important in the present case.
It is important that the consideration of which land use should be given preference, where applicable, after a comprehensive assessment of various interests that balance environmental, social and economic needs.
In practice, it is not often a matter of weighing conservation interest against exploitation interest. In the debate, it is often heard that conservation purposes are more “sustainable” and the environmental aspects are emphasized as more important than socio-economic aspects. It’s unfortunate. It is not possible to achieve sustainable development without considering both the needs of society and nature. It is often possible to carry out socially beneficial mining activities with regard to various forms of protection measures, while at the same time minimizing the environmental impact.
Swedish mining is part of the future
The development of society has always been linked to the use of metals. This also applies to our future development. Metals are not disposable products but elements that can and should be reused over and over again. But recycling alone is not enough to cover the need for raw materials; For the foreseeable future, the supply of virgin raw materials to the circular system will be required. Sweden, with its mineral-rich bedrock, is well placed to contribute to raw material production and long-term sustainable development.
In the exploration and land area, Svemin works for:
- That decisions on land use are made according to clear regulations by environmental authorities with the task of making broad societal considerations and to see sustainability as a communicating vessel of environmental protection, social considerations and a dynamic economy
- That relevant land areas are designated as national interests for valuable substances and minerals, that the areas are of appropriate size and that the assessment process is efficient and transparent
- That the processes for examining permits and processing concessions are clear, appropriate, and effective
- That the process for permits according to the Environmental Code is clear, efficient and effective
- That all exploration takes place in accordance with regulations and “best practice”
- That decision-makers and stakeholders have knowledge of and understanding of the importance of the mining industry for sustainable development
Position document – Indigenous People and Mineral Extraction
Svemin has produced a position document on indigenous people and the mineral industry, which was adopted by the Board in November 2019. The position document is intended to clarify the mining industry’s position on these issues and is based on the premise that:
- a large proportion of Sweden’s known and potential mineral deposits are located in the area covered by reindeer husbandry rights according to the Reindeer Husbandry Act
- access to land is crucial for both mining and reindeer husbandry
The position document clarifies that the mining industry would like to achieve mutual knowledge building, about both mining and reindeer husbandry, to create conditions for an objective, good and respectful dialogue and lay the foundation for long-term conduct of reindeer husbandry and mining side by side.
In the position document, we explain how the industry view Sami rights linked to land use and we also describe our interpretation of the principle of FPIC.
> Download the position document, Indigenous People and Mineral Extraction