The fast growth of mining industry in North raises concerns. The significant environmental damages caused by mining in Finland and elsewhere in the world are causing fear. Mining project in the reindeer husbandry area is always a risk to the reindeer herding. The size of the risk depends significantly on the mining project and its location.


In the reindeer husbandry area, there is Anglo Eagle’s gold mine operating in Kittilä and Canadian First Quantum Minerals’ multimetal mine in Kevitsa, Sodankylä. In Kevitsa, they are mining nickel, copper, gold, platinum and palladium. This mine produces around 10 million tons ore per year and around 63 million tons of gangue annually. It is the biggest mine in Finland.

The Pahtavaara mine in Sodankylä ended to bankruptcy in 2014. It was the third time in the history of Pahtavaara.

Advanced plans on mining have been developed in Hannukainen, Kolari; Suhanko, Ranua; Sokli, Savukoski; Juomasuo, Kuusamo and Mustavaara in Taivalkoski. In addition, there are several exploration areas around the reindeer husbandry area.

The mining activities influence significantly and broadly to the reindeer husbandry. Inevitable consequences include direct and indirect losses of the pasture areas, disturbances, and distractions in the grazing cycle and with these, increasing workload and expenses. Increasing traffic causes its own separate problems. The most difficult issues to predict are things related to the open mine pit and its dust, to the pollution of pasture areas and waters due incontrollable spread of heavy metals, radiation and other pollutants. Effects and risks of mining operations need to be considered thoroughly in advance.

The future of the reindeer herding is dependent on clean and coherent natural pasture areas. Maintaining the current situation requires genuine responsibility from all industries and particularly from mining that involves significant environmental risks. Good cooperation needs to be done from the very beginning of planning the project with reindeer herding cooperatives that operate in the same area.


For more information: Advisors