Local opposition buries plans for diamond mine in Arctic Finland

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. About it BarentsObserver.com reports.

The proposed mining area included the catchment area for the Teno River (Tana River), which borders Finland and Norway. (Photo: Jarmo Honkanen, Yle)

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.

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 (Tana River in Norwegian), 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.

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