Some five years ago Britain’s mining firm Beowulf applied to open an iron ore mine in Kallak, northern Sweden. Following a lengthy legal process, the county board of Norrbotten rejected the application in December and the matter has now been referred to the government for consideration.
In a separate case, over a year ago the Mining Inspectorate of Sweden (Bergsstaten) rejected Boliden’s application for a mining concession in Laver. Boliden has since appealed to the government.
Representatives of the industry now claim that it is far harder to open a mine in Sweden today than it was a few years ago, which has led leading Social Democratic politicians in northern Sweden to react. “We have ended up in a situation in which the mining industry is finding it hard to operate,” says Niklas Nordström, municipal commissioner in Luleå, calling on the government to take action.
Enterprise Minister Mikael Damberg agrees that the process to open a mine is far too complicated and has promised to set up an inquiry shortly to review the issue and to propose measures to sharpen the tools for efficient environmental assessment.
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