Rönnbäcken Nickel Mine, Västerbotten, Sweden

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">In the valley Björkvattsdalen, close to the village Tärnaby in Västerbotten, Sweden, there is an ongoing conflict between two national interests ('riksintresse' in Swedish). The national interest conflict is between reindeer herding, a traditional practice belonging to the indigenous Sami people, and the opening of a nickel mine by the company Nickel Mountain AB. This is the first time in Swedish history that two national interests are put against one another and in May 2012, the Swedish Supreme Court came to the conclusion that in this case they are incompatible (1, 2). </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none"> Many local Sami organisations, villages, and local EJO Nätverket Stoppa Gruvan I Rönnbäck have protested and appealed to the decision to give Nickel Mountain AB permission to mine in the area. The area where the mine is to be located is crucial to the Samis for pasture rotation for their 8,000 reindeers. A mine in the area would completely eliminate the possibilities for the Sami people to have reindeers there since it is a narrow passage (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). <br/><br/> A concern is also that the mine would be located in an area connected to the river Umeälven which has its estuary in the city of Umeå. A pollution of the river would thus have disastrous consequences for both humans and the environment along the river (4, 5). <br/><br/> The guidelines for the Swedish government to choose between two national interests are stated in the Swedish environmental law. They should choose the one that 'in the most appropriate way promotes a long-term management of the ground, the water and the physical environment in general' (My translation, Swedish Environmental Law, 1998:808, Ch. 3, 10§) (7). To this point the government has been leaning towards the mine and based the decision on the economic benefits that the mine would bring. <br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Rönnbäcken Nickel Mine, Västerbotten, Sweden</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/sweden">Sweden</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Västerbotten</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Tärnaby</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Mineral ore exploration<br /> Tailings from mines<br /> Mineral processing</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td>Nickel, Cobalt, Magnetite</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns">The mine would consist of three open pits, an industrial area with ore treatment facilities such as crushing plants, ore storage and a processing plant. There would also be an area dedicated to stockpiling waste rock and a pond for mine tailings (1). The life span of the mine is thought to be over a time period of 27 years (including after-treatment of the ground) and the company estimate to extract 30 million tonnes of ore every year which would yield 26,000 tonnes nickel and 760 tonnes of cobalt. Besides nickel and cobalt there might be an annual production of 1,5 million tonnes of magnetite concentrate as a byproduct. The mine is expected to create 500 new jobs and production is thought to begin in earliest in 2016 (2). <br/><br/></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>4.8</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>15,400,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>150</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>2010</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/nickel-mountain-ab'>Nickel Mountain AB</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/sweden'><small>Sweden</small></a><br /><a href='/company/ige-resources-ab'>IGE Resources AB</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/sweden'><small>Sweden</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Bergsstaten , Supreme Court, Land and Environment Court</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Jordens Vänner, Umeå (Friends of the Earth, Umeå), https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jordens-Vänner-Umeå/166826526664278?fref=ts, Studiefrämjandet, http://www.studieframjandet.se/umearegionen/Lokalkontor/Umea/, Nätverket Stoppa Gruvan i Rönnbäck, (The Network Stop the Mine in Rönnbäck), http://stoppagruvan.wordpress.com/, Landspartiet Svenska Samer, http://landspartietsvenskasamer.com/, Min Geaidnu, http://www.mingeaidnu.se/, Riksorganisationen Landsförbundet Svenska Samer (LSS), Vadtejen Saemiej Sijte (VSS), Älvräddarna, http://www.alvraddarna.se/, Urbergsgruppen, http://urbergsgruppen.se/, Vaapsten sijte, http://vapsten.se/, Fältbiologerna, www.faltbiologerna.se</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>PREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Indigenous groups or traditional communities<br /> Local ejos<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Development of a network/collective action<br /> Development of alternative proposals<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Media based activism/alternative media<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Mine tailing spills</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Proposed (exploration phase)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>The proposal is that there should be no mine and that the Sami people should keep their land.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Not Sure</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>It is too early at the moment to say how the conflict will end.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Swedish Environmental Law (Miljöbalken, 1998:808), <br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.notisum.se/rnp/sls/lag/19980808.HTM" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> ILO Convention 169, Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, <br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C169" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Swedish Mineral Law (Minerallagen, 1991:45), <br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.notisum.se/rnp/sls/lag/19910045.HTM" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> (7) Slaget om Storuman, Fokus, <br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.fokus.se/2012/09/slaget-om-storuman/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (2) Ja till ny svensk nickelgruva, Ny Teknik, <br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/basindustri/gruvindustri/article3748166.ece" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (3) Fördömer dagens regeringsbeslut, Sveriges Radio, <br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2327&artikel=5623993" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (6) I valet mellan miljön och miljarderna, Dagens Arena, <br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.dagensarena.se/innehall/i-valet-mellan-miljon-och-miljarderna/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (1) Regeringen ger klartecken för gruva i Tärna - nickel viktigare än renskötsel, Sveriges Radio, <br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2327&artikel=5623625" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (4) Fortsatta protester mot Tärnagruva, Sveriges Radio,<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2327&artikel=5339169" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (5) Regeringens dilemma: Gruvor eller renskötsel, Sveriges Television,<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.svt.se/nyheter/sverige/regeringens-dilemma-nya-jobb-mot-miljon" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Comments</td><td>The total investment corresponds to 15,4 million USD (100 million SEK) at this point.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Linda Dubec</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>08/04/2014</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>