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20 November 2014 | | |

Plans to dump tons of toxic waste in Norwegian fjords

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For the last eight years the Norwegian company Nordic Mining have had plans to open a rutile mine in Norway and discharge the mine waste – the tailing from the mine into the Norwegian Førde fjord. Norway is one of the few countries in the world that allows submarine tailing. There have been strong objections from environmental groups, agencies and researcher, claiming that the tailing is a threat to the biodiversity and the ecosystem – and that there is a large uncertainty on the environmental risks.

Anne-Line Thingnes Førsund from Friends of the Earth Norway got involved in the struggle against the dumping of tailings in the Norwegian fjords as she “realized that the information that came from the mining companies did not include anything on the impact on the society and environment”. She explains that he discharge from the mine would include 6 million tons of mining waste into the ocean each year for 50 year, equaling 11.5 tons of waste per minute: “the waste also includes 6.5 tons of heavy metal every day”. Previous mining projects that have been involved in submarine tailing have shown negative impacts to the ecosystem.

This Friday, the 21st of November, the ministry of Climate and Environment will publish its official recommendation on the mining project, which is said to be an indication if the tailing by Nordic Mining will be allowed. The Norwegian Environment Agency has published a recommendation to the Ministry of Climate and Environment, stating that a precautionary principle should be applied, as the environmental risks of tailing in the fjords are unclear. In response to the Norwegian Environment Agency Nordic Mining has claimed that there their solutions to the tailing is environmentally safe, and on their webpage they write: “the Environment Agency has not considered the Engebø rutile project from other perspectives than environmental” and that they “will strongly argue against the Agency’s recommendation”

Anne-Line states that: “it is almost unbelievable” that the company claims to be environmentally safe as they “want to dump 16.500 tons of toxic tailings every day into the clean fish-rich national salmon fjord”. Additionally, there are alternatives to submarine tailing, the waste can be used as resources in other industries or can even be put back into the mines. Anne-Line ends by saying that she: “really asks and hope for the government to take care of the unique Norwegian nature and the unique fjords - as the fjords are icons when it comes to world heritage”.

Imagen: Photo: Luka Tomac http://natures-keepers.org/portfolio/anne-line-thingnes-forsund/

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