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Norway’s Førdefjorden is under threat as the Norwegian government has granted the company, Nordic Mining, to begin mining exploration at the Engebø mountain. For approximately three weeks, locals and young activists from Young Friends of the Earth Norway, have been peacefully blockading test drilling at the mining site in west Norway. Real World Radio had the opportunity to interview one of the activists, Tina Andersen Vågenes from Young Friends of the Earth Norway, as she was chained to the drilling machinery on the mining site and waiting for the police to arrive.
Real World Radio has previously covered issues regarding mining threats to Norway’s fjords in November 2014. Since then, Andersen states that Nordic Mining has been given permission by the government to dump toxic waste into the fjords. Three weeks ago, test drilling commenced on the mountain where, according to Andersen, the mining company has drilled over 40 holes in the mountain in order to gain information about the mineral rutile and acquire potential investors. It is expected to continue for 8 weeks, however, the blockading by activists are slowing the process and costing the company large amounts of money each day.
In a year when the real mining is expected to begin, Andersen states there will be an open pit mine for the first 15 years in which the top of the mountain will be removed, followed by a closed mine for the remaining 35 years. During the total 50 years, the mining is expected to produce 250 million tonnes of waste that will be dumped in the fjord and a small valley next to the mountain. Andersen holds that the fjord is a spawning area for cod, salmon and endangered species, which are all depended upon by local communities. She also states that a small village of 250 people below the mountain fear for their future and have vowed to move away, as they will not stand to see the mountain they love being destroyed by the mine.
Other fjords in Norway, such as the Repparfjord in the north is also under threat by mining. The Norwegian government has granted permission for mining projects which will not only have environmental impacts on biodiversity and fish populations, but will also have dire consequences for the indigenous Sami populations who rely heavily on fishing and reindeer herding. More information about the Repparfjord by Andersen can be found here.
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