You are here: Home » Reuters » News
Business Standard

Norway gives go-ahead to disputed Arctic copper mine

Reuters  |  OSLO 

By and Gwladys Fouche

OSLO (Reuters) - approved on Thursday the building of a copper mine near Europe's northernmost point despite years of opposition from indigenous Sami herders and fishermen.

Norway's decision on the copper mine has been viewed as a litmus test for the Arctic, where climate change and technology are enabling mineral and energy extraction, shipping and tourism, but threatening traditional ways of life.

"The project will strengthen the industrial base in the north," of the centre-right coalition government said in a statement.

"It will contribute positively to the local community, with new jobs and skills."

The project is expected to bring jobs and investment to the municipality, but the digging could damage summer reindeer pastures and a plan to dump tailings in the fjord would destroy spawning grounds for the coastal cod.

"I am shocked by the government's decision. I had hoped that the would have heard our arguments ... They do not take us seriously," reindeer herder told "We will definitely protest against this decision."

A group of reindeer herders will discuss whether to take legal action in an attempt to stop the mine, he said.

Nussir says the area contains an estimated 72 million tonnes of copper ore - Norway's largest reserve - and plans to invest more than 1 billion crowns ($115.8 million) in the mine while making only minimal intrusion in the local way of life.

For photo essay, click https://reut.rs/2tLnOwq

For graphic, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2tQSjlC

Local officials gave a green light in 2012, but the project has since been stuck awaiting an operating license, with big industry players paying close attention to the process, the has said.

Kvalsund, a village of painted wooden houses on the Repparfjord with 1,027 inhabitants, said the mine would boost a municipality which spends 40 percent of its income caring for the elderly as young people move away.

Herders around the Arctic in other Nordic nations, Russia, and Alaska, echo the Norwegian Sami concerns, citing threats from climate change, mining, and poaching as well as thoughtless behaviour from townspeople and tourists.

Global majors, including Eni, Equinor, Gazprom, Glencore, and Rio Tinto, are all grappling with how to square their prospecting plans with the interests of people whose views count more than in the past.

Average temperatures in the Arctic regions of the world, where some four million people live, have risen more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6°F) since pre-industrial times, twice as fast as the world average, according to research for the intergovernmental

($1 = 8.6376 Norwegian crowns)

(Editing by Richard Pullin and Tom Hogue)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 14 2019. 12:35 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU