The Supreme Court has dismissed LKAB's request for leave to appeal the decision on environmental permitting for the Gruvberget open-pit mine in Svappavaara, Norrbotten. The ruling requires a single permit covering LKAB's mining and processing operations in Svappavaara. The permitting process is thereby prolonged and operations at the newly opened mine will cease. 100 jobs will be lost.
"The trade unions and subcontractors have been notified and we will take necessary measures immediately," says LKAB's President and CEO Lars-Eric Aaro.
The Supreme Court decision does not mean that the environmental terms and conditions for the new mine have been rejected, but rather that permitting for the mining operation must also be assessed on the basis of previously approved ore processing operations in Svappavaara, for which there is already a valid permit.
"We appealed the Environmental Court of Appeal's ruling because it poses serious concerns with respect to the company’s future development of operations. We welcome a collective assessment of the environmental impact, but having to repeatedly apply for permits for existing operations increases the red tape and impairs our ability to predict the outcomes of planned industrial investments,” says Lars-Eric Aaro. Now, some clarification is needed as to whether this new practice is in line with the political ambitions behind the legislation.
The Supreme Court's dismissal of the request for leave of appeal means that mining at Gruvberget must cease until a new joint permit application for both mining and processing operations can be approved. LKAB submitted such an application to the Land and Environment Court in Umeå in July 2011.
An immediate assessment of safety aspects that must be considered will be made and a plan for mine closure will be submitted to the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten. Some 25 LKAB employees and about 80 people who work for subcontractors will be affected.
For more information, please contact:
Lotta Fogde, Senior Vice President Communications, +46 (0)70-3738170, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monica Quinteiro, Manager for Environment, Quality and Sustainability, +46 (0)70-3421220, email@example.com
Lars-Eric Aaro, President and CEO, +46 (0)771-760000, firstname.lastname@example.org
Per-Erik Lindvall, Senior Vice President, Technology and Business Development, +46 (0)70-3738163, email@example.com