Orivesi mine | Chasing a golden treasure led to a disaster – The police tell the extent of the destruction

It took more than two weeks to empty the Orivesi mine. Millions of kilograms of waste and stone, more than predicted, were lifted from underground. The police have been investigating the operation of the mine since 2018, when the illegal dump of the mine came to the attention of the authorities.

Orivesi the mine waste cave has been emptied. The waste, which had been illegally stored in the mine for years, was emptied from the beginning of May until the end of last week, says the head of the investigation, the crime commissioner Joni Länspuro.

“The cave is now completely empty.”

The mine is owned by Australian-based Dragon Mining, which bought the area from Outokumpu in 2003. Waste has been stored in the cave since the 1990s during Outokumpu’s ownership. The use of the cave ended in 2016 and the operation of the mine in 2019.

The police have been investigating the operation of the mine since 2018, when the illegal dump of the mine came to the attention of the authorities. Pirkanmaa’s ely center has considered that it is an illegal landfill.

To the mine pipes, batteries, electric cables, plastic, oil rags, oil drums, explosives bags, coffee packages, coveralls and oil filters have been buried, among other things. The police suspect gross damage to the environment in the case. Länsipuro does not specify the number of suspects. The police are investigating what and how much waste there is, how much the buried waste has brought criminal profit and whether the waste has ruined the rest of the country.

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In the past, there has been speculation in the public that parts of large machinery and even a car were buried in the cave. Was such waste found?

“I cannot go into details because the interrogations are still ahead. But there were no surprises for us, everything was in accordance with our preconceptions.”

According to preliminary estimates, the cave, located at a depth of 66–85 meters, should have had about half a million kilograms to empty. In the end, seven million kilos of stuff were lifted out of the cave. The amount of waste will be specified later, but most of the material lifted up is stone from the mining of the mine, says Länsipuro. One stone block lifted from the mine weighed only 11,000 kilograms.

According to Länsipuro, a little less than 300 truckloads of cargo were finally lifted out of the cave for examination. Initially, it was estimated that the amount would be around 500 loads. The police investigated and took samples from each pile. Some of the garbage had already landed on the ground over the years.

Next the piles lifted from the cave are sifted and sorted. The screening started on Tuesday, but there is no information yet on its duration. Initially, it was estimated that the screening at the mine would last until the end of June. According to Crime Commissioner Länsipuro, the investigation of the case will be completed in the fall at the earliest.

The Orivesi mining saga is also connected to the charge of gross abuse of official position received by the incumbent Tukes of the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency in March. The charge is related to the statements made by Tukes about the dangerousness of the waste facility. The police have suspected that due to the actions of the official, Dragon Mining could have received a considerable profit. The criminal suspicion came to light in connection with the environmental criminal investigation. The case will be heard in Pirkanmaa district court. The processing date is unknown.

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