Concerns about the environmental impact of mines are understandable but often exaggerated.
Silja Kononen hoped (HS Opinion 8.6.) clarification of the Mining Act to improve land productivity. In addition to the Mining Act, the mining industry hopes for clarity in the entire legal framework for the industry.
The “mining wars” mentioned by Kosonen also eat into the productivity of mining companies. Much of the public’s concern stems from individual reservations under the Mining Act, where the area is imprecisely defined. That is why the Mining Industry Association has drawn up recommendations that encourage, among other things, to allocate reserves more precisely and reasonably and to take care of protected areas.
However, talking about the mining war gives a sharpened picture of the whole. A survey we conducted with an economic survey (Mining Barometer 2021) said that citizens are very positive about the mining industry, regardless of age, gender and place of residence.
Residents of mining communities see that companies in the sector act responsibly and bring work and tax revenue to the municipality. If a mining tax is introduced as an extension of existing taxes and land use fees, the mining industry hopes to direct it to mining communities.
The great concern of the mining industry is that the laws being prepared in the various ministries are progressing as separate projects, the combined impact of which on the industry has not been assessed. The most important of these are the Mining Act, the Land Use and Construction Act, the reform of the Nature Conservation Act and energy taxation.
The combined effect of the tangle of laws can be devastating and, at worst, hinder the development of the entire industry. For example, plans to raise the electricity tax have already slowed down projects by mining companies to switch from fossil fuels to electronic solutions.
A slowdown in the development of the sector would be a cold blow to the EU’s Green Deal goals of moving towards a sustainable economy. The solutions required for the transition will increase the demand for many raw materials by up to ten times. The mining industry believes that it is more ethical to produce the necessary raw materials in accordance with strict environmental standards and labor laws in Finland than in countries where the environment and employees are cared for less. This opinion is also shared by almost 90 percent of Finns.
Concerns about the environmental impact of mines are understandable but often exaggerated. In Finland, the studies and permit conditions required of a mine have become more frequent, so that answering them requires up to ten years of work. Perhaps that is why no new mines are under construction in Finland.
Executive Director of the Mining Association
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