Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has yet to convince the Green League that a miracle has been performed at the zinc and nickel mine of Terrafame in Sotkamo, Northern Finland.
Hanna Halmeenpää (Greens) concedes that the financial situation of the long-troubled mine has improved but reminds that there is no evidence that the mine has brought its long-standing environmental issues under control.
“I wouldn’t talk about a miracle just yet,” she commented to Uusi Suomi on Monday.
“Things are looking better in terms of the financial situation, although also that should be viewed in the long term. There’s also no evidence of yet that the environmental issues have been resolved. Environmental standards must not be violated going forward and the old mess must be cleaned up.”
Sipilä has spoken about a miracle in reference to the improved financial and production outlook for the mine operated by the state-owned special-purpose company. He first used the word in November, 2016, when he declared that the mine has brought its financial, process-related and environmental risks under control and that shutting it down is no longer an option.
The Finnish government has injected roughly half-a-billion euros into the mine to allow it to restart production. Estimates indicate that the cost of shutting the mine down would be roughly comparable.
The debate about the situation at the mine was re-kindled last week after the special-purpose company announced it has secured private funding and is planning on building a battery chemicals production plant to utilise the nickel it produces.
The mine has also received media attention due to an ongoing trial in which four ex-directors of Talvivaara, the previous operator of the mine, stand accused of aggravated impairment of the environment.
All four defendants have demanded that they be acquitted of the charges, arguing that the environmental issues were caused neither deliberately nor by negligence, according to Helsingin Sanomat. The defence will present its final arguments to the District Court of Rovaniemi on Wednesday.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Kimmo Rauatmaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi