Talvivaara's bioleaching process – the process of extracting metals from ores – is ineffective under natural conditions, views a group of experts in a report presented to the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (SLL). The process was piloted in 2005—2008 under controlled conditions that, the group highlights, are distinct from the actual mining operations.
“The pilot yielded promising results, but when the scale grew thousand-fold the efficiency of bioleaching declined sharply,” the SLL explains in a bulletin. The experts believe permit and supervisory authorities should have recognised the pronounced difference between the pilot and the actual industrial process.
The experts' claims, however, have yet to be shown to be true under Finnish conditions, Kari Järvinen, the managing director of the state-owned investment firm Solidium, reminds in an interview with Yle. According to Järvinen, the Sotkamo-based mine may yet become very profitable regardless of its current difficulties.
With its 17 per cent stake, Solidium is the largest shareholder in Talvivaara.