David Cord, in his article suggests to apply euthanasia to Talvivaara, take it off its life support and let it die gracefully.
In principle, I agree with euthanasia as applied to pets and human beings, but only in the case of needless suffering from an incurable and painful disease at the request of the patient. So, is the company Talvivaara being kept alive longer than it should? Is there no cure for the serious problems it is facing? Before such a conclusion can be reached careful analyses of the causes and possible remedies should be undertaken. Life in nature, but also in business, is too valuable to dispose of too quickly.
Indeed, in the case of Talvivaara, its operations have not been able to meet expectations, errors appear to have been made. The pain is intense and affecting many. With the benefit of hindsight, certain things should probably have been done differently, could have been done better. But like young children growing up, companies like Talvivaara are bound to get scratches and bruises as they are moving off the beaten track in their attempt to adapt to a rapidly changing world with new and ever increasing demands. What is required is the wisdom of a parent to encourage the child in its enthusiasm to find new ways and at the same time to protect and prevent major injuries so it can continue its development. Without the initiatives and energy by people like Pekka Perä to try out new ventures, there is no progress. The errors made are essential opportunities to learn and improve. Criticism is right and an important part of the learning mechanism, while at the same time enough time and tolerance is needed for corrective actions to be developed and implemented. Otherwise the risk is to throw out the baby with the bath water.
Finland has a valuable mining history, running at the forefront of applying innovative mining and processing technologies through the then state-owned companies like Outokumpu and Rautaruukki. Here in Finland, ways were found to profitably mine materials with very low metal content, which elsewhere were left aside as waste. Today this is still the case with recent examples of the new Kittila gold and Kevitsa copper, nickel mines – something that, as a nation, Finland can be proud of. Most of that expertise and know-how is still available and is continuously further developed. It is present in the people employed in the mining industry, in the related engineering, equipment and process technology companies and in several government institutions and agencies. It is part of a nation which has a leading position in the mining industry and top ranking in terms of investment climate and natural resources potential.
This is a legacy that can and has to be applied as a remedy to the problems as witnessed today in the case of Talvivaara. If the company has to be put in “intensive care” let it be, until the specialists conclude there is no cure. This is what this young company deserves and what currently is being done. If the treatment is successful everybody will gain, not in the least the reputation of the Finnish mining industry.
Jan H. Akkerman, chairman of the board of Mustavaaran Kaivos Oy.