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Next government will deal with Terrafame uranium recovery permit

Terrafames nickel production increased in 2018 by 31 per cent to 27,377 and to 20,864 tonnes. Zinc production increased by 31 per cent to 61,608 and 47,205 tonnes. Photo: Terrafame
Terrafames nickel production increased in 2018 by 31 per cent to 27,377 and to 20,864 tonnes. Zinc production increased by 31 per cent to 61,608 and 47,205 tonnes. Photo: Terrafame
Published by
Markku Björkman - 26 Feb 2019

The handling of the uranium recovery permit for the Terrafame mine seems to remain a task for the next Finnish government, according to the country's print media.

At the moment, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority's opinion is waiting for the authorization process. Jussi Heinonen, Director of the Unit for Nuclear Waste and Materials, commented on the Green Wire that drafting the opinion is in the final phase. Heinonen estimates that he will be ready in a month or a half.

Subsequently, the application goes to the Nuclear Safety Advisory Board, with an estimated time of one month.

- It is a matter for the Ministry of Employment and the Economy to see how this goes with parliamentary elections, Heinonen said to the newspaper.

Parliamentary elections are held after a month and a half. Liisa Heikinheimo, a CEE industrial adviser interviewed by media, says that the issue "depends largely on when the license comes from Stuk".

- It is still possible that the permit will come to this government. It is also possible that it will go to the next. I'm not guessing any more.

In mid-January, Heikinheimo said to MTV that there were no significant obstacles to the start-up of the uranium separation plant and that he said it was a "good understanding".

Terrafame's uranium recovery plant would be Finland's first of its kind. Terrafame has applied for permission in autumn 2017. The government will decide on the license.

So far, the decisive shift in licensing to the next government is a mystery.

For example, the Green Party have opposed the granting of a uranium recovery permit to Terrafame's predecessor, Talvivaara, for the last time on the board.

Originally, Terrafame's goal was for the government to grant permission no later than autumn 2018, one year after the application was filed.

Nature conservation organizations in Kainuu are opposed to granting a permit. The municipality of Sotkamo welcomes it dearly.

Cobalt mine in Democratic Republic Congo. About half of all mined cobalt comes from DRC, mainly from the province of Katanga. The mining takes place close to towns and villages. Local communities regularly are cut off from their farmland and water sources near mines, without having had a say in the matter. There are several examples of forced relocations of entire villages. Inhabitants of the village Kishiba, for example, were forced to move to make way for Frontier, a cobalt and copper mine. Their new homes in Kimfumpa lack the most basic of services such as clean water, fertile farmland, schools and health care. Photo: ECCJ Secretariat
Cobalt mine in Democratic Republic Congo. About half of all mined cobalt comes from DRC, mainly from the province of Katanga. The mining takes place close to towns and villages. Local communities regularly are cut off from their farmland and water sources near mines, without having had a say in the matter. There are several examples of forced relocations of entire villages. Inhabitants of the village Kishiba, for example, were forced to move to make way for Frontier, a cobalt and copper mine. Their new homes in Kimfumpa lack the most basic of services such as clean water, fertile farmland, schools and health care. Photo: ECCJ Secretariat

Chinese control half of the Congo's cobalt