Sijainti: Pääsivu / Ajankohtaista / Tiedotteet / 2012 / Concern over toxic leak from Europe’s largest nickel mine in north-eastern Finland

Concern over toxic leak from Europe’s largest nickel mine in north-eastern Finland

A toxic leak at Europe’s largest nickel mine, located at Talvivaara in north-eastern Finland, is set to become a major environmental accident. Since Sunday, at least the large mine has discharged hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of toxic effluent into the nearby environment.
Concern over toxic leak from Europe’s largest nickel mine in north-eastern Finland

Photo: Talvivaara

Journalists have not been permitted to enter the area to acquaint themselves with the situation.

The mine has leaked heavy metals like cadmium and nickel into its surroundings and nearby lakes. The uranium concentration in the effluent has risen by 100-200 times its normal level in the bottom and surface waters. Company representatives reported three weeks ago that 1.4 million cubic metres of polluted water were also present in the quarry itself.

On Wednesday 7th November Finland’s largest environmental NGO, the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, called for government intervention in the matter.

“Finland is renowned as a hi-tech country in the environment sector. However, it has not applied its abilities to mining operations: in particular there have been deficiencies in control. The Talvivaara mine has become a classic example of what can happen when environmental monitoring is left to business interests,” says Executive Director Eero Yrjö-Koskinen from the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.

The Talvivaara mine has been in the news headlines in Finland for many years due to its environmental problems. Last spring one of its employees died from hydrogen sulphide poisoning in the mining area and dozens of dead waterbirds were discovered in the open pond. Dust and obnoxious odours from the mine have dispersed over a wide area, while the mine’s impact on the waterway has been detected over a hundred kilometres downstream.

Northern Finland is among Europe’s quietest and wildest areas where tourism is of crucial importance.

 

Additional information:

Executive Director Eero Yrjö-Koskinen, tel. +358-50-3478778, eyk@sll.fi (interviews can also be conducted in English and French)

(SLL tiedote / press release 8.11.2012)