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Finland must make haste with mining act reform, underlines Mikkonen

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Krista Mikkonen (Greens), the Minister of Climate and the Environment, says the government must make haste with the mining act reform it outlined in its action plan. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

Krista Mikkonen (Greens), the Minister of Climate and the Environment, says the government must make haste with the mining act reform it outlined in its action plan. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

KRISTA MIKKONEN (Greens), the Minister of Climate and the Environment, has urged the government to make haste with the mining act reform outlined in the government programme.

Mikkonen on Tuesday said the government should take immediate action to limit the permit for prospecting for minerals, reminding that prospecting can currently lead to up to 20 years of uncertainty for the area, starting from the staking of claim to the expiry of extended permits.

The position of municipalities in the process must be consolidated, according to her.“It has to be considered when setting up a mine if the benefits gained from the mine are more important than the tourism or natural value of the area. This is why the municipality has to be able to decide by zoning whether mines can be set up in its area,” she explained.

Mikkonen argued that the guarantees associated with mining operations are currently insufficient, often leaving taxpayers to shoulder the cost of a failed operation.

“The costs of a failed mining operation must not fall on the society, as has taken place in a few instances in recent years. Having sufficient guarantees and developing the guarantee system should guarantee that the environment is looked after also in the event of problems or the mining company becoming insolvent.”

The Finnish government should also make haste with the study of a new mine tax outlined in the programme as a means to ensure the society is reasonably compensated for the extraction of mineral from soil, according to Mikkonen. The programme also states that the possibility of levying a tax on profits from the sale of mining rights should be weighed up, also when the rights are in foreign ownership.

“Mining utilises non-renewable natural resources in our bedrock. They can only be utilised once. It is obvious that the society must be compensated for these natural resources,” she stressed.

Work on the legislative reform is about to start at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. Legislation related to mining also falls under the purview of the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance.

Mining is one of several environmental issues that has created tension between the Green League and Centre Party.

Tiina Elo (Greens), a deputy chairperson of the Parliament’s Environment Committee, stated to Uusi Suomi last autumn that the mining act should be revamped completely, rather than tweaked as proposed by the Centre.

https://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/politics/17343-finland-must-make-haste-with-mining-act-reform-underlines-mikkonen.html
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