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Government approves mine that will dump toxic mine waste directly into National Salmon fjord

The Norwegian government gave the final permit to Nussir ASA to begin mining operations that would dump 30 million tonnes of highly toxic mine waste into a protected salmon fjord in Sámi Indigenous territory. The harmful sludge will decimate the ocean floor and valuable cod spawning grounds. The Ministry of Industry approved the project without the consent of the Sámi Parliament or other rights holders, including reindeer herders. 

The Sámi Parliament has long opposed Nussir’s plans to dump mine waste in the Repparfjord, passing multiple resolutions against the project and the catastrophic impact it would have on the fjord and the traditional Sámi livelihoods that depend on it. Sámi Parliament member, Silje Muotka reflects, “We know that mining activity will end. I’ve seen the community suffer in the aftermath when the mines shut down. Especially in Repparfjord where we have reindeer and fisheries that suffer the consequences.”

In 2016, the Parliament sent letters to banks backing Nussir’s irresponsible practice, including Credit Suisse and Citigroup, asking them to divest. After pressure from the Ditch Ocean Dumping campaign, Citi announced it would no longer financing mine waste dumping. Credit Suisse, on the other hand, has so far refused to cut ties with dumpers like Nussir.

Repparfjord is a protected salmon fjord that has only just recently began to recover, economically and ecologically, from the mine waste that was dumped during a short bout of copper mining in the 1970s. Nussir’s project will be 20 times larger than the previous operation, meaning an even more devastating impact.

Norwegian grassroots and national groups have vowed to continue to fight to protect the Repparfjord. More than 2,500 people have already signed up to carry out civil disobedience against Nussir’s project. Activists from Young Friends of the Earth took action in 2016 against another proposed project that would dump into the ocean, shutting down Nordic Mining’s exploration operations for three weeks.

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