Norwegian Lemon: Six Reasons Why Investors, Fishermen, and Conservationists Oppose New Mine Plan

Engebø Mountain

Last Tuesday, Nordic Mining unveiled the feasibility study for the Engebø rutile and garnet mine in western Norway. The study includes plans to dump a total 250 million tonnes of mine waste into the pristine Førdefjord, a proposal that has been opposed by a broad coalition, including local fishery and tourism operators. The company stated it plans to start construction as early as this year. 

Our Ditch Ocean Dumping allies at Friends of the Earth, Norway aren’t buying it–and neither are investors. Nordic Mining’s share price fell 16% on Tuesday following the company’s presentation. 

Below the conservation group sets out the six key obstacles standing between Nordic Mining and its plans to destroy a National Salmon Fjord with mine waste. Read the full article from Friends of the Earth, Norway here

  • Nordic Mining has not received an operating license, and the license process has not even passed the first stage. If the Directorate for Mineral Management grants an operating license, Friends of the Earth, Norway and a number of other actors will appeal the decision to Minister of Industry, Iselin Nybø.
  • Nordic Mining lacks investors, and more and more investment banks are getting more stringent guidelines on financing projects that dump into the sea, including Citigroup and Standard Chartered.
  • The Jøssingfjord has been used as an example of the quick recovery of the fjord-floor (5-10 years) after the mining dump has endedBut new pictures show that the fjord-floor at Jøssingfjord is still damaged by mining sludge 36 years later.  
  • Nordic Mining is not authorized to use the flotation chemical SIBX [a component of their mine plan], which is considered to be very toxic to aquatic animals, and for which the Environment Agency has requested additional documentation.
  • After the presentation of the feasibility study on January 28, Nordic Mining confirmed that it still plans to dump mining sludge in Førdefjorden. However, the municipality of Sunnfjord already determined that they do not want dumping in the fjord: “The municipality of Sunnfjord supports mineral extraction on Engebøfjellet and full utilization of resources to avoid the use of sea landfills.”
  • Nordic Mining’s emission permit is based on incorrect assumptions. They plan to use chemicals other than what they have been authorized, the so-called social benefits presented in the application have been greatly reduced, and the mining company has not considered the most environmentally friendly methods of operation (underground refilling and “recycling” of residual waste in other industries). As a result, Nordic Mining must withdraw the permit and submit a new application to Norwegian authorities.

The Engebø mine is a stark example of what is at stake in our fight to protect people and the environment from irresponsible mining practices. It, along with the proposed Nussir mine in Northern Norway, are ground zero in our effort to cut off financing for mining projects that will sacrifice our ocean for profit. Major financial institutions, like Citigroup and Standard Chartered, have already distanced themselves from companies that would dump mine waste into fragile ocean environments or National Salmon Fjords. Stay tuned for ways to support our Norwegian allies as they gear up to stop Nordic and Nussir, and demand banks Ditch the Dumpers.