People’s Movement and the Municipalities Are Rejoicing: A Mining Company withdraws from uranium exploration

Snowchange Cooperative worked extensively with the local communities in North Karelia to assist them in challenging an international mining company and its plans for uranium exploration in the Pielisjoki watershed, a major river of national significance. Yesterday the company pulled out of Finland.

More precisely a mining company whose headquarters are in Canada is withdrawing from a project to explore uranium in Joensuu and Kontiolahti. The decision has been celebrated by the municipalities and residents of the territory who took the company’s exploration permit to the Administrative Court of Kuopio. The legal counsel of the court case was financed by the Snowchange Co-op. An international mining company is pulling out of uranium exploration in Kontiolahti and the region of Eno located in Joensuu.

The Company, Euro Scandinavian Uranium has applied to TUKES (the National Authority of Safety and Chemicals, who issues the mining permits) to dissolve their exploration license. In May, TUKES provided the company with a license to explore and prepare for a mining operation in the claim area of Riutta.

- TUKES acted here illegally and against the Finnish law. Also the precautionary approach was not taken when the authorities issued permits to advance activities that threathen the groundwaters and the health of local people. In this day and age, it is unbelievable that as we are living in the 2010s, the authorities can walk over land owners and municipalities, says Tero Mustonen, the spokesperson for the peoples movement.

The end of the exploration of uranium is being celebrated by the municipality of Kontiolahti, the city of Joensuu and the People’s Movement Against Uranium Mines. All of them took the company to the Administrative Court of Kuopio and issued a complaint against it based on its illegal actions.

The People’s Movement Against Uranium Mines also took direct contact with the leading politicians in Finland as well as the CEO of the company in Canada in the spring. -We may never know all of the reasons why the company pulled out. They vote with their feet to exit from those areas where complaints are issued against them and there is a lot of resistance, Tero Mustonen assesses the situation.

The People’s Movement Against Uranium Mines includes villages, fisheries organisations, public organisations and individual citizens. If a exploration permit is issued, according to Finnish law a company can research geological formations and densities. Exploration permit does not allow the company to utilize the staked area. (It has to apply for a different permit to open a mine and to complete the process.)

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