Resistance against mining projects in Sweden

At the moment, Sweden is also showing signs of resistance against mining, especially iron ore mines. Sweden had allowed the British explorer Beowulf Mining to produce 3000 tons of iron ore for a truck transport to Finland. This project was carried out in Jokkmokk, a national park community, that had not been affected by mining to this point – at the expense of the original inhabitants, the Sami, the local populatoin, nature and future generations. The blasting is also a risk to the nearby hydropower dams. If those were to break, the consequences would be severe and might lead to cases of death. Up to now, there is no knowledge on the acutal impact of blasting on dam walls.
According to the „Svenska Dagbladet“ of 1st of July 2013, there was occupations in mines that belong to the British Beowulf Mining company, or to its affiliate Jokkmokk Iron in Gallok/Kallak (Norrbottens lan/Lapland). The police has started the eviction, but apparently there is enough occupants to replace them. The company has been sued for environmental offences, because they are trying to turn Jokkmokk into an area with many new iron ore mines. On early Monday the activists succeeded in stopping the tests.
On July 1st a couple of activists blocked the tests in Gallok/Kallak. They climbed the excavator that is supposed to prepare the tests. Other activities are not being carried out in the area around the occupation. Inhabitants of the nearby village Bjorkholm provided food supplies and coffee for the heroes on the machines. The statement to the police was: „We will not leave the machines voluntarily.“ Meanwhile, the police has intervened and brought the activists to Jokkmokk. However, there are said to be enough potential occupants to replace them. According the Norrlandic newspaper „Socialdemokrat“, 270 people protested in Gallok/Kallak against the mining project on 1st of July 2013. A bigger meeting is supposed to take place on the 6th of July. There is organised buses to the location where the demonstration is going to take place.
The local population is taking care of supplies, people wash in the Gallokjavrre. The arranger of the network „Inga gruvor i Jokkmokk“ (No mines in Jokkmokk) does not want the activists to sabotage the machines or the equipment. The principles of no violence and civil disobedience are supposed to be applied in possible actions.
The activists said that this struggle wasn’t just about Gallok/Kallak, but about all mining projects in North Sweden. As reasons, they mentioned the destruction of the soil, disturbing nature’s peace, influencing Norrland’s water parametres and interfering with Samish reindeer breed. „We’re protesting against the mining boom. We don’t need mines, there’s enough of the stuff up here. We would like to see people focus on recycling and think ahead, thinking of our children and grandchildren, who also have to be able to live on this planet“, states spokeswoman Elizabeth Johansson.
Jan-Ola Larsson, member of Beowulf Mining’s executive board and Jokkmokk Iron’s chief geologist said that the company had spoken about the project in advance with the community and the nearby villages. The company felt the support of the „silent majority“. The mine is located between different territores of Samish villages. Jokkmokk Iron says that the company had often had discussions with the affected Sami, but often the Sami were against all kinds of nature interventions, like mines, wind farms and dam projects. The company treated the issue accordingly and was holding discussions with the villagers.

Sources:
„Svenska Dagbladet”, (www.svd.se/naringsliv/nyheter/sverige/aktivisterna-viska-
stoppa-hela-gruvboomen_8310102.svd),
„Folk i bild/Kulturfronten“
(www.fib.se/inrikes/item/3002-aktivister-gripna-och-anhallna)

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