The government of Norway has doomed another of their world
famous fjords to destruction by allowing the dumping of toxic waste from a
copper mine into the Repparfjord Arctic fjord, reports Naturvernforbundet/Friends
of the Earth Norway.
Two million tons of the mining waste, containing large
amounts of heavy metals, will annually be deposited in spawning waters of cod
and other fish stocks important to coastal fisheries in the far north of Norway.
Small particles spreading in the water column could also harm the threatened
Atlantic salmon in what has been classified as a 'National Salmon Fjord'.
Lars Haltbrekken, leader of Friends of the Earth
"It is totally unacceptable to use Norwegian
fjords as a dump site for the mining industry. Emissions from the copper mine
will breach the limits for heavy metals, and in this cocktail of contaminants,
the nickel content is alone enough to give poor chemical status in the
The discharge permit is contrary to national and
international environmental legislation regarding water management, and Friends
of the Earth Norway will appeal to the Surveillance Authority of the European
Free Trade Association (the intergovernmental organisation of Iceland,
Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), claiming that Norway is violating the
European Water Framework Directive.
Friends of the Earth Norway believes the Norwegian
Environment Agency has abandoned the role of professional environmental
administrative body in mining matters.
"For the Norwegian Environment Agency to give the
green light for one of the most environmentally harmful industrial projects in
Norwegian history, despite professional advice and warnings, is not
environmental management. It is promoting a dirty industrial policy based only
on uncertain assumptions about future revenues".
Most countries have stopped the practice of dumping of mine
waste into the sea, and today, Norway is the only country left that still
practices sea dumping in Europe. Marine scientists, environmental
organizations, fishermen and reindeer herders of the Sami people have also
raised concerns about the plans.
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