New iron mine in Sweden will have devastating consequences for the indigenous Sámi people.
This is an open letter to Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson, Sweden’s Minister of Business, Industry & Innovation.
The open letter will be handed over to him before they make the final decision. Please add your name to the open letter alongside tens of thoursands of other people by signing this petition>>
Dear Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson,
We are reaching out to you stressing the consequences of a new iron ore mine in Gállok/Kallak. The proposed location for the mine, 40 kilometres west of Jokkmokk in the northern part of Sweden, puts the local population, including indigenous Sámi communities, tourism, biodiversity, our drinking water, other local enterprises, and the environment at risk indefinitely.
Iron ore itself is not a rare nor critical metal and is not required for us to fulfil the ‘green transition’. The Jokkmokk municipality has already contributed significantly to Sweden’s electricity supply and is already suffering from excessive logging.
This is where we draw the line!
We, the signees, ask of you – Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson and the Swedish Government – to stop the proposed iron ore mine in Gállok/Kallak.
Why is it so important to stop the mine in Gállok?
- It violates the rights of the indigenous Sámi people.
The UN declaration on the rights of the Indigenous Peoples was implemented in 2007. As per this declaration, Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the Indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them. Indigenous Sámi people must have decision rights with regards to this mine proposal.
- The Laponia UNESCO World Heritage could lose its status as world heritage. The same reindeer that in summertime graze Sarek and Badjelannda also graze the area where the mine has been proposed. Reindeers and Reindeer husbandry in Laponia was an important element in achieving UNESCO World Heritage status for this region. UNESCO has expressed their concerns regarding the mine in this area; “it would greatly affect this heritage”. We can lose our World Heritage status as a result of this mine.
- The mine will put the local water supply at risk. Lilla Lule river is the source of water for about 100 000 citizens in the northern part of Sweden. If this dam was to collapse, any downstream dams would likely also collapse. There is a direct risk of loss of human life as a consequence of this proposal.
- This will have a devastating effect on the local population. Björkholmen village, about two kilometres from the proposed mine, will have to be evacuated if this mine is approved. Lands cultivated by these people for generations will be quite literally blown to smithereens. The local supply of meat, fish, herbs, berries and mushrooms will be sabotaged and possibilities for recreation in the only surviving old forest in the area will be ruined. Jokkmokk will lose its credibility with regards to nature and culture. Many of the returning visitors to Jokkmokk will travel elsewhere, and local tourism will be in ruins.
- The air quality in Jokkmokk will deteriorate dramatically. The wind will carry fine particles approximately 20 to 30 kilometres from the mine. These particles will end up in the water supply, in the fish population, on lichen grazed by reindeer, on grass, in berries, herbs and mushrooms.
- The climate impact of increased diesel fuel traffic must alsobe carefully considered. A 90 ton truck travelling every 90 seconds along the road from the mine will increase noise levels and increase the risk of accidents for locals, holiday homeowners, tourists, reindeer and all others in the local area. With a new mine, new roads and more traffic always follow, also to the detriment of both the reindeer in the area and the local and global environment.