The mine in Svappavaara has been closed since 2011. Photo: Alexander Linder/ Sveriges Radio.

Top court to decide fate of new iron-ore mine

A Supreme Court decision may force the state-owned mining giant LKAB to close its newest iron-ore mine in Svappavaara, south of Kiruna. The Supreme Court will likely decide this week whether LKAB can appeal a decision by a lower environmental court that stopped the company from mining there when it ruled it was violating environmental regulations.

"A hundred people would be out of work and an enormous amount of value would disappear," Per-Erik Lindvall, at LKAB, tells news agency TT.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first appealed a lower environmental court's decision to allow LKAB to open its mine there back in 2011. The EPA won the appeal and the company's environmental permit was pulled. The EPA wants LKAB to provide a comprehensive environmental plan for all current and future mines.

"The consequences of pollution from dust or polluting the water from different mining operations is not the same as one plus one, together the pollution can create an even greater problem", says Rikard Janson, at the EPA.

LKAB can reopen the mine at once if the Supreme Court decides to hear the appeal. If the Supreme Court declines, LKAB will be forced to, as they say, "take a timeout".

LKAB says it would lose $275 million in revenue per year if the mine is closed. "But we're optimistic, and think that the legal system will work for us," says Lindvall.

The EPA says if LKAB had tested all of its operations from the beginning that the company would not find itself in this situation.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
Du hittar dina sparade avsnitt i menyn under "Min lista".