Photo: Karin Runblom Sveriges Radio

Left Party leader calls for curbs on mining

Update: 1609

Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt has called for a total ban on mineral prospecting in areas designated as nature reserves.

“It’s pretty obvious that these are our most valuable natural areas that we’ve chosen to protect for coming generations. They’re not suitable for mining operations,” he told Swedish Radio ahead of his summer speech in the northern city of Umeå.

The Left Party argues that Swedish legislation is too heavily biased towards mining interests.

Sjöstedt wants to see an extension of prospecting bans to cover all Sweden's 500 nature reserves and not only the country’s so-called national parks as is currently the case.

Earlier this year he called on the government to hike the country’s mineral tax from 2 to 10 percent.

Responding to Sjöstedt latest proposal, the mining industry body Svemin said it was important to weigh up conservation issues against the benefits of mineral extraction.

“There can be valuable materials in the ground that we want to extract. It would be very unfortunate for the country if we were restricted from looking for them,” Per Ahl, CEO of Svemin told Swedish Radio, adding that no nature reserves should be off-limits to mining.

“It should be decided on a case by case basis, just as the law provides for today.”

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