Environmental authorities in Finland will closely monitor the situation with emissions from the iron-ore mine in Kirkenes, reports YLE Lapland. The Sydvaranger mine recently got continued permission from Norway’s Climate and Pollution Agency to use the chemical Magnafloc 1707 in its production. The waste from the production is dumped directly into the fjord outside Kirkenes.
Finland’s Näätämö river (Neiden river on the Norwegian side) is connected to the fjord system, important for back and forth migration of salmon. Näätämö is one of the most important salmon rivers in Finland.
“Effects on the salmon stocks in the Näätämö river is important. We need to know if there are any effects, this is a common concern we have with the Norwegians,” says Matti Hepola, Deputy Director of Lapland Regional Environmental Centre interviewed by YLE.
Hepola is also Finnish chair of the joint Finnish-Norwegian Transboundary Water Commission.
“In our last meetings with the Norwegians, we have got pretty good information about the discharges from the mine. The mining company is currently conducting an environmental impact assessment, indicating that the main environmental effects are on the Norwegian side,” says Matti Hepola.
Norway is one of five countries in the world allowing dumping of waste from the mining industry into the sea. The others are Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey and Papua New Guinea.
The Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency says they will follow the situation, but is not very concerned.
“We have obtained a lot of new knowledge showing that the chemical Magnafloc 1707 is not acutly toxic to marine life with the concentrations in question and it does not either accumulate in the food chain,” says Signe Nåmdal, department director in the agency in a comment posted on their portal. She concludes that the mining’s benefits for society are substantially greater than the environmental drawbacks.
Russia plans to resume testing of the submarine-launched ballistic missile Bulava this summer. The country’s two newest strategic nuclear-powered submarines will start trials as soon as the ice conditions in the White Sea will allow.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
More than 900 reindeer die of hunger on the Russian Arctic island of Kolguyev following a critical lack of available local pasturelands. The reindeer stocks in the area are too badly managed, regional authorities admit.
The current situation in Ukraine makes cross-border cooperation with the neighboring countries even more important, Barents Secretariat leader Rune Rafaelsen says. At the same time, Norway has joined NATO’s condemnation of Russia’s military escalation on the Crimea peninsula.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.