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Sami Parliament wants veto on mineral issues

Aili Keskitalo is former president of the Sami Parliament and presidental candidate for the NSR-party on the upcoming Sami Parliament election next autumn. Photo: Trude Pettersen.

Better territorial control of the Sápmi area is the main reason to why Aili Keskitalo suggest to give the Sami Parliament a special veto right on mining projects.

“The sami people needs to be secured an acceptable framework for their own needs before the resources are developed”, is Kesikitalos view.

To give the Sami Parliament more control over mining projects in Sápmi area is a controversial topic, but at the same time she thinks it is wrong that mining plans most often are decided on without their views have been taken into consideration.

“The Sami parliament should be able to say no sometimes also”, says Keskitalo to NRK Sapmi.

Keskitalo presented her view at the Globalization conference in Oslo, where also the Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide was present. The foreign minister did not share Keskitalo’s view on the Sami parliament’s right to veto any mining project.

“I do not believe that the Sami parliament should have the possibility to solely veto a mining project and thus establishing Sami self-government in Finnmark. There are many people in Finnmark county who is against such plans” says Barth Eide.

However, Eide emphasize the importance of including the view of the Sami Parliament in any probject in the Sápmi. Kautokeino Municipality has said no to a mining project without even performing a study on the consequences. Barth Eide disagree with the decision since the municipality then says no without really knowing what they are saying no to.

Special adviser on high north policies Bente Aasjord understands why many municipalities say no to mining in their area.

“The local nature becomes severely damaged from the industry, the municipality gains only a minor sum of extra income from the establishment and if many of the workers are commuters the municipality doesn’t have any income tax from the workers either. So the municipality gets all the challenges with new activity, but no income. It should not be like that”, says Åsjord.