Experts hesitate to the government’s mining investigation: “difficult to see what would win”

Charlie Taylor

Experts are hesitant about the effect of the law changes that the government wants to investigate to make it easier for new mines. In fact, the ambiguity could be even greater, they warn. But Minister of Trade and Industry Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson defends the measure.Published: 12 May 2022, 14:18 The government wants to investigate whether it is possible to change the legislation to speed up permit processes for new mines. This was announced by Minister of Trade and Industry Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson (S) on Friday. More specifically, they want to investigate whether the so-called Natura 2000 test, which is performed to prevent damage to nature worthy of protection, can be postponed until later in the process.Today the test is done partly in the case of an application for a processing concession, which gives the applicant the exclusive right to extract minerals in the area, and later in the environmental assessment required to actually be allowed to construct a mine. After Boliden, among others, criticized the double trials, the government now wants to investigate whether the first can be removed. But there is a crucial difference between the two trials, according to Maria Pettersson, professor of law at LTU. Although they may be so strict that the company chooses not to proceed, the examination does not determine the admissibility. It is decided as a main rule in connection with a processing concession “, she says, but adds that there are cases where a Natura 2000 trial has stopped an activity that has already been allowed.Government space However, taking measures that in some way impair nature conservation are very limited, according to several experts Di spoke to. Natura 2000 is regulated in EU legislation that Sweden must comply with, and it can not be circumvented, according to Jan Darpö, professor of environmental law at Uppsala University. is the County Administrative Board obliged to intervene. And if they do not, environmental associations and others can appeal to the Land and Environmental Court and demand that the measure be reviewed for a permit. And where is the benefit of granting a processing concession if it is not certain that a Natura 2000 permit can be obtained for the business? ”He says.Both he and Maria Pettersson are doubtful that a change in the law would have the effect that the government hopes. In fact, a postponed Natura 2000 trial can mislead companies and cause them to dig up resources in an area that will not be able to be granted a permit, says Maria Pettersson. I know that some representatives from the mining industry prefer the current system for that reason, “she says.” Based on what I have read, I have a hard time seeing what would be gained from the change the government wants to investigate. The risk is that you only create further uncertainty “, says Jan Darpö. But Minister of Trade and Industry Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson (S) believes that the risk is low. The companies that apply for a permit are well aware that these are Natura 2000 sites and can themselves determine the probability that they will receive a permit, he says. “There are many who give up when they understand that the Natura 2000 permit will prevent them, and the industry itself says that it will be an unnecessary duplication of work where you have to do the same thing twice “, says the minister.Read more: Copper mine in Kiruna closer to start The Government’s Kallak requirements may change practice for mining permitsLovisa Ternby

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