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Forestry firm halts work at disputed mining site

The Local · 2 Sep 2012, 14:04

Published: 02 Sep 2012 14:04 GMT+02:00

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The decision was taken to suspend work pending a decision by the Supreme Court and was warmly welcomed by the activists from Nature and Youth Sweden/Fälbiologerna.

"A wise and brave decision by Mellanskog," said Alva Snis Sigtryggsson at Fältbiologerna in Stockholm.

Opposition has been growing to the planned limestone mine in the Ojanre forest on Gotland and police on Tuesday were obliged to provide an escort to the tree-felling machines.

Mining company Nordkalk initially received permission in 2009 to mine limestone in the area, but work has been delayed by a number of legal appeals focusing on potential harm the work might cause to the island's water supplies.

In July, a court of appeal ruled that Nordkalk could move ahead with the limestone quarry. However, environmental activists claim that construction of the quarry will damage both the forest as well as ground water reservoirs in the area.

Gotland's governor is among those who have lodged appeals with Mellanskog to halt the de-forestation.

The company on Saturday confirmed that the unilateral decision to suspend operations followed failed attempts to attempt to persuade Nordkalk to agree.

"With this decision we want to avoid long term divisions and bitterness in a place where we have many members," Mellanskog's CEO Sture Karlsson said in a statement.

Norkalk has meanwhile expressed regret over the decision.

"It is first and foremost regrettable that a public authority has taken a stand against a ruling which is in force, in this case the governor who has exerted pressure on Mellanskog," Eva Feldt at the firm said.

Feldt was unable to confirm how the firm planned to proceed, saying that a review would be made of the work which can be carried out at the site.

Story continues below…

Despite Mellanskog's decision, the police presence - including a large number of officers from Stockholm - will remain in place overnight.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

16:27 September 2, 2012 by rise
What does he think his bike is made of, paper? Mining is good - for as long as it's done far away in places like Brazil and Australia and not at your own backyard, right?
19:58 September 2, 2012 by The Groke
@rise. Well.... I'm pretty sure his bike isn't made of limestone. And I think that since he's trying to stop the company from cutting down trees, that maybe "paper" isn't really a possible option (though I suppose it could be recycled).

But yeah that guy is obviously a total schmuck... I mean, what kind of person would buy an old Monark bike from the 1970s instead of a brand new bike made of awesome, NEW Chinese steel and then go protest against NEW mining activities.
22:40 September 2, 2012 by entry
How many people are now out of work? The article does not mention the layoffs.
04:59 September 3, 2012 by swexan
If that bicycle has some steel in it, then lime was a fluxing agent in the steel smelting. The road they are standing on appears to be a limestone base.
07:24 September 3, 2012 by skogsbo
or ganite, still mined or extracted though. Of course all these activitist would say they are using 'modern materials' only to help fight their cause, to prevent further damage. Then when they get jobs, leave uni or finally grow up, they'll take a different view on the world.

A bit like greenpeace, who survive off donations, how does it think the donators got the money, selling handed made, home spun wool jumpers, or working in the modern world.

I'm all against damaging the environment, but given Sweden planning regulations, if the limestone doesn't come from there. Someone else will dig a massive hole somewhere far more sensitive, on another continent, it will then by shipped 1000s of miles. Chances are these protestor are only interested in stuff on their door step, I presume none of them used public transport to get there and walked, only eating native home grown food to sustain them. :)
16:42 September 3, 2012 by rise
@The Groke. It's just I find it tiresome if people are being hypocritical about the environment. Let us forget the bike and take something else as an example. Does the man perhaps have a cellphone in his pocket? It requires mining! Mines that most likely are in China - so, thankfully not in our Swedish backyard. :P
19:19 September 3, 2012 by The Groke
@rise. I actually agree with your core sentiment... I just found it a bit amusing that you used the example of this protester and his 1970s bike to make your point. For all we know, this guy lives in a shack and eats only berries. In fact... I know/knew quite a few crusty punks who absolved from quite a lot of "normal" every day things on principle. Perhaps he is one of them... perhaps not. Let's give him credit for making use of something old... he wasn't out there on some fancy 21 speed thingamaddoodle...

That all being said, I have a very good friend who works as an environmental consultant. I have heard directly from him how the government/corporations consistently steamroll their findings to make any and all projects look environmentally sound, even when clearly not. I agree that our country should pay the price, when possible, of sustaining our living standards. I don't agree that this should be accomplished through what I assume (perhaps wrongly, but Sweden is not as sweet and innocent as many seem to think) is a corrupt scenario.

@swexan and skogsbo, thank you for educating me on the usefulness of limestone. I stand corrected. :)
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