Sweden : Ongoing Road Blockade Against Mining in Saami Territory

Ongoing Road Blockade Against Mining in Saami Territory In Sapmi, the traditional territory of the Saami Peoples, a group of indigenous and non-indigenous activists have joined together to stop the

UK-based mining company, Beowulf, from carrying out another drilling program in Kallak (Saami: Gállok), an area of great spiritual and cultural importance to the Saami Peoples.


Since 2006, Beowulf, through its Swedish counterpart Jokkmokk Iron Mines AB (JIMAB--formerly known as Beowulf Mining AB), has been pushing its controversial Kallak mining project forward, ignoring the Saami Peoples rights in addition to Swedish legislation and international conventions

regarding the right to consultation and free, prior, and informed consent.


The Saami began speaking out against Beowulf's mining plans after the company carried out its first drilling program in 2010. With the company breaching its own ethical guidelines, the National Saami Association stated, “In contrast to what Beowulf has reported to its shareholders, the company

has not shown any willingness to cooperate with Saami communities, as required by international conventions. This is demonstrated by the company’s refusal to assist the communities’ participation in impact assessments, which are necessary to obtain knowledge of how the proposed mining would

impact upon the Saami communities and their land uses.”


The Saami went on to explain that the company's proposed mine could devastate the reindeer's grazing lands, severely impacting the their traditional grazing practices, which are an integral part of their cultural

and spiritual identity. The potential impact would be compounded by a large increase in traffic to and from the mine.


Two years later, the company has shown no signs of changing its ways, having continued to disregard the Saami and their rights--a point that was illustrated by the Saami communities of Sirges and Jåhkågasska at Beowulf’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in London on July 4th, 2013.


During the AGM, the two communities reiterated their opposition to the mine, stating unequivocally, that, "Given the devastating impacts Beowulf Mining’s proposed mining activities would have on our Saami communities of Sirges and Jåhkågasska, we will never consent to the projects. Rather, we will do

everything possible to protect our lands and livelihoods for future generations. The profits Beowulf is planning to make will be short-term only, but the devastation for the Saami people and their environment will be permanent."


The two communities also pointed out that, "Beowulf has repeatedly broken the Swedish Mining Act. Exploration work plans have been ‘lost’, terrain driving restrictions have been ignored and the environmental act doesn’t seem to mean anything to your company. Beowulf has applied for a mining

concession but the EIA report, reindeer herding analysis report and transport report are so far from complete that all affected parties have rejected the reports."


According to Kamp Kallak, "the Swedish Mining Inspectorate issued their final warning to the company for its disregard of the legislation regarding mineral extraction in Sweden."


On July 30, 2013, five days after the warning was issued, Kamp Kallak continues, "The police arrived to dismantle the blockade set up by demonstrators, at the request of JIMAB, as it hindered their access to the

area. Six demonstrators were arrested. They were bussed to the nearby city of Gällivare where they were questioned and later freed."
source : IWGIA





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