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”Kaivoskriittinen kansanliike” (Mining critical people’s movement) and ”Rajat Lapin kaivoksille ry” (Limits for mines in Lapland, registered association) are collecting signatures from film industry professionals on the petition below. Sodankylä hosts the Sodankylä Film Festival every summer. The petition and signatures will be handed over to decision-makers in June 2024 in Sodankylä at the same time as the Sodankylä film festival is celebrated in Sodankylä. If you want to sign the petition, send an email to Liisa Näntö (liisa.nanto@gmail.com), who will collect the signatures. Please include your name, title, municipality and country of residence in the email. We hope you could send this message to film professionals (film directors, cinematographers, film editors, film sound designers, film actors and so on) you know around the world. We need a lot of signatures around the world to convince Finnish decision makers that Finland’s biodiversity is valuable for all people.

Liisa Näntö, liisa.nanto@gmail.com, +358440130187

INFORMATION

Viiankiaapa is a large mire with unique natural values in the municipality of Sodankylä in the municipality of Sodankylä in Finnish Lapland. A huge mine is planned underneath it, which, if completed, will destroy the doubly protected land. The main part of Viiankiaapa was protected in the National Mire Conservation Programme in 1988. Later the area was also annexed to the the European Union’s Natura 2000 network of protected areas. Viiankiaapa is located in the central part of Lapland, in a greenstone belt area, which is of great interest to mining companies.

The zone runs from Kuusamo to Enontekiö across central Lapland. Viiankiaapa covers an area of approximately 66 square kilometres, i.e. about one third of the size of Helsinki.

It is the largest in Europe one of the richest areas in Europe in terms of nature’s richness. The mire type is classified as a priority under the European Union’s Habitats Directive.  Viiankiaapa is protected because of 13 different habitat types and 31 animal and plant species, including the critically endangered ruff. The endangered brackish water bodies in the pond are derived from groundwater.

The endangered fens in Viiankiaapa are nutrient-rich mire types and they are dependent on groundwater. Almost all types of fens have been assessed as endangered at the Finnish level. Just the fens in central Lapland greenstone belt area are unique in terms of their diversity.

The main metals in the deposit underneath Viiankiaapa mire are copper, nickel and the deposit also contains precious metals such as platinum, palladium and cobalt. AngloAmerican is one of the world’s largest mining companies. Its subsidiary AA Sakatti Mining Oy is planning a mine under the Viiankiaapa to exploit this deposit. The operating life of the mine, called Sakatti Mine would last for about 20 years and extraction volume would be around 2.2 million tonnes per year, according to information provided by the mining company. The mining company plans to drill two 5-kilometre-long boreholes into the rock. tunnels to the ore deposit.Later, as mining progresses, these number of tunnels would increase to up to four.The Lapland ELY Centre has has stated in its opinion that the adverse effects of the Sakatti mine on groundwater could be significant. If the risks materialise, the unique marsh will dry up and protected species will disappear. The National Mire Protection Programme prohibits altering the water balance of the wetland and damage to the soil and bedrock.

Furthermore, the Sakatti mine would have a significant impact on Finland’s fourth largest river, the Kitinen. Kitinen is already polluted by wastewater from the Kevitsa mine of the Boliden mining company. The Sakatti mine would produce, among other things, a huge amount of sulphuric acid mining waste. Mining waste in Finland is particularly dangerous in because most of our ores are sulphide ores. Sulphide ores react with water and air to form sulphuric acid. The acid dissolves out heavy metals and arsenic, which can then spread into waterways and groundwate. The wastewater from the mine to Kitinen would therefore contain many extremely harmful substances to the river ecosystem.

If AA Sakatti Mining Oy is granted a permit to mine the Viiankiaapa mire, it would be the first time that a national protected area under the National Mire Protection Programme was opened to mining. In addition, the mining project means a Natura protected area is at risk. Viiankiaapa is part of the EU-wide Natura 2000 network. Establishment of the Sakatti mine in Viiankiaapa would set a dangerous precedent, opening the gates to the already economic exploitation of areas already agreed to be protected across Europe.

The EU’s critical raw materials act (CRMA) aims to increase Europe’s “self-sufficiency” when it comes to minerals & metals. This has further increased mining companies’ interest in Finland’s bedrock. Mining companies are seeking to maximise their economic profit by setting up shortlived mines that operate for a set number of time, such as 20 years. Compared to mining companies’ profit, Finland gets minimal economic benefits, destroyed nature and long-term environmental problems caused by the mines for the hundreds of years to come.

Climate change is not the only environmental crisis of our time. Nature’s rapid loss of biodiversity is an equally serious threat. We cannot solve climate change by accelerating the natural catastrophe that is destroying the planet’s livability. The real solution requires people to take decisive action to change its resource-wasting lifestyle.

Viiankiaapa’s natural values are irreplaceable. We, the undersigned representatives of the film industry do not accept the use of the protected mire of Viiankiaapa to mining activities. Viiankiaapa must be immediately and immediately and permanently protected from all mining activities and ore exploration.