Copperstone receives environmental permit at Viscaria mine in Kiruna

Image from the Court's on-site visit

It is now clear: Copperstone Resources AB receives a positive decision from the Land and Environment Court for its application to reopen the Viscaria mine in Kiruna. The Viscaria copper deposit was mined until 25 years ago. Electrification has made copper a much sought-after commodity, but the EU's copper needs are only met with small shares of internal extraction. Viscaria, with its favorable location close to existing mining infrastructure, will be an important addition.

- We are delighted with Copperstone, who has been a client of ours for many years, and whom we have helped through this process," says Anders Enetjärn, Senior Advisor at Ecogain.

Long process and extensive investigative work

A mine is one of the most complex things that can be environmentally assessed. Copperstone has worked for years on the application, and the EIA includes hundreds of supporting studies on a wide range of issues. The judgment alone is almost 400 pages long. The company has so far invested almost SEK 1 billion.

Ecogain has had Copperstone's assignment in several sub-investigations that had great importance for the outcome, mainly

  • new solutions for outdoor life
  • plan to create new nature after the mine through ecological rehabilitation
  • adaptations and solutions for reindeer husbandry
  • and ecological compensation.

CLIMB lays the foundation for ecological compensation

Viscaria is the largest case to date where CLIMB is laying the groundwork for ecological compensation. The loss of more than 2,500 CLIMB units due to the mine will be compensated by more than 15%. 

- The Court's reasoning on our investigations confirms Ecogain's role as a serious and competent actor in complex cases," says Ruaridh Hägglund, Senior Ecologist at Ecogain, who led the work on ecological compensation.

Viscaria mine first to compensate reindeer herding with enhanced grazing resource elsewhere

The Viscaria mine will also be the very first environmental assessment in Sweden where the applicant will compensate the reindeer industry by investing in protecting and strengthening the grazing resource in another location. Copperstone has signed an agreement with a landowner for 1500 hectares of forest that will receive a reindeer grazing optimized management plan, and strengthen the reindeer's winter grazing.

- Throughout, I think there is a narrative in the land and environmental court's judgment that the company with its consultants has produced a very solid investigation. I am happy to read that, comments Anders Enetjärn, Ecogain, who had Copperstone's assignment as chairman of the company's environmental steering group.

The judgment can be appealed. However, the company has been granted enforcement to use parts of the permit.

Read the full judgment here