One-month extension of the consultation period and two public meetings on Terrafame’s uranium recovery project

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 18.1.2018 11.01 | Published in English on 18.1.2018 at 11.42
Press release
One-month extension of the consultation period and two public meetings on Terrafame’s uranium recovery project

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will extend the consultation period for the uranium recovery project of Terrafame Ltd by one month until the end of February. The Ministry will also organise two public consultation meetings: the first in Sotkamo on 21 February and the second in Kajaani on 22 February.

The consultation meetings are organised to give everyone the opportunity to get information about the uranium recovery project and the processing of the licence application and present their questions and views to the Ministry as the coordinating authority and to other authorities and Terrafame Ltd.

On 31 October 2017, Terrafame Ltd submitted to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment an application, addressed to the Government, for a licence for mining and enrichment operations referred to in the Nuclear Energy Act. Terrafame intends to complete the half-finished uranium recovery facility in the Talvivaara mining site and use it to produce uranium when the mine is in operation.

The project concerns the recovery and deployment of natural uranium obtained as a by-product of mining activities at Sotkamo. Terrafame aims to produce 150–250 tonnes per year of uranium oxide concentrate. It intends to start the recovery of uranium in 2019.

Terrafame asserts that uranium is present in small concentrations in the bedrock at the Sotkamo mine and that uranium recovery would be economically viable and would allow Terrafame to use natural resources more efficiently in its mining activities. A positive environmental impact would follow from the considerably smaller amounts of uranium in the bioleaching heaps, sedimentation tanks and current metal products.

Public consultation meetings in Sotkamo and Kajaani

In autumn 2017, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment estimated that consultation in accordance with the Nuclear Energy Act and the Mining Act would be a demanding process. The Ministry extends the consultation period and organises the two consultation meetings in February to ensure that Terrafame’s project meet all the requirements laid down by law and that all those interested have the opportunity to be heard.

On 18 January 2018, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will publish a public notice about Terrafame’s uranium recovery project in the region’s newspapers and on the Ministry’s website at http://tem.fi/terrafamen-uraanin-talteenotto

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will organise two public consultation meetings on Terrafame’s uranium recovery project. The first meeting will take place on Wednesday 21 February 2018 at 18.00 in the Iso-Pölly auditorium of Vuokatti Sport Resort (Ball Hall building, Opistontie 4, Vuokatti) and the second meeting on Thursday 22 February 2018 at 10.00 in the auditorium of Kajaani Library (Seminaarinkatu 15, Kajaani).

Terrafame’s application can be viewed until 28 February 2018 at Sotkamo’s municipal government office (Markkinatie 1) and Kajaani Town Hall (Pohjolankatu 13) and in the neighbouring municipalities of Kuhmo, Nurmes, Paltamo, Pyhäntä, Rautavaara, Ristijärvi, Siikalatva, Sonkajärvi, Vaala, Valtimo and Vieremä. The application is also available on the website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment at http://tem.fi/terrafamen-uraanin-talteenotto

Opinions on the project may be sent to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment until 28 February 2018

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has requested statements from ministries, government authorities and from the municipalities concerned and their neighbouring municipalities.

Anyone can lodge a complaint or express their opinion on the licence application by submitting them in writing to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment by 28 February 2018. All opinions and complaints should contain the reference “TEM/1879/08.05.01/2017” and the name and address of the person or body submitting the opinion or complaint.

The email address for consultation-related documents is: kuuleminen(at)tem.fi, and the mail address: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, PO Box 32, FI-00023 Government. Documents addressed to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment can also be hand-delivered to the Government mail distribution centre, address: Ritarikatu 2 B, Helsinki (open from 8.00 to 16.15).

The key provisions concerning the consultation process are section 13 of the Nuclear Energy Act (990/1987); sections 28, 29 and 64 of the Nuclear Energy Decree (161/1988); sections 39 and 40 of the Mining Act (621/2011); and section 26 of the Government Decree on mining activities (39172012).

Inquiries:
Liisa Heikinheimo, Head of the Nuclear Energy and Fuels Unit, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7035
Jorma Aurela, Chief Engineer, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4832