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Browsing by Author "Kurkinen, Hilja"

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  • Kurkinen, Hilja (2023)
    Mining industry often encounters many environmental and social challenges, such as environmental degradation or negative impacts on other livelihoods. However, the opening of a mine can also enhance economic productivity and employment situation, especially in remote areas. This paper analyses the environmental and employment sustainability of mining in Northern Finland, utilizing Hannukainen iron ore mining plans based in Kolari as a case study. The sustainability framework of the research is UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted by UN member states in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN, 2015d). The aim of this research is to assess Hannukainen mining plans’ capacity to fulfil environmental and employment SDG targets from the perceptions of relevant local stakeholders. The research questions of this study are: 1. How does the implementation of five environment and employment related SDGs actualise in Hannukainen mining plans from the perceptions of relevant local stakeholders? 2. What kind of synergies and conflicts occur between the mining plans and SDG targets? To answer the questions, ten interviews and media analysis of 15 online articles was conducted. The main method for analysis was Inductive Thematic Analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). As a result, three themes are introduced: (1) The mine as an environmental hazard, (2) The mine as a threat to local livelihoods and culture, and (3) The mine as a potential job opportunity. Possible synergies and conflicts between the SDG targets and Hannukainen mining plans are identified separately in each theme. The results suggest that increasing economic growth and employment on one sector, while causing environmental hazards and diminishing the employment possibilities of other sectors is topical in Hannukainen mining plans. Several conflicts rise between SDG targets and Hannukainen mine, regarding mainly environmental issues and two local livelihoods: tourism and reindeer herding. However, synergies between mining plans and SDG targets occur as well since the mine could provide full-time jobs and enhance employment and economic situation of the municipality. Additionally, lack of trust in mining company and to some extent in public authorities is a key component contributing to the experience of mining plan’s unsuccessful SDG implementation.