Mining in the Arctic environment – ecological, socioeconomic and legal perspectives
|Session Name||5.1 Current research on extractive industries and the sustainability in the Arctic|
|Author(s)||Anne Tolvanen (Natural Resources Institute Finland, Finland), Pasi Eilu (Geological Survey of Finland, Finland), Artti Juutinen (Natural Resources Institute Finland, Finland), Seija Tuulentie (Natural Resources Institute Finland, Finland), Jukka Similä (University of Lapland, Finland)|
The attractiveness of the mineral resources in the Arctic has increased and the region is seen as a vast storehouse of potential resources. As a result, the development of mining and other resource-based industries are among the key drivers of the economic development in the Arctic. However, the fragile Arctic environment and the presence of nature-based livelihoods and indigenous communities set challenges for mining development. The challenge is to optimise mining operations so that profitability is maintained within the changing market conditions and increasing societal and environmental demands. We present the current understanding on the interplay between mining and the surrounding socio-ecological systems in the Arctic region. We reviewed the existing academic literature from the Arctic region, covering 127 peer-reviewed publications since 2000. We investigated the sustainability of mining activities from four interlinked dimensions: 1) environmental, 2) economic, 3) social and 4) legal dimension. To consider the cumulative impacts of mining we also assessed pre-mining, mining, and post-mining stages. Publications in the environmental and economic dimension focused principally on the impacts of mining, whereas social and legal publications discussed the interaction between human societies and their rights and ways to control their environment. Main results, research gaps and lessons to learn will be presented in the congress.
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