This report concerns the impacts of Boliden’s proposed mine in Laver, northern Sweden, for the Semisjaur Njarg Sami reindeer herding community.

The proposed mine is on the Semisjaur Njarg community’s winter grazing pastures. Winter grazing pastures constitute a “bottleneck” for reindeer herding in general, and the Semisjaur Njarg Sami community is already under significant pressure from other land encroachments and industrial developments on their traditional lands. The Semisjaur Njarg Sami community want to continue to enjoy their right to pursue traditional reindeer herding in the area. They also want to sustainably manage their traditional land in the area for future generations. The Semisjaur Njarg Sami community believe that the proposed Boliden mine would make this impossible; they therefore oppose the proposed mining activities in the Laver area.

By law, Sami communities enjoy property rights to their traditional territories, and individual reindeer herders have a right to practice their culture – through the reindeer herding – without significant harm by industrial developments. It is clear, however, based on the evidence presented in this report, that a mine in Laver would entail significant breaches of 1) the Sami community’s property rights, because of the mine’s planned location in the middle of the Sami community’s winter pastures, and 2) individual reindeer herders’ right to culture, as several herders would be forced out of reindeer herding.

The authors conclude that a full human rights impact assessment of the proposed mine in Laver would be appropriate, in conjunction with a further assessment of the mine’s impact on Sami rights. This would determine if a mining permit is consistent on the one hand with the international conventions that Sweden is bound by, and on the other hand with the commitments that Boliden has made in its own corporate policies.

This report is aimed partly towards the affected Sami community, but also towards decision-makers, including permitting authorities, courts and the government, together with Boliden and Boliden’s stakeholders (e.g. investors). The aim is to provide all involved parties with an overall picture of how Semisjaur Njarg Sami community see their future, and what a mine in Laver would mean for them.

 

Download the report (In Swedish, with English summary. PDF, 12.9MB)