Stakeholders in Finland need more information on the impacts of former mining activities on groundwater and surface water, potential soil contamination, and the safety of natural products. According to the University of Eastern Finland, the majority of respondents regarded post-mining sites as unpleasant place that are in need of better reclamation and landscaping measures.
“Our study shows that more attention should be paid to post-mining land use planning. This is important especially when we take into consideration the fact that the demand for various minerals is growing globally and the average size of mining projects has generally increased,” said Sonja Kivinen, a researcher from the University of Eastern Finland.
The study was a collaboration between the University of Eastern Finland and the Finnish Environment Institute, according to the University of Eastern Finland. Researchers used a public participation geographic information system approach to analyze local residents’ and visitors’ conceptions of two post-mining areas in northern Finland.
Some opinions on the mine reopening project were strongly divided among the respondents. This was especially in regard to whether a large open-pit mine and nature-based tourism can coexist in the same region. According to the university, the study showed observed environmental impacts as well as uncertainties and knowledge gaps related to these impacts scan affect local stakeholders’ land use in areas surround old mines.
“The shadow cast by old mines is long. The impacts on local land use are experiences far outside the mining sites and long after their closure. When old mining sites are not reclaimed and landscaped properly, this has an effect on landscape value, natural values and possibilities for post-mining land use,” Kivinen said.
Areas surrounding the post-mining sites contain a wide diversity of positive experiences and values relating to the landscape, recreation and natural products, according to the research. Environmental impacts were highlighted as a cause of concern in the two areas studied in northern Finland.
The new and reopened mines are larger than before, and this places emphasis on the significance of reclamation and post-mining land use planning.
“Better understanding of different stakeholders’ values, opinions and knowledge needs could significantly improve post-mining land use planning and help in retaining different types of activities in their surrounding areas,” Kivinen said.