Material Topic: Biodiversity

304–1  Operational sites in areas of high biodiversity values

Boliden’s impacts on biodiversity are above all related to land use in current or abandoned operations. As of December 31, 2017, Boliden owned or controlled 23,000 ha of land in connection with existing operations, in areas adjacent to existing or former operations, or in other areas of interest for exploration. Most operations are located in areas where mining or smelting activities have been carried out for anything between several decades and several hundred years. Some of the older mining areas are from a time when environmental legislation did not exist and knowledge levels were much less developed than is currently the case, and it is consequently not only impossible to determine an original baseline, but difficult to quantify the precise long-term impact of the activities. For every operation there is a permit process, and for time-limited operations, such as mines, Boliden always ensures that the areas can be reclaimed after the mine closing. Strategies are constantly being developed for the definition of proper compensation measures for application when utilising land and thus causing a loss of biodiversity. Closure and remediation plans, including biodiversity aspects, are a mandatory part of the environmental permit issued to operate a mine.

Details of the sites that are located in or adjacent to national or regional protected areas, including Natura 2000 habitats defined by EU Member States, can be found in the table.

Sites

Operation

Country

Size, ha

Protected areas

         

Aitik

Mine

Sweden

7,158

Yes1) 2) 3)

Bergsöe

Smelter

Sweden

13

No

Boliden Area

Mine

Sweden

5,425

Yes2)

Garpenberg

Mine

Sweden

1,312

No

Harjavalta

Smelter

Finland

453

No

Kevitsa

Mine

Finland

1,420

Yes1) 2)

Kokkola

Smelter

Finland

340

No

Kylylahti

Mine

Finland

654

Yes1) 2)

Odda

Smelter

Norway

40

No

Rönnskär

Smelter

Sweden

153

No

Tara

Mine

Ireland

786

Yes2)

Old mining areas and forests

Sweden

5,218

Yes1) 2) 3)

1) In the area
2) Adjacent to
3) Containing portions of area

 

304–3  Habitats protected and restored

Once reclamation work is completed, the measures must be inspected by the environmental authorities who will either approve them or propose additional measures. Where appropriate, reclamation is done in partnership with affected land owners or Sami villages. Boliden continues to monitor and manage the areas that have been reclaimed for an indeterminate period of time, and this may, if necessary, entail implementing additional measures in already reclaimed areas.

There are various different types of protected area in the vicinity of the majority of Boliden’s mining operations, such as wildlife and plant sanctuaries, key biotopes, protected watercourses of national interest, nature reserves, and Natura 2000 areas.

A list of (10) 20 prioritised reclamation objects has been drawn up and is updated on the basis of the results of studies showing changes in the status of the respective objects. An object may be anything from measures designed to improve dam safety, or large-scale ground installation projects, to out-and-out nature conservation in the form of water treatment, planting, or the installation of nesting boxes for birds. Boliden’s interventions in older abandoned mining areas are often aimed at complementing the old techniques with new and improved methods.

Habitats
restored

Type of activity

Size, ha

Start

End

         

Stekenjokk

Dam safety
measures

2014

2017

Gillervattnet

Reclamation work

300

2014

2019-21

Näsliden

Reclamation work

5

2015

2018

Rävlidmyran

Reclamation work

2017

2018

Old Forests Aitik

Ecological compensation

837

2017

2022

During the year, ecological compensation has been ongoing in Boliden Aitik. Two areas in all 837 hectares were selected for the compensation work. The goal is to maintain the value and increase natural values in the near vicinity of the Aitik mine. The compensation plan includes both protection of selected areas and a more active measures such as relocation of dead wood and biologically important species such as insects in hibernation and wood mushrooms. Boliden also sees a possibility to improve the opportunities of recreational and adventure tourism.

MM1  Amount of land disturbed or rehabilitated

Mining companies can often own or hold licences over very large areas of land. The extraction sites, infrastructure or other production activities will often disturb a small proportion of that land holding.

Soil conservation and the reclamation of mining areas that have reached the end of their productive lifespan are part of Boliden’s operations and responsibility. The reclamation programmes are designed to reduce the impact on surrounding areas of land and the local biological diversity. In 2017, approximately 2 (95) hectares were restored/ reclaimed, while 78 (963) hectares were utilised. Boliden has made ongoing provisions of funds for future rehabilitation. At the end of 2017, a total of SEK 3,123 million (2,873 m) had been allocated for future reclamation of mining areas and smelters.

Land management (hectares)

2015

2016

2017

       

Total land holding

20,900

22,600

23,000

Disturbed and not yet rehabilitated (opening balance)

5,957

5,937

6,805

Disturbed in the reporting period

48

963

78

Rehabilitated in the reporting period

68

95

2

Disturbed and not yet rehabilitated (closing balance)

5,937

6,805

6,881