SUSTAINABILITY TOPIC: RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

411–1  Incidents of violations involving rights of
indigenous people

A successful business has to be based on local support and understanding. Boliden has a long history in the areas in which it operates. The strategy is to act responsibly and to build trust with local stakeholders to secure its social license to continue to operate. With open dialogue and cooperation with local communities, the company is able to find solutions that are beneficial to all parties and mitigate negative consequences. Since different interests overlap, Boliden as a responsible actor respects different opinions, while working to avoid and overcome significant disputes.

Operation in or adjacent to indigenous peoples’ territories

In the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, the Sami, as an indigenous people, have a traditional land use right over large areas – Sapmi. All types of operations that use land in these areas – from exploration to rehabilitation – are accordingly places where Boliden’s interests overlap with those of the Sami. Boliden conducts exploration work in these areas.

Three of Boliden’s mining areas, the Boliden Area, the Aitik Mine, and the Kevitsa Mine (27% of Boliden’s mines), are also located in Sapmi. Consultations are continuous and ongoing with the affected Sami villages regarding exploration, operations, project development and rehabilitation. Agreements on cooperation, development and compensation are generally in place between Boliden and the Sami villages.

Examples of development projects together with the Sami:

1. Consequences for the Sami and reindeer from mining projects are difficult to evaluate since there is very limited research in this field. Boliden has therefore initiated project MINEDEER to find better ways to evaluate reindeer disturbance zones. This project is financed by Boliden and the Swedish Mining Innovation (SIP-SMI) and is conducted together with three different Sami villages at Boliden sites and also together with researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

2. Re-establishment of reindeer grazing species like lichens on former mine sites – Pilot tests have been set up in Boliden and Aitik in partnership with SLU.

3. The influence on reindeer grazing species by dust will be studied in a new project together with LKAB, Sveaskog and SLU. This will be done by combining large-scale field surveys around two of the country’s largest mining areas, Svappavaara and Aitik, with carefully planned and executed dust emission experiments.

The extent to which grievance mechanisms were used to resolve disputes relating to land use, customary rights of local communities, and indigenous peoples.

Different types of grievance mechanisms are used in different stages from exploration throughout project development, permitting processes and long-term operations. Before any exploration is conducted, a working plan is sent to all stakeholders with information about the date and type of work being planned, and a description of any consequences. Details of the contact at Boliden and at the supervising authority Bergsstaten are provided in the plan to facilitate contacts and changes to the planned work. During project development and permitting, hearings are held with stakeholders to provide feedback directly to Boliden or the authorities. Also, annual meetings are usually held with all stakeholders during operations, as well as during the long-term rehabilitation planning process. The extent of the hearings and meetings is planned based on need and may consist of anything from single meetings to extensive citizen dialogues.