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 get the social license to continue operations. With an open dialogue and cooperation with local communities, the company is able to find solutions that are beneficial to both sides and mitigate negative consequences. Since different types of interest overlap we have to respect different opinions, but Boliden has been able to avoid significant disputes.

Operation in or adjacent to indigenous peoples’ territories

In northern Scandinavia 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 (27%) (the Boliden Area, the Aitik mine, and the Kevitsa mine) 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:

  • “Porokello” – a warning system for traffic to avoid accidents, used in Finland and at the Kevitsa mine. Boliden, the Sami ­villages in the Boliden Area, and the local contractor, Renfors ­Åkeri, have jointly agreed to trial the system. The target is to reduce the number of accidents and improve safety for drivers, reindeer herders and, of course, the reindeer. Another project involves the re-establishment of lichens – Pilot tests have been set up in Boliden and Aitik in partnership with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. 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 a project with global positioning collars on reindeer to find better ways to evaluate for exemple disturbance zones. This project is conducted together with three different Sami villages at Boliden sites and also together with researchers from the university of agricultural sciences.

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 through project development, permitting, operations into the long term phase. 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 enable 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 citizens dialogues.