Environment and Climate
Grazing areas for reindeer are virtually untouched by the mining operation, which will be an underground operation only. The project is a brownfield project that will operate in the same area as an old copper plant that closed down in 1979. The existing industrial area is about 0.2 km² and activity at the site will not affect reindeer husbandry as it is active today.
From Hedmark county in the south to Finnmark in the north, 40% of Norway is allocated for reindeer grazing areas. These areas are divided into about 80 reindeer grazing districts. 96% of the old Kvalsund municipality area consists of 4 reindeer grazing districts, two of which are operating in the vicinity of the mine; District 20 Fálá and District 22 Fiettar. District 22 constitutes half of the area in the former municipality with its 992 km². Nussir ASA will operate Nussir and Ulveryggen mines within District 22. District 20 moves the herd through the area on their trek between winter and summer grazing lands in the spring and autumn.
The operating licence has taken into consideration the requirements of reindeer herding by halting activity on the smaller orebody of Ulveryggen during the calving period and some other limitations in the grazing and migration period.
State of the art Sea Tailings Placement (STP).
Tailings will be carefully deposited at the bottom of the fjord in a small area which forms a natural basin with depths down to 90m. ESIA studies determined that the environmental impact would be minimal and temporary, and considerably less than that of a land based tailings facility.
The tailings permit granted by the Norwegian Environment Agency is subject to strict conditions, with special focus on particle spreading. Nussir will have the best surveillance program for STPs ever devised. It will feature real-time inputs of several parameters from the fjord to ensure that the strict conditions set by the Environmental Agency are met.
Every year, 1-2 million tonnes of finely ground stone consisting of lime, silicates, mica and others be piped to the deposit. The fjord is 39 km². The regulated area for the deposit is 5 km² with an additional border zone at 3 km². The part of the area in the fjord where the tailings will have a significant impact, however, has been estimated at just 1.1km², or about 3% of the area of the fjord. The STP will fill up just about 1% of the total volume of the fjord. 0.1% of the minerals consist of stable compounds in which copper is included. Stable minerals are not considered to be environmental hazards.
Tests show that the fjord will receive approx. 30-40 kg of copper per. year from the deposit. The fjord is naturally supplied by approx. 600 kg of copper per year from the Repparfjord river, so the increase is around 7% maximum.
Some flocculants and small amounts of flotation chemicals, considered acceptable to the environment by the Institute of Marine Research, will be deposited as part of the tailings.
A land-based tailings deposit was fully investigated, but put aside when it came out negatively with respect to; environment, technical and practical solutions, aesthetics and project economy.
The permit will be valid for 10 years. After 10 years, the permit must be renewed.
In most mines, air pollution in the form of chemicals and the spread of particulate matter from mining, roads and mineral processing facilities is a major problem.
All mineral processing will be either underground or indoors with proper dust control systems for the dry processes. Dust from roads and mining in general can often be reduced using water or salt solution, depending on the scale of the problem. It is important to continuously measure particulate matter on key points around the area.
Sound and noise
This includes sounds from the plant, trucks and other vehicles on the roads and blasting. As previously mentioned, the plant would be fully enclosed limiting the spread of noise from the plant to a minimum.
Trucks and mining vehicles are all fully electric reducing engine noise almost to zero.
Blasting will only occur in the mines underground, something which reduces the sound from the blasting to inaudible levels on the surface.
All buildings and roads will be immediately visible in the open landscape around Nussir. That is why we seek to reuse existing buildings and roads as much as possible.