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More heavy metals found in waters around Talvivaara

The Finnish Environment Institute (Syke) has observed high levels of heavy metals in water courses around the Talvivaara mine.

Talvivaara
Talvivaara has leaked heavy metals into the surrounding nature. Image: Yle

Talvivaara mine allowed a significant amount of heavy metals to escape into the local environment on Sunday. Levels found in samples taken in the area on Sunday are poisonous to fish and other organisms, and could cause fish deaths in the area.

The Environment Institute has observed increased levels of cadmium, aluminium and uranium in addition to the previously-observed high levels of nickel.

Syke’s Seppo Rekolainen said at a press conference on Tuesday evening that the samples taken on Sunday showed new elements, in addition to the previously-observed nickel and uranium, were now present at elevated levels in the streams around Talvivaara.

Syke: Cadmium and uranium levels poisonous

Special researcher Jaakko Mannio said that the elevated aluminium levels were a surprise, and could cause fish kills.

He said that fish in Kivijärvi, to the south of the mining area, are expected to be badly affected, while it was too early to estimate likely levels in Laakajärvi, further south.

Tero Varjoranta of the Radiation and Nuclear Authority (STUK) said that uranium levels were elevated, but not a danger to humans. The samples tested most recently showed levels at 350 microgrammes per litre, while the recommended limit is 100 microgrammes.

STUK will have more information on the matter on Wednesday.

Kainuu 's ELY-keskus, a regional body tasked with promoting sustainable development, said on Tuesday that production at the mine will remain shut down. Talvivaara is to provide more information on how it will secure the mine's leaky gypsum pond and ensure the safety of nearby water courses.

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