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New waste leak at Talvivaara

A gypsum pond at a nickel mine in eastern Finland is leaking waste water again. By early Monday evening, environmental officials estimated it was spewing 7,000 cubic metres of waste water an hour, and the Talvivaara metal factory has been shut down.

Työmiehiä Talvivaaran tyhjiin vuotaneen kipsisakka-altaan pohjalla.
Workers are scrambling to contain a new leak at the Talvivaara mine. Image: Heikki Rönty / Yle

According to the Kainuu centre for economic development, transport and the environment, the new leak started on Sunday night. It is in close proximity to the leak that allowed waste to escape in November 2012.

Harri Natunen, head of production at Talvivaara, claimed that the new leak is not as serious as the one that shut down production in November.

During the day  company estimated that 250,000 cubic metres of water has leaked out so far, with a further 370,000 cubic metres still inside the pond. In a statement, Talvivaara said it does not expect untreated water to leak outside the mining area.

The Kainuu centre for economic development, transport and the environment said that before the leak, the holding pond contained 620,000 cubic metres of waste water. It estimated that by late afternoon that had dropped to 370,000 cubic metres.

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