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Environmental authority: Nickel leak threatening southwest river

Environmental authorities in southwest Finland fear that nickel emissions from a local mine may be endangering marine life in the Kokemäki River. Samples indicate that nickel concentrations are 400 times normal levels.

Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta.
Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta. Image: Yle

Watershed specialist Harri Helminen of southwest Finland environmental authorities said that massive nickel emissions from the Russian-owned Norilsk Nickel mine in Harjavalta western Finland could pose a danger to marine life in the local river. Officials say that while the impact of metals has been researched to some extent, it is difficult to forecast the fallout from emissions.

“At this stage it’s difficult to make precise evaluations about the effects of emissions but 66 tons is a significant amount,” Helminen said.

According to the hydrologist current nickel concentrations in the river are coming in at around 8.8 milligrams. Normal environmental levels are around 20 micrograms so the nickel readings are now some 400 times normal.

“The problem is that the river is currently low so concentrations are diluting slowly. Officials must now consider closely monitoring the river’s progress,” Helminen added.

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