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Hitura nickel mine cleanup effort to cost state €16m

The dormant mine in northwest Finland was active for 45 years before its last owner declared bankruptcy in 2015.

Arkistokuva: Hituran kaivos Nivalassa
File photo of the Hitura mine. Image: Belvedere Mining Oy

Finnish authorities have earmarked 16 million euros towards the cleanup and closure of a nickel mine that has been sitting dormant since 2015 for lack of a buyer.

The Hitura nickel mine, located in Nivala, northwest Finland, began mining and refining nickel and copper in 1965. The last owner of the mine, Canadian-owned Belvedere Resources Ltd, went bankrupt at the end of 2015 and new operators for the mine haven't been found.

The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY) branch in Northern Ostrobothnia reached the decision to close down the mine four years ago.

Finland's Mining Act requires that decommissioned mines are restored, cleaned and landscaped, including its surrounding area, and that the restoration meets public safety laws.

Activities associated with the mine's closure and reclamation must be completed by the autumn of 2021. The second phase has already begun, and includes tasks such as covering over the mine's tailing reservoir, emptying the recirculated water pool and smoothing the terrain. Sludges from the mine will be transported to another pool.

All in all, the mine encompasses 60 hectares that need to be restored. Authorities said they believe the process will last another two years.

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