4. Setting the right frameworks for sustainable mine development in Upper Norrland

Institutions, regulatory frameworks and planning processes create important framework conditions for regional development. Fostering the growth of the regional mining industry may require new transport and housing developments, as well as the protection of environmental assets and amenities. This can also impact the capacity to develop other areas such as tourism and recreation. Regulatory processes and planning frameworks define how policy objectives are turned into reality. They balance different interests, assess risks and benefits of potential developments, define who is involved in decision-making processes and plan for how available space is used. In the mining context, regulations and institutional frameworks also play a key aspect in the countries’ attractiveness to new developments and in assuring local social acceptance of mining, for instance, through high levels of transparency and legitimacy.

Changing global and local circumstances, such as demographic change, automation and transition to a low carbon economy, can challenge systems in place and create the need for adjustments both in formal regulations but also in informal roles and ways of working. The previous two chapters have underlined the challenges and strengths to be addressed by the regions of Västerbotten and Norrbotten. They highlight the need to address the consequences of a rapidly ageing and declining population and the potential of becoming a global leader in environmentally sustainable mining practices through innovation and building a strong ecosystem for local businesses.

Responding to these challenges will require regulatory and planning processes to reflect objectives and vision for growth outlined by national and regional policies. They contribute to assuring future attractiveness for investors, sustaining a collaborative approach between different levels of government, businesses and Sami communities, and help regions and municipalities designate the needed land for a variety of activities.

This chapter offers assessment and recommendations on regulatory and planning structures that are important for regional development in the mining context in Sweden. This includes regulatory framework and planning guiding mining and mineral activities in Sweden and the distribution of competencies in regional policymaking and its implementation. It starts by examining bottlenecks in the regulatory process for mining permits and looks at ways to avoid delays and improve predictability, transparency and legitimacy for all involved parties, including the private sector, regional and local governments, and affected communities, including the Sami. Further, it outlines how engagement in the mining permitting process can be improved and, lastly, investigates how Västerbotten and Norrbotten govern their multifunctional geographical landscapes in the context of mine development and points to the importance of linking special planning with regional development objectives as well as greater collaboration amongst local and regional constituencies.

Laws and regulations govern the everyday life of businesses and citizens and are important tools of public policy. Laws and regulations help to protect consumers, workers, the environment and the like. Yet, they are also an area where striking a balance between too much and too little is key. The OECD work on regulatory policy has pointed out that good regulation is conducive to economic growth and well-being, and inadequate regulation endangers both. Too limited, poorly conceived or incoherent rules can create significant hurdles for starting businesses, trading or complying with basic administrative procedures (OECD, 2018[1]).

In a changing world, where countries and regions need to adjust to megatrends like digitalisation and automation, the regulatory policy can be an important tool to systematically manage risks and benefits. For instance, as technologies offer potential economic rewards and improving environmental outcomes in mining, they can also hold a risk such as reduced local labour force participation. Hence, managing the social, employment and other impacts of the digital economy demands sound regulatory policies that account for them.

Key issues for regulatory frameworks are lack of transparency in rule-making and inefficient or improper enforcement. Further, uneven regulations can lead to losses in organisational performance and administrative discretionary power to make decisions. In cases where rules fail to protect, this can lead to a loss of trust in institutions and even in government itself. More meaningful engagement, greater transparency and better communication are needed to ensure that citizens and businesses feel included in the policymaking process, accept regulatory decisions and, ultimately, trust their government (OECD, 2018[1]).

This section focusses on the Swedish regulatory system for mining permits and how this affects regional development opportunities in Norrbotten and Västerbotten. It presents the relevance of a well-functioning system to regional development and elaborates on crucial bottlenecks within the system. These include predictability, transparency and trust in the systems as well as co-ordination between different government authorities and capacities of decision-makers (Pettersson et al., 2015[2]; Hojem, 2015[3]; SveMin, 2012[4]). This section offers suggestions on how to better structure the Swedish regulatory process to unlock opportunities for regional development linked to mining and extractive industries, highlighting how other countries attempt to address similar challenges.

Mining is of great significance to the supply of resources and wealth but also contains environmental, social and cultural impacts that are sensitive and need to be evaluated and managed carefully. How governments regulate the mining sector shapes its environmental impact, its attractiveness to investors and its acceptability to local communities. The mining regulatory framework is pivotal to ensuring different interests are protected. This is of particular importance for regional development as impacts of mining and extractive industries are often highly localised. Local impacts range from environmental aspects to questions of land use, employment opportunities and pressures on housing and public services.

Regulatory systems that are unpredictable, inefficient, lengthy and opaque can fail to balance opportunities and challenges. This reduces attractiveness for investors, causes planning bottlenecks for municipalities and can result in the polarisation of communities. Recent studies show that public policy is a key factor in determining investment decisions. Respondents to the 2017 Fraser Survey of Mining Companies indicated that, on average, public policy makes up 40% of their investment decision. This is almost as much as geology (Stedman and Green, 2017[5]). Particularly, small junior exploration companies struggle when it comes to uncertainties in regulatory environments, as their access to capital is often limited. The cyclical nature of the minerals markets with fluctuating prices further reduces investment timelines and increase the need for regulatory stability (Söderholm et al., 2015[6]).

The predictability and certainty of decisions made are also crucial for municipal planning and social cohesion. Regional governments, including municipalities, often see mining as an opportunity to foster regional development through increased employment and tax revenues as well as the development of local infrastructure and services. This, however, needs significant lead time as comprehensive plans that set out a long-term view on how land should be used need to be developed. If decisions on the use of land and water remain undefined, no development of industrial or residential areas can go ahead. Also, significant time is needed to set up programmes that allow the local workforce to be trained and upskilled and enable them to participate in newly created jobs. In municipalities that are specifically dependent on mining, uncertainty about future developments can severely hamper municipal planning processes.

Further, institutional conditions, as well as trust in regulatory agencies, can influence the perception of benefits and risks of mining in local communities (Walsh, van der Plank and Behrens, 2017[7]). In many cases, mining has caused tensions within communities affected by possible mine operations due to negative local socio-environmental impacts that are not being compensated for. Especially in Europe, public acceptance, awareness and trust in the mining industry is lower than anywhere else in the world and improved acceptance is considered crucial for future success (Zachrisson and Beland Lindahl, 2019[8]). In this context, strong public engagement and consultation mechanisms are crucial to avoid polarisation of communities and disturbance of social climate.

The number of valid exploration permits for mining as well as the granted exploitation concessions has declined since 2000 (Swedish Geological Survey, 2018[9]; 2018[10]) (Figure 4.1). The number of valid exploration permits in Sweden has gone from approximately 1 300 in 2008 to approximately 600 today. The majority of these exploration permits (359) can be found in the counties of Norrbotten and Västerbotten. In 2018, 152 exploration permits were granted and 86 extended, and 50% (76) of the granted and 80% (68) of the extended permits are to be found in Norrbotten and Västerbotten. Sweden’s large mining companies Boliden and LKAB together account for 64% of exploration efforts in the country. The majority of the 2018 exploration was made up of mining exploration, meaning exploration near an existing mine.

A rule of thumb is that around 1 in a 1 000 exploration permits lead to the opening of a mine. Out of all valid exploration permits in Sweden over the past 10 years, just 50 have been granted approval as exploitation concessions. Since 2008, the Mining Inspectorate rejected five applications for exploitation concessions and seven mines were opened (Figure 4.1). Most of the applications for exploitation concessions are extensions of older existing mines (Swedish Geological Survey, 2018[9]). Table 4.1 also demonstrates that the number of appeals seems to have become more frequent since 2007. This suggests that the concession process has become lengthier and more unpredictable. This is important as it reduces investor’s interests and can lead to the significant unclarity of potentials for regional development within regions and municipalities.

In Sweden, the application for an environmental permit is often one of the most time-consuming parts of the permitting process. This is largely dependent on the nature of the operations. Yet, the vast majority of permits in the past decade have been extensions of existing operations or restarts of previously abandoned mines. Environmental permits for temporary or time-limited increases in production in existing operations tend to have shorter lead times while cases concerning new mines tend to have longer lead times (OECD, 2019[12]).

In Sweden, the legal basis for exploration and exploitation is complex and involves a multitude of authorities and different laws and regulations in order to ensure different perspectives are considered. The different regulations and responsible authorities are applicable in parallel and summarised in Table 4.1. The key legislative framework governing mining permissions is the Minerals Act. It covers specially designated valuable mineral substances, known as concession minerals.1 The purpose of the act is to ensure the supply of important mineral sand metals. Thereby it is largely focused on assessing the economic value of a potential mine site. The Environmental Code provides an environmental assessment aiming to protect the environment and ensure a healthy and sustainable living environment for present and future generations. In addition to that, other laws can also apply (see Table 4.1).

Overall, these laws are applied in a permitting process which is made up of the following three steps before a mining operation can start (a simplified illustration of the process can be found in Box 4.1):

  • An exploration permit (undersökningstillstånd) gives access to the land and an exclusive right to explore within the permit area. It does not entitle the holder to undertake exploration work in contravention of any environmental regulations that apply to the area. Thus, no actual exploration work can be carried out without a valid plan for operations. Formal consultation is mandatory in an application for an exploitation concession. The plan for operations needs to be presented by the permit holder to the landowner or holder of special rights. It includes a detailed map, information on how objections can be made, an assessment of the damage to be expected and how the damage will be addressed, and the form and amount of security provided by the permit holder for this. The samebyar2 are considered holders of such special rights in the Minerals Act. Landowners or reindeer husbandry communities can object to the plan of operations. If the permit holder does not change the plan of operations according to the objections, the landowners or the sameby can request that the Chief Mining Inspector settle the plan. The Chief Mining Inspector can then add restrictions to the plan of operation to safeguard ongoing actives in the area, for example. The plan should also be shared with the municipality, the CAB and Sami Parliament if the area is used for reindeer heading.

  • An exploitation concession/mining permit gives the holder of the permit right to the minerals covered by the permit for up to 25 years and clarifies land use issues. However, the permit does not allow any mining operations to commence, as this requires an environmental permit. During the mining permit, the consultation process with landowners and sameby is the same. Since, 2017, consultations are required to include the general public and authorities. Consultations are announced to the public via the Mining Inspectorate, allowing for a minimum of 30 days for comments. The information given should cover the planned location for the mine; it is seized, design and form as well as expected environmental impacts. According to the Environmental Code, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) must be conducted. However, this is limited in content and focuses more explicitly on land use, whereas a larger EIA is to be conducted at a later date, as a part of the environmental permitting phase. In many cases, for instance areas of national interest for mineral resources, recreation and reindeer herding overlap. At this stage, it is the Mining Inspectorate that is responsible for taking the decision and balancing it with other interests, which are represented by the CABs as representatives of the state. The CAB often consults with municipalities and other government agencies on matters of land use. If the Mining Inspectorate and the CAB disagree, the government decides on the matter. When an application for an exploitation permit is examined, the entire scale of the mining operation is not yet known. The design of the mining plant is not final at this stage and it is thus impossible to assess the full impact of planned operations on the activities and environment outside the area covered by the exploitation permit. This is considered in the next stage, the environmental permit process.

  • The application for an environmental permit is based on a case-to-case assessment. It sets the conditions under which the mine may operate. At this stage, the final design of the mining operation is decided and the full impact on the activities and environment outside the mining plant is evaluated and regulated. A permit will define the conditions for the design, building, operation and closure of a mining installation. Such an application shall be supported by a comprehensive EIA, in which formal consultations with stakeholders will be carried out under the conditions described above. The assessment and resulting regulations are mainly based on the conditions outlined in the Environmental Code. The authority that grants environmental permits is the Land and Environmental Court (Pettersson et al., 2015[2]; Hojem, 2015[3]; OECD, 2019[12]).

Delays in the permitting process are a concern for companies and governments because they reduce project value and incentives for investment. They are often linked to insufficient staffing, imprecise timelines for governments to respond, vague guidelines for the assessment of cases or unclear specification of lead agencies (Söderholm et al., 2015[6]; SNL Metals & Mining, 2016[15]). The least frequent delays are typically found in developed mining countries, including Sweden. With regards to granting exploration concessions, Sweden was ranked 12th out of 23 in terms of being able to receive necessary permits within 6 months. This middle ground position puts Sweden ahead of several countries, inducing Australia and Finland. Overall, the study found that 36% of Swedish respondents indicated that they received their exploration permits in 2 months or less and 27% reported receiving them in 3-6 months; only 9% stated that it took 19 months or more to receive a permit. Also, 55% of responses indicated that time to permit approval had either lengthened somewhat or considerably (Stedman and Green, 2018[16]). While data on exploitation permits is not currently available, it does not seem that the overall permitting process in Sweden takes considerably longer than in other countries. Still, there are possibilities for improvement.

In the past, Sweden has increased staff in the relevant authorities to reduce delays in permitting processes (Söderholm et al., 2015[6]). Timeliness, however, is not only linked to available resources in authorities. Predictability of regulations and interpretation of legal rules also play an important role in the process. Qualitative research suggests that companies indicate frustration about additional requirements and unpredictable authority intervention that generate uncertainty and delays (Beland Lindahl et al., 2018[17]).

The aforementioned increase in appeals suggests that the Swedish legislation might offer vague assessment guidelines, which create opportunities for late appeals, which further extend timeframes. Amongst many, two cases can serve as examples in this regard:

  • First, the case of LKAB in the community of Svappavaara. The initial decision of the Environmental Court was successfully appealed by the Environmental Protection Agency on the grounds that the new operations had to be judged in conjunction with existing (refining) facilities. This resulted in a new application to be prepared and granted after 3 years (Söderholm et al., 2015[6]; Pettersson et al., 2015[2]).

  • Second, the Kallak North mine near Jokkmokk where the mining company Beowulf has been seeking an exploitation concession since 2013. The case exchanged multiple times between different government agencies because of unclarity regarding the impact on the world heritage area Laponia and unresolved Sami rights. As the Swedish Mining Inspectorate and the CAB of Norrbotten have not reached a common conclusion, the case is now with the Swedish government for decision. In February 2020, the mining company Beowulf considered suing the Swedish state for project delays and lack of information on future action (svt Nyheter, 2020[18]).3

In both cases, it was difficult for companies to anticipate the views and verdicts of government agencies, creating uncertainty about the extent of the required assessment. This is because, first, the legal text and case law provides limited guidelines on the scope of the permit application, in terms of geographical limits and the relation to existing activities in the case of environmental law for instance; second, governmental agencies do not seem to be clear on each other’s assessment criteria.

In Finland, the scope of environmental permit applications is more clearly defined, as cases are not judged on the specific location and the particular concerns of expert authorities over a particular issue, but make use of predetermined standards for certain aspects such as noise. On the upside, this adds predictability for applications, yet it can also lead to unreasonable outcomes in individual cases (Söderholm et al., 2015[6]). Overall, introducing more standardised procedures and road maps for economic impact assessments (EIAs) and permits could improve the process in terms of timeliness and predictability. This is because it would allow for addressing potential issues as well as solutions at an early stage in the process.

Other countries have decided to use predefined time limits in which decisions have to be made to improve processes. Canada, for instance, sets out roles and responsibilities for each agency together with timeline-based targets, which are published at the start of the application process. This ensures that all parties involved have a predictable time schedule. The only time periods not defined are those for submission by the mining company itself; any delays in the permitting process are more likely to be the responsibility of the mining company rather than the federal agency. This way, intermediate steps of the decision-making process are clear and all involved parties know when feedback can be provided before determinations are made. This can also avoid appeals at a later stage and make sure that public consultation with stakeholders is conducted as early as possible.

Yet, tightening processes and increasing predictability should not come at the expense of public consultation or stringent environmental assessments. It is well known that it takes a certain amount of time to establish good relations with local stakeholders to address their concerns. Further, stringent environmental regulations should not be equated with an unattractive mining investment climate. In fact, jurisdictions with some of the most stringent environmental regulations are ranked amongst the most attractive in terms of the policy environment for mining (Stedman and Green, 2018[19]).

An example of processes from Canada is outlined in Table 4.2. In order for time limits to be successful, they are likely to require increased resources as authorities have to make sure that applications are complete and make a decision of commencement of the timeline (Pettersson et al., 2015[2]). In cases where there are timelines but that are regularly extended or seldom adhered to, an alternative process would be to develop a performance indicator for government agencies that publicly reports on statutory timeframes.

Increasing effectiveness alone will not be sufficient to improve bottlenecks in the permitting process. Equally important is the local support for mining and extractive activities. One way to assure this is by designing permitting processes and regulatory frameworks that are perceived as legitimate and trustworthy by all actors, including those that might disagree with a mining venture. Research on the social licence to operate suggests that procedural fairness is a significant positive predictor of trust towards mining companies. Community members who perceive they are feeling heard, listened to and that their concerns are reflected in action show increased acceptance of mining operations (Moffat and Zhang, 2014[20]). Options to achieve this include offering strong possibilities for all local actors and other stakeholders to participate in mining policymaking and permitting and setting up more developed – and inclusive – mechanisms for dialogue and consultation.

The energy transition needed to a zero-carbon economy and increasing interest in the industry to source minerals and materials from more sustainable sources offers the potential to increase mineral exploration in Sweden. The spatial concentration of mining in Sweden can result in uneven distribution of benefits and negative externalities of mining activities. This creates significant opposition to mining if local actors do not feel they benefit from development or their voices are sufficiently taken into account in decision-making processes. Research shows that resistance to mining ventures increases when there is limited or no possibility of mining-sceptical actors to influence either policy formulation or their implementation, i.e. actual licensing processes (Zachrisson and Beland Lindahl, 2019[8]).

In Sweden, opposition to mining has increased in recent years (Zachrisson and Beland Lindahl, 2019[8]). Main concerns evolve around the socio-environmental impacts of mining on land, water and livelihoods, a demand to increased recycling as well as the demand to recognise Indigenous peoples’ rights in the licensing process. Local actors comprise a broad range of interests that are sceptical of mining. These are represented by environmental and social non-governmental organisations (NGOs) (e.g. action, environmental, outdoors and recreation organisations), Sami reindeer-herding communities, other Sami organisations, villages and community associations as well as political parties in municipality councils. While large established companies might know the context and generally have good local connections that allow them to deal with opposing parties, junior companies take greater risks in entering conflict-laden situations and are likely to be deterred from entering the region.

A key problem in the conflicts is that the institutional framework regulating permitting processes is not seen as fair or trustworthy by actors that do not share a proposed development pathway. This is because they perceive the process as dominated by national and mining actors, offering insufficient opportunities for involvement through formal channels. As a consequence, these actors seek to find ways to intervene, for instance through public protest or appeals to make their voices heard. This causes major delays, makes processes more expensive and adds to frustrations in local communities (Zachrisson and Beland Lindahl, 2019[8]; Beland Lindahl et al., 2018[17]; 2016[21]).

This means that increasing the legitimacy of the permitting process is essential for Upper Norrland to improve prospects from regional development from mining. Regional and national policymakers have a significant responsibility to clarify which rules apply, act as mediators to advance processes and foster reconciliation between groups. This section presents several tools to help enhance legitimacy, including better and enlarged consultation practices as well as neutral and highly skilled decision-makers.

Overall, the entire process offers three entry points for rights holders or interested parties for each step of the permitting process (see Box 4.1) and two entry points for the general public as part of the mining concession and environmental permitting phase. In each case, information about the project is made public by the Mining Inspectorate, which offers a minimum period of 30 days to comment and object to the provided information.

The fact that since 2017 consultations were made obligatory with regards to the entire public has resulted in a reduction of protests and improved the situation in Sweden (Zachrisson and Beland Lindahl, 2019[8]). This is partly because consultation now starts earlier: before consultation was only required in the environmental assessment, the last step of the permitting process. Further, research suggests that access to information and consultation is particularly beneficial with regards to actors that display rather moderate objections and have pragmatic viewpoints. Still, overall, actors feel like they are too few instances for entering the process and the quality of consultation is inadequate (Beland Lindahl et al., 2016[21]).

Critical points revolve around the fact that the process differentiates between special rights holders and the general public, because rights holders are given more information, have the right to appeal and are more likely to be invited to participate in consultations. Further, there are limited opportunities for regional development perspectives to be included in the decision-making. This is largely because a critical point in the process – the preparation of a statement regarding the concession application and the prioritisation of national interest – is the responsibility of the CAB. As a national representative, CABs can handle these processes at their own discretion and are only obliged to consult with the affected municipality. This can result in different boards applying different standards across places and possibly coming to different decisions. Consequently, processes of how CABs assess the situation has been perceived as uneven across territories.

Community members who perceive they are feeling heard, listened to and that their concerns are reflected in action show increased acceptance of mining operations. While not all disputes can be resolved through consultation and improved processes and there is a clear need for the government to legislate on unresolved questions regarding Sami land rights to create greater legal certainty (Länsstyrelsen i Norrbottens län och Sweco, 2016[25]), there are significant benefits to developing meaningful consultation procedures. These include the achievement of consensus through dialogue that provides a better understanding of each other’s viewpoints, incentivises the sharing of knowledge and the improvement of social relations (Beland Lindahl et al., 2016[21]). This can also help to ease a conflict-laden climate, improve decision-making and, in the end, make a region more attractive.

Engagement takes many forms – from information to consultation and, at the most involved level, co-decision-making. More structured engagement processes where there is a real impact on outcomes for those involved will help to build trust among actors. Where differences occur, an open and transparent way to manage conflict is needed, in general, the need for more rigour around how engagement is treated in the regulatory process, including with the Sami people. This is important not just for the mine-opposing groups but also for the industries pursuing development in the north for whom it is unclear with whom they should consult and how and what kind of information is taken into account.

In 2017, the OECD Council recognised the need for a culture of governance that promotes the principles of transparency, integrity, accountability and stakeholder participation in support of democracy and inclusive growth.

It recommends that adherents should:

“grant all stakeholders equal and fair opportunities to be informed and consulted and actively engage them in all phases of the policy cycle and service design and delivery. This should be done with adequate time and at minimal cost, while avoiding duplication to minimise consultation fatigue. Further, specific efforts should be dedicated to reaching out to the most relevant, vulnerable, underrepresented or marginalised groups in society, while avoiding undue influence and policy capture.” (OECD, 2017[26])

To improve the quality of consultations the national government should develop clear and consistent guidelines for the mining industry on how to conduct consultations with different (interest) groups. Specific guidelines for consultation with Sami people should be developed together with the Sami Parliament and other Sami stakeholders. The guidelines should define how the engagement process should proceed and who should be involved in the process, including parameters around what type of information is provided to parties at each step of the process. It should also make clear to what extent project proponents and the responsible authorities need to take perspectives and positions voiced into account, i.e. ensure that consultations influence the project design.

It is important to note that high levels of engagement, i.e. ensuring that public concerns and aspirations are understood, and partnering with the public in each aspect of the decision, including the development of alternatives and the identification of the preferred solution, have been assessed as being particularly important for complex and difficult problems (Hunt, 2013[27]; Head, 2007[28]). To date, this the level of element in consultation is not defined and can be particularly weak in some instances. In the exploration phase, for instance, objections provided do not need to be taken into account in the decision to grant the permit and there is limited control on the ground if the conditions outlined in the work plan are met (Kaisa, Allard and Lawrence, forthcoming[22]). Further, guidelines should include the imperative that consulting early and widely is essential. This helps companies to identify critical issues and better adapt a project proposal to the local environment and social context.

To ensure that engagement is conducted according to the guidelines and to improve on the perceived legitimacy of the process, the Swedish government should consider introducing an impartial oversight of the process through a dedicated body, agency or person. In France for instance, this role is taken by an inquiry commissioner (commissaire enquêteur) who is in charge of assuring neutrality in the consultation process that involves environmental impact assessments. The commissaire enquêteur is selected from a list of suitable candidates prepared in advance by a county commission chaired by the president of the administrative court. The administrative tribunal is a court of the first instance with jurisprudence and is independent of the general administration (Chapus, 2008[29]). Any French person who has registered as an inquiry commissioner must have no conflict of interest in order to be elected. Once elected, the commissioners tasks are to ensure that the public is properly informed, to collect comments of the citizens, to guarantee the neutrality of the process and to write a progress report and is available to the public for one year (CNCE, 2016[30]).

In Upper Norrland, this role could be incorporated into a regional platform on resource development (further described from page 31 onwards). Apart from ensuring the processes are conducted based on agreed standards and guidelines, they could also publish all currently ongoing processes and document process outcomes. This could significantly increase the possibility for the public to tackle processes and allows for external follow-ups and assessments in view of increased transparency.

In addition to guidelines, national government actors should also provide detailed information the exact methodology and the process of consultation should be pursued within the framework of the Minerals Act and Environmental Code. This should include how and when notifications should proceed and the nature of the engagement (format, etc.). With regards to the Sami, Sami representatives, government agencies and mining companies have previously agreed that corporate consultations will not be able to address the lack of recognition of Sami rights in the sectoral legislation (Länsstyrelsen i Norrbottens län och Sweco, 2016[25]). One potential best practice in this regard is the Norwegian Minerals Act (2009) which has established a formalised mechanism for the Sami Parliament to participate in environmental review processes, including those linked to the government’s strategic plans and policies, strengthening the efficacy of the Sami’s involvement in EA and promoting the legitimacy of EA processes (OECD, 2019[12]).

More generally, Canada has early engagement, upstream planning and regional planning as part of its environmental permitting processes (see also Figure 4.2), while in Sweden the stakeholders often meet in regards to individual projects, as required by law. The environmental assessment process in Canada is often used as a channel to discuss development plans and strategies. That is, instead of discussing the specific project, it provides an opportunity to discuss broader issues related to development. Such a more holistic approach to the way consultations are used in impact assessments might also be beneficial in the Swedish context, in particular in combination with aspects relating to cumulative impact assessment and regional land use planning that are dealt with below.

Public engagement takes considerable amounts of time and effort on all sides. Yet, not all actors are equipped with equal resources to engage in constructive negotiations. Creating a level playing field in relation to resources in an important aspect when designing successful processes (Länsstyrelsen i Norrbottens län och Sweco, 2016[25]). Some companies offer compensation for costs incurred (e.g. paying for peoples’ time to properly engage with them), yet there is no general rule on this.

There is also a need to strengthen the capacity of actors affected to be effective partners for engagement. This may entail financial resources alongside some greater overall institutional and analytical capacity to manage demands for consultation in the permitting process. Rules should be put in place defining requirements for companies to pay the cost occurred by affected parties, including de-linking it from the condition to agree with the project or not to appeal a decision. In terms of institutional capacity, one option is for the Sami Parliament to play a stronger co-ordinating role in distributing information to Sami villages with regards to providing contributions to consultation or conducting consultations and making agreements with mining companies. For instance, it could establish a panel of experts/lawyers that Sami villages can draw upon at no or reduced cost. It could also include establishing a register of agreements between mining and energy companies and Sami villages, and templates/guidance to support agreement making. This could help to ensure that negative as well as positive examples are made public. This can improve transparency in the process and encourage peer learning amongst communities that need to deal with similar requests.

To foster information exchange between Indigenous groups as well as between industry and Indigenous peoples, Canadian Indigenous as well as regional and national leaders have invested in a Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Minerals Development. See Box 4.3 for a detailed description.

Another important aspect to address is the need to ensure that decision-making on prioritisation of national interest does not apply different standards in different places and incorporates regional development perspectives as well as municipal ones. Currently, CABs are given higher levels of discretion in their judgments as they are not obliged to consult with municipalities. This can lead to the application of different standards in different places. To improve this, all decision-makers must have the same high skillset and technical expertise to make highly sensitive and technical decisions that require in-depth knowledge of environmental, social, economic and cultural aspects related to mining. In addition to providing decision-makers with broad and balanced information that can support their decisions, it could also be beneficial to enlarge consultations at this stage of the process. Currently, consultation only happens with municipalities yet, as the following section on land-use will describe, a regional perspective is vital to land use planning and hence, decisions made should also incorporate this perspective as well. To this end, we suggest that a regional platform should be involved in the decision made by the CABs in the mining concession phase to provide the board with a better understanding of regional land use planning objectives as well as ongoing developments and cumulative effects the endeavour might entail for the region.

In this context it should also be stated that collaboration is not linear and that information exchange between stakeholders should not end just because a specific process has ended. Instead, continuous collaboration can result from consultation processes and be beneficial to regional development objectives. This is because challenges may need to be addressed beyond the scope of a permitting process and addressing them requires the interaction of many organisations within a larger system. A best practice example for continuous co-operation between the private sector, local government and civil society is described in Box 4.4.

The two major agencies that can take decisions on mines, namely the Mining Inspectorate and the Environmental Court, operate under different objectives and permitting stages. While the Mining Inspectorate is largely focused on assessing the economic value of a potential mine site, the Environmental Court provides an environmental assessment aiming to protect the environment and assure a healthy and sustainable living environment for present and future generations. Decisions on land use are made at the concession permit stage, while other environmental aspects are considered under the environmental permit stage. This creates highly specialised but also segmented approaches to decision-making that misses important comprehensive considerations important for regional development.

The segmentation has been criticised because the legal assessment of co-existence of potential land-users is made before the impact of the whole project is assessed through an environmental permit. For instance, the Mining Inspectorate and CAB are tasked with weighing overlapping areas of national interest such as natural resources development, nature and/or Sami reindeer husbandry against each other, or investigating ways for possible co-existence despite the fact that potential environmental impact is unclear at this stage. Some researchers fear that this degrades the environmental permitting procedure to primarily setting conditions for mining activities instead of actually being taken into consideration for a concession (Hojem, 2015[35]; Lawrence and Kløcker Larsen, 2017[36]).

This regulatory separation is accompanied by the fact that limited consideration is given to economic, social and cultural aspects. Social or economic impact assessments are not required by law and the Environmental Code, which regulates an exploration concession as well as the environmental permit, provides a wide definition of “environment” (Pettersson et al., 2015[2]; Kokko et al., 2015[37]). This definition only marginally includes socio-economic as well as cultural elements. According to the Environmental Code, for instance, impact description shall include: “people, animals, plants, land, water, air, the climate, the landscape and the cultural environment, on the management of land, water and the physical environment in general, and other management of materials, raw materials and energy. Another purpose is to enable an overall assessment to be made of this impact on human health and the environment” (Government of Sweden, 2000, pp. 31, Ch. 6[38]). The same language is used in the guidance document from the Environmental Protection Agency for government agencies and consultants engaging in environmental impact assessments (Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, 2017[39]).

This use of language implies a focus on the biophysical aspects of the environment. This leaves significant room for interpretation and does not support the investigation of social and economic aspects beyond the physical dimension such as noise, vibrations and other pollutions that might impact physical health (Svensson, 2011[40]). Yet, other aspects such as changes to community values and/or the way the community functions, impacts on culture, history and ability to access cultural resources as well as changes to livelihoods, for example whether peoples’ jobs, properties or businesses are affected, should be equally considered to provide all-encompassing evaluations.

Similarly, cumulative impacts affecting regional population and economies are also only seldom used in decision-making for mining permits. Cumulative impacts are continuous, incremental and pooled impacts on society, the economy or the environment caused by a variety of activities in the past, present and future. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency defines cumulative effects as either additive, which means that each effect can be added to a result (1+1 = 2), synergistic, which means that the effect of more than one activity is greater than the sum of the effects of each individual activity (1+1 > 2) and counteractive, which means that the effect of more than one activity is less than the sum of the effects of each individual activity (1+1 < 2) (Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, 2010[41]). Despite an existing definition, environmental assessment guidelines and legislation only vaguely demand assessment of cumulative impacts and hardly provide guidance on how to approach the aspect. The Environmental Protection Agency itself has made the observation that current policy tools are inadequate and called for improved mapping of multiple land claims and more comprehensive landscape planning (Larsen et al., 2017[23]). Further, there seems to be significant uncertainty amongst proponents, consultants, reviewers and government officials about what is meant by cumulative effects, how to include them and where to seek information (Wärnbäck and Hilding-Rydevik, 2009[42]).

The separate assessment of land use and environmental impacts, as well as lacking incorporation of socio-economic and cumulative aspects, can leave decisions contested and increase uncertainty for all stakeholders. Developing a stronger, more balanced evidence base to underpin decisions could be a tool to better define upsides and downsides of a potential mine site. This would require the development of a clear and comprehensive definition of socio-economic and cultural impacts in relation to the Environmental Code. Further, concrete guidelines on processes to follow for their assessments would need to be developed targeting decision-makers as well as project proponents. Examples of how other countries have advanced in this process can be found below.

In order to assess cumulative impacts properly, Canadian research suggests that a framework should be built around the following five aspects:

  • “Multi-dimensional: covers the full suite of cumulative effects of multiple undertakings, past, present and reasonably foreseeable in the relevant regional future (well beyond the individual project level), in light of contribution to sustainability objectives;

  • Long term: uses scenarios or some equivalent to explore and illuminate the nature and potential implications of plausible and desirable futures, to identify alternative pathways and plan options to examine;

  • Credible: establishes explicit open processes for elaborating and evaluating regional alternatives and justifying decisions in light of context-specified sustainability-based criteria and trade-off rules;

  • Authoritative: integrates regional assessment conclusions as decisions in legislatively authoritative regional plans or the equivalent with provisions for ensuring compliance in project-level planning and assessment; and

  • Accountable: ensures clear and accountable assignment of cumulative effects management responsibilities and expectations, including provisions for engaged monitoring, effective responses and public reporting”. (Atlin and Gibson, 2017[43])

When developing the guidelines and assessment processes for cumulative impacts the combined results of past, current and future activities across the landscapes on Sami reindeer herders also need to be considered. There are roughly 3 900 reindeer herders in Sweden. While there are growth opportunities for this industry, it is also limited by such factors as reindeer predators, climate change and competing land uses. Especially, industrialisation and the cumulative effects of forestry, wind and hydropower, mining and infrastructure development have resulted in an extensive reduction of the availability of winter grazing land (lichen-abundant forest) and access to migratory paths for reindeer (Buchanan, Reed and Lidestav, 2016[44]).

To support decision-making with regards to cumulative effects, measures to account for cumulative impacts on reindeer herding should be developed. A way to achieve this would be to consider the annual reporting on the state of the reindeer-herding sector (total herd size, rate of slaughter, amount of feed, etc.) that is prepared by the Sami Parliament in decision-making for cumulative effects under the Environmental Code and the Minerals Act. Further additional reporting on aspects like grazing lands and migrating routes should be included. Existing Reindeer Husbandry Plans (Renbruksplaner, RBP) could be a tool to monitor and capture cumulative effects these plans are conducted with the help a database call RenGis. RenGis is a specially developed data programme designed for the collection of land use information reported by reindeer-herding communities. The data shows how the land is being used and when, for instance through GPS collars that reindeers wear. Currently, the Sami Parliament is working on a new geographic information system (GIS) platform so that all RenGis data can be centrally and securely stored. In this portal, each community can decide which data to share publicly and which shall remain undisclosed. In the future, the Sami Parliament, being granted access to the data form communities, could provide better and more accurate documentation when asked for advice from other government agencies in land use and permitting decisions. It would be advisable to consequently use this new database as well as already available RBPs for decision-making on land use in permitting processes, not only those related to Sami villages.

Further, guidelines on the assessment of cumulative impacts as well as social and cultural effects of mining on traditional Sami livelihood should be co-developed with Sami representative bodies and with respect to traditional Sami knowledge on land use. Further, the concept of community-based impact assessments that allows Sami villages to conduct an impact assessment on their own terms can provide an alternative to proponent-driven impact assessments and should be considered in developing clearer definitions.

There are several examples from across OECD countries that have already developed this measure, as there is an increasing consensus for the need to integrate several issues when performing impact assessment. Some countries require social impact assessments (SIAs) coupled with EIAs, while others have decided to create overarching impact categories that include all aspects. Box 4.5 provides an example from Australia where the state of Queensland has developed separate but very detailed descriptions of what needs to be provided in an economic and social impact assessment. In Canada, the government has proposed changes in 2019 to further improve its environmental review process. The key objective is to create greater transparency and certainty in decision-making, including through changing the previous environmental assessment to impact assessment that includes environmental, health, social and economic impacts. For instance, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency became the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada responsible for leading all assessments. This shall also reduce red tape and enable better co-ordination amongst jurisdictions. The new system also requires an assessment of the impacts of a project on Indigenous peoples and their rights and includes a cumulative effects assessment. Regional assessments would be undertaken to guide the planning and management of cumulative effects. This helps to better understand the “big picture” to guide regional planning processes (see Figure 4.2).

This being said, it has to be noted that measures suggested will not be sufficient to address more substantive regulatory gaps in the system revolving around the separation of the process in which decisions on mining concessions are made without concrete knowledge of the environmental impact and that this decision cannot be adjusted afterwards. A revision of this setup could be envisioned to further streamline the process, into one permitting process for instance. One option to be considered is reducing the fragmentation of the process, not only to reduce complexity for all involved parties but also to fundamentally strengthen a more comprehensive approach to impact assessment including cumulative aspects that are an essential part of considering regional development objectives and outcomes. This would mean reducing the permits to two, one for the scoping phase and one for opening a mine, and include a fundamental shift in the approach to the process from mitigating adverse effects to build consensus on actions that facilitate sustainable growth. This shift requires the development of fundamental links to a strong regional planning framework. Recommendations on how to improve regional planning are made throughout this report in Chapter 3 as well as the next section of this chapter.

Spatial and land use and special planning is closely connected to much broader agendas such as the transition to a low carbon economy and creating opportunities for economic growth and prosperity. Defining how spaces are used also determines if objectives such as producing renewable energy, providing affordable housing, producing goods and services or sustaining biodiversity can be reached. It is therefore linked to policy ambitions at multiple scales, extending across sectoral issues and involving an ever-wider array of actors in structures of governance (OECD, 2017[49]).

Landscapes in Upper Norrland are characterised by multifunctionality and need to be governed in a way that reflects the heterogeneous range of land use values (Solbär, Marcianó and Pettersson, 2019[50]). Spatial planning provides long-term frameworks to outline land uses and infrastructure connections. Fostering the growth of the mining industry may require new transport and communications linkages and the protection of environmental assets and amenities. This can also impact the capacity to develop areas for tourism and recreation. Hence, special panning also needs to reflect regional development goals and vice versa.

The analysis in Chapter 2 has shown that Norrbotten and Västerbotten seem to face challenges in terms of land availability for construction of housing. Especially in Norrbotten, many municipalities face challenges in developing new housing projects and increasing the housing stock. Between 2000 and 2012, the dwelling stock in Norrbotten experienced a decreased of 3%. At the same time, economic development strategies for both counties include enhancing the attractiveness and supporting innovation and entrepreneurship to advance the sustainable development agenda (Chapter 3). If the counties are to incentivise business creation and counteract their population decline in rural areas, these policy goals also need to be reflected in the designation of land for these purposes.

This section investigates how to better link regional development with land use planning in Upper Norrland. It assesses recent sub-national governance reforms of economic development and highlights the fact that economic change, like expansion or introduction of extractive industries, generates new land use and infrastructure requirements that need to be accounted for in land use planning.

In Sweden, the sub-national governance level is made up of two levels: counties and municipalities. Both act as self-governing entities under the central government, which means that municipalities are not subordinate to countries. Historically, the main task of Swedish county councils was healthcare provision. Municipalities are responsible for education and elderly care as well as land use planning. In addition, CABs are also present in counties, as national government agencies tasked with ensuring the co-ordination of national policies. They play a key role in facilitating co-ordination between municipalities and counties and across different policy domains. Co-ordination also tends to be organised in a sectoral way with limited the capacity for co-ordination across different policy areas (OECD, 2017[51]; 2017[52]).

Over the last decade, Sweden has shifted towards an approach to regional policy in which county councils are taking the lead in regional development including in regional growth policy, transport and infrastructure. This change was made to address challenges of policy co-ordination at the county level and amongst levels of government. This means that responsibilities previously held by CABs were shifted to counties (see Table 4.3) for an overview of the governance arrangements) (OECD, 2017[51]).

In the counties of Västerbotten and Norrbotten, two slightly different systems exist as a result of this change. Västerbotten has a Regional Development Council (Region Västerbotten), established by the county council and the county’s 15 municipalities in 2008. The political representatives of the county and the municipalities indirectly elect members of the Regional Development Council. The role of the council includes formulating the region’s development strategy and co-ordinating its implementation, ensuring the alignment of efforts with national policies, and monitoring and reporting on results. In Norrbotten, since 2017, the county council (directly elected) is taking the lead on regional development and has become Region Norrbotten (see Table 4.3 for an overview of the governance arrangements). When county councils take on the responsibilities of regional development, they are allowed to rename themselves as a region (OECD, 2017[51]; 2019[12]).

The reform has enabled the counties of Västerbotten and Norrbotten to develop a collective view about their development futures. Yet, these priorities and visions are not always reflected or considered in how land is planned, as responsibilities for competencies related to economic development and land use sit with different government bodies. Moreover, the regional development programme offers an umbrella structure but tends to lack the physical planning perspective. Previous OECD reports have already pointed to the fact that the Swedish system lacks a clear framework or incentives to facilitate the development of strategic spatial plans at a regional scale (OECD, 2018[53]; 2017[51]). In order to deliver on its regional development objectives, there is a need to better link regional development with land use and environmental planning.

In Sweden, municipalities have three main responsibilities related to land use. They are responsible for local planning through plans, for the provision of housing through public housing companies, and they provide the technical infrastructure required to develop the land, such as roads and water and sewage disposal networks. In cases where municipalities own land, this gives them the opportunity to directly choose how they want to use it or if they want to sell it for development. Municipalities are required to develop comprehensive plans and detailed plans. The comprehensive plan sets the strategic framework for the detailed development plan, which is a legally binding instrument setting out rights and obligations regarding the use of land. Comprehensive plans cover the entire territory of a municipality and form the basis of decisions on the use of land and water areas. Since April 2020, amendments have been made which furthers the comprehensive plan as a tool for visionary and strategic decisions that co-ordinate superior national and regional goals, programmes and strategies (Swedish Government, 2020[54]). There is now a set time limit for when the comprehensive plan is considered to be current and up to date and municipal councils need to make a “planning strategy” for each term, which includes a revision of the plan. The comprehensive plan-making is supervised by the national government through the CABs. CABs check the compliance of comprehensive plans with national guidelines (such as areas of national interests). The statement of the CAB forms a compulsory planning document within the comprehensive plan (OECD, 2017[49]). The main formal co-ordination mechanisms between levels of government and other relevant actors and stakeholders are mandatory consultations that occur in the plan-making process and before granting building permits. In practice, consultations are channelled through the CABs, which play a co-ordinating role (OECD, 2017[55]).

This system has been described as imbalanced between actors, top-down and disincentivising active land use planning because local planners are often unclear which national interests will be judged as prevalent or possible in co-existence by the CAB. The vagueness of the provisions in the Environmental Code (also discussed in the previous section) tend to causes planners to delegate the decision to space-specific authorisation procedures and discourages planning based on potentials and opportunities, often leaving the wider countryside “unplanned” (Solbär, Marcianó and Pettersson, 2019[50]).

In Kiruna, for instance, the entire city needs to relocate due to mine expansion underground. This has triggered an urban transformation process of unprecedented scale and has created the need for in-depth land allocation and planning processes. Despite the fact that the municipal area is quite large, 20 551 km2 in total, the city is lacking land for the development of industry and settlements. This has two reasons. First, the city owns less than 1% of municipal land and has thus limited leeway for investments. Second, large parts of the city are overlaid by areas of national interest (see also Figure 4.3). This means that planning for housing space, sewage facility locations, transport routes and development of alternative industries for instance, almost always encounters areas of national interest. While the designation as areas of national interest does not prevent development per se, it does limit local planning flexibility and often forces decision-making on a case-by-case basis. This is because areas of national interest are governed and managed by specific national governmental agencies or national boards. Consequently, local government cannot actually plan for the management of these types of land use as they require national decision-making (Bjärstig et al., 2017[56]).

In order to realise the benefits of spatial planning, Norrbotten and Västerbotten need to create an effective policy framework that allows for strategic dialogue about land use between municipalities, counties and CABs. This is also important because the boundaries of administrative areas such as municipalities do not necessarily relate to the functional and economic flows across the land. Changes in demand for the use of land do not start and stop at administrative boundaries. Mineral deposits, reindeer herding as well as transport systems, stretch across various governmental and geographical boundaries. Hence planning for related polices may not sit well with spatial plans for growth at the municipal level. Movement of people and goods and flows of services are increasingly difficult to handle through investment decisions and strategies that are bounded within a local planning framework (OECD, 2017[49]).

So far, the new Planning and Building Act from 2 May 2011 includes provisions to better link municipal comprehensive plans with regional development programmes but its binding power remains limited in practice (OECD, 2018[53]). Developing strategic spatial plans at a regional scale can help to better account for interrelationships at a functional or regional scale. Developing these plans can increase co-operation between sub-national government entities and, consequently, align land use planning and regional development economic development programmes. It can also help balance municipal and regional with national interests and encourage more forward-looking planning, allocating a competency to the body responsible for regional development to produce a regional spatial plan and ensure it is integrated with planning for future natural resource use and Sami land use. Box 4.6 provides an example of such a land use mechanism that is used in the region of Skåne.

A regional special plan can also help to improve decision-making with regards to extractions for commodity production and conservation of social and biological assessments. This is because plans at the county level could offer a holistic description of how land is currently used and what is planned for the future. This way, regional plans can help to account for cumulative impacts. The land use needs of Sami communities should be considered within land use planning. The scale of these plans should be at the country level as each county has developed individual regional economic development plans. Yet, considering potentially shared goals for economic development between countries and the fact that there might be interrelationships stretching across counties, enlarging the collaboration to Norrbotten and Västerbotten could be considered. Further, offering strategic dialogue opportunities with the national level is equally important, especially with regards to the development of a new national mining strategy (see Chapter 3). Involving the CABs and other national-level bodies, through a conference on spatial planning for instance, can provide a broader vision and guidelines to all constituencies. An example of such a process from Austria can be found in Box 4.7.

Developing a unified view on a sustainable future of mining development as described in Chapter 3 also needs regional planning for implementation. As discussed above, there is a need to better reflect the county perspective in the regulatory framework, especially when aiming to better account for cumulative effects. A prerequisite for this is to have a county understanding of three things: i) objectives defined through regional development strategies; ii) an agreed special plan on the county level that incorporates implications for developments across municipal borders and allows making use of policy complementarities and synergies; and iii) information and data about existing, currently planned and possible future projects at country scale. In the current system, much of this information is available but dispersed across institutions and drawn upon only in individual instances but not in a structured process. This hampers the execution of integrated, regional mine development that lives up to the highest standards of sustainability and legitimacy.

In addition, the complex system and large number of responsible authorities and regulations applicable for a mining permit in Sweden can make it challenging for companies to find the right contact point when they are seeking information and guidance on the process. While the Geological Survey of Sweden provides services in relation to parties involved in mining activities, including all geological data, taking care of prospecting and making them publicly available, assisting with information and guidance in the application process, it does not give advice on all aspects and can merely provide referrals. In contrast, in the application process itself, the CAB often plays an important role in terms of co-ordination between stakeholders, because it represents the national government on the ground, conducts inspections and manages engagement processes, and acts as a supervising authority (Nike et al., 2019[58]). This happens even though it needs to make recommendations on developments.

To improve interactions between proponents and government agencies as well as systematically address the link between regional developments and permit applications, a regional platform for resource development in Upper Norrland or each county could be set up. The platform would oversee all mining (and possibly other infrastructure and energy) applications and could not only help to reduce frictions amongst multiple reviews and entities involved but also help to better link development across the counties and possibly beyond. While applications could still be assessed on a case-to-case basis considering local circumstances, these would be embedded in knowledge about other plans or ongoing developments in the two counties. The platform would encompass two essential tasks:

  • First, the agency could function as a contact point for all stakeholders, including proponents for mining project and landowners, rights holders and the general public including mining companies, for questions on the permitting process as well as for consultation. Other counties specialised in mining increasingly opt for solutions that offer digitally supported interfaces to streamline processes (see Box 4.8). The body could be used to move the oversight of the corporate consultation processes as a “neutral” body. Currently, consultation processes are largely left under the responsibility of companies that have received limited guidance on how to proceed. Further, opportunities for publishing all ongoing consultation processes as well as outcomes could improve transparency and allow for follow-ups and assessments.

  • Second, the agency could collect and publish information on all ongoing developments in the territory, keeping track of potential cumulative impacts that need to be taken into account in impact assessments and provide the CAB with guidance on decisions made on land use about areas of national interest. Having oversight about all ongoing projects would enable decision-making to become more coherent and all-encompassing. For instance, as cumulative impacts of developments are easily overlooked (see also section on cumulative impacts), they would become detectable and ad-hoc and informal co-ordination across actors could be replaced by formal governance arrangements. This could also enable the two counties to consider policy complementarities and synergies between projects from different industries. The expansion of the mining industry could, for instance, increase the demand on infrastructure such as railways and roads that pass through large territories. Previous capacity expansions have been reported to only cover 60% of the needs and additional expansion required in the future (SveMin, 2012[4]). The platform could consider these needs and impacts in accordance with other impacts of different actions and the intended policy outcome, and feed them into regional development and land use planning processes. An online data portal could support the work by including a list and/or map showing in which areas permitting processes are ongoing and what types of land use are being considered. Considering drawing on the land use mapping data tool currently under development by the Sami Parliament and Sami villages is highly recommended.

Institutionally, the platform could be linked to the national government but should be run at country scale by country actors and municipal representatives. It should be developed in partnership with local and regional authorities, academia as well as all affected actors including the Sami, to assure legitimacy when taken to use. In collecting information about ongoing projects, it should link to information available from national websites such as the Mining for Generations – Mining by Sweden.

Following a successful introduction of the platform at county scale, expansion to the entire Norrland region would also be possible. This would have to be assessed based on the need for further cross-country collaboration with regards to achieving mutual economic development objectives, accounting for cumulative effects as well as realising policy complementarities, for instance with regards to infrastructure development.


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← 1. Antimony, arsenic, beryllium, lead, caesium, gold, iridium, iron occurring in the bedrock, cobalt, copper, chrome, mercury, lanthanum and lanthanides, lithium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, niobium, osmium, palladium, platinum, rodium, rubidium, ruthenium, silver, scandium, strontium, tantalum, tin, titanium, thorium, vanadium, bismuth, tungsten, yttrium, zinc, zirconium, andalusite, apatite, brucite, fluorite, graphite, kyanite, ceramic or refractory clays, magnesite, pyrites, nepheline syenite, sillimanite, pit coal, rock salt or other salt occurring in a similar way, iron pyrites, heavy spar, wollastonite, oil, gaseous hydrocarbons and diamond.

← 2. The term sameby (or samebyar for plural) which translates to Sami village or Sami reindeer herding community is used throughout this report to describe the economic and administrative association created to organise reindeer husbandry within its geographic area. The Swedish terminology is preferred here since the English translation inaccurately connotes that members of the sameby live in proximity to one another.

← 3. Please not that this is a shortened and simplified summary of the case, used for the illustration of one particular the challenge in the regulatory framework.

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