Boliden’s director foresees new sustainability stamp for metals and minerals

Peter Bergman, Executive Director of the Boliden mine in Kevitsa, started in his new position in August 2017. Before that, he had worked for 18 years in numerous positions at Boliden.

Since arriving to Kevitsa, Bergman has dedicated a lot of his time to building a common structure that would comply with the rest of the company’s activities.

Kevitsa produces concen­trate containing nickel, copper, gold, platinum, palladium, and cobalt, whereof 40% of the revenues comes from copper and 40% from nickel. Both of these commodities are facing growing demand due to the energy transition and the increasing need for stainless steel in construction. In the long term, Kevitsa is planning to expand its production to lower its operational costs.

According to Bergman, the Talvivaara crisis has left a clear mark to the entire mining industry in Finland. For instance, the local center for economic development, transport and the environment (“ELY-keskus” in Finnish) visits the mining site at least six times per year, whereas the corresponding frequency for annual monitoring in Sweden is one or two times, not more.

Relations with the local community are based on mutual trust. Bergman tells that the company has tried to cooperate as much as possible with the local village and reindeer herders’ association situated in the vicinity of the mine.

The estimated life span of Kevitsa ends in 2032. However, this may be prolonged in case new deposits are found in the current location of the mine.

Bergman does not reject the idea of setting up a specific fund for the closure of mining operations, as long as it does not become a new tax to the mining industry.  However, the concept should be a win-win operation for both parties in order to be applicable in the mining sector, he stresses.

As to future developments, Bergman is convinced that eventually a sustainability stamp will be introduced to metals and minerals produced in Europe. The first decisions have already been taken in this direction: the Finnish and Swedish ministers for economic affairs decided to launch the preparation of a common sustainability certificate for minerals at their meeting in Brussels in March.

According to Bergman, the work of the Finnish Network for Sustainable Mining can be crucial to reach these objectives. Boliden has already pledged to incorporate the network’s sustainability standard for mining to the daily work at Kevitsa. Many of its protocols – including stakeholder cooperation, biodiversity protection, water management, safety and health, and the closure of operations – are already part of Boliden’s general approach to mining, whereby they should be easily implemented in practice.

Photo: Peter Bergman has been the Executive Director of the Boliden mine in Kevitsa since August 2017.