MB4: Contributions through responsible mining to biodiversity conservation in the Arctic

Date: Tuesday October 9, 2018

Location: Kero, Lappia Hall

Time: 13:00-14:30

The mining sector has historically been attributed with the degradation, decline and loss of species, habitats and ecosystems, reducing the ability of our environment to provide humankind with the resources and services it relies upon. In response to this the mining sector has started to realise its responsibility to contribute to biodiversity conservation and the protection of natural resources. Within the arctic region, where biodiversity is under pressure from climate change, landuse change and increased potential development and where local, Indigenous and First National Peoples are dependent on healthy functional ecosystems, mining needs to ensure a no harm or net positive approach. This session of three presentations and a brainstorming session demonstrates how, through cross sectoral partnership and responsible practices, biodiversity can be mainstreamed into exploration, planning, design and project implementation. We will address the potential impacts and dependencies of local stakeholders and mining operators on the natural environment and will present case studies demonstrating best practices examples of: the application of net positive approach to biodiversity management; the application of the mitigation hierarchy towards no harm or positive outcomes for biodiversity; working with local stakeholders to ensure collaborative approaches to managing natural resources and livelihoods.


Chair: Warwick Mostert, Anglo American

Format: Series of presentations followed by discussion and brainstorming session


  1. How companies can come to the table in terms of biodiversity management: Warwick Mostert, Anglo American pdf
  2. Critical questions in biodiversity offsets for peatland and forests: a case study from the AA Sakatti mine project: Atte Moilanena and Janne Kotiaho, Moilanen & Kotiahopdf
  3. Collaborative monitoring – Traditional Knowledge and scientific study: Alex Hood, De Beers, Canada pdf
  4. Monitoring environmental effects of mine discharges in the Arctic: Heikki Mykrä, Finnish Environment Institute, Freshwater Centre pdf
  5. Future needs and ideas on how to mainstream biodiversity at a wider scale - A participatory brainstorming session taking on the lessons learnt from the three presentations: Warwick Mostert, Anglo American pdf
  6. Brainstorming session: moderated by Warwick Mostert



 How companies can come to the table in terms of biodiversity management

Warwick Mostert, Anglo American

Anglo American biodiversity policy and commitments. Examples of how biodiversity is addressed in mining, through Anglo and De Beers examples.


Critical questions in biodiversity offsets for peatland and forests: a case study from the AA Sakatti mine project

Atte Moilanen & Janne Kotiaho, Moilanen & Kotiaho

Public private partnerships, developing strategic interventions to deliver best practice integrated approaches to biodiversity management during the life cycle of a mine development – a case study from the Sakatti Cu-Ni-PGE project in northern Finland. This presentation discusses how biodiversity aspects can be brought into mine project design already from the exploration stage, and kept as a central theme throughout mine planning in order to aim for no-net-loss of biodiversity. Based on a recently published analysis about the twelve operationally important decisions of offsetting, this presentation examines the main characteristics of peatland and forests from the perspective of offsetting. With peatlands, habitat restoration is a feasible way to deliver environmental gains. Restoration takes several decades and gains are fastest for generalist peatland species and carbon sequestration, and slowest for specialist peatland species. With forest, protection (avoided loss) and passive restoration can deliver gains, but again only with a significant time delay. In contrast to peatlands, leakage of pressures is a major question, which reduces net gains achieved. Overall, ecological impact avoidance especially for old-growth forest and pristine peatland are key to ecologically responsibe design. Due to partial offset gains, time delays, uncertainty, leakage, etc., area needed for offsetting will be many times larger than net area lost.


Collaborative monitoring – Traditional Knowledge and scientific study

Alex Hood, De Beers, Canada

De Beer’s Gahcho Kue Diamond Mine is located on lands claimed as traditional territory by six different Indigenous Parties in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The company and the indigenous communities have formed an innovative Environmental Monitoring Agreement, called Ni Hadi Xa, whereby the Indigenous Parties work cooperatively with De Beers to monitor and manage the environmental performance of the mine.


Monitoring environmental effects of mine discharges in the Arctic

Heikki Mykrä, Finnish Environment Institute, Freshwater Centre; Satu Maaria Karjalainen, Finnish Environment Institute; Minna Kuoppala, Finnish Environment Institute

Mining projects are changing landscapes in the Arctic and there is an increasing pressure for exploitation of the mineral deposits of the region. Increasing global demand for minerals and metals creates opportunities for economy and employment; however, exploitation of these resources has often unexpected environmental impacts and undesirable consequences on biodiversity. Negative influences of mine discharges and contaminants on the biodiversity and functioning of aquatic communities are well-known. However, it has been shown that streams draining through catchments dominated by geological anomalies typically harbor distinct biological communities, suggesting that locally derived chemical and biological baselines are needed for assessing the effects of human activities in these areas. Therefore, it would be important to understand the basic mechanisms regulating biological communities in areas with a strong geological influence arising from mineral deposits. An ongoing research project “The evaluation and management project of the cumulative environmental effects of the mining cluster in Lapland” aims to evaluate the environmental impacts of mining on aquatic ecosystems in Northern Finland. In this presentation, we show the first findings of the combined influence of catchment geological characteristics and mine discharge on biological communities of streams in Northern Finland. The ultimate goal of our research project is to promote sustainable use of natural resources and conservation of biodiversity in the Arctic region.




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