The Finnish Government has determined that the best way to mitigate the risks related to Talvivaara is to begin preparing for the controlled shut-down of the state-owned, cash-strapped nickel mine in Sotkamo, Olli Rehn, the Minister of Economic Affairs, revealed in a press conference on Wednesday.
The preparations will be made during the course of a transitional period that will end by year-end, according to a press release from the Finnish Government.
The mining activities, meanwhile, will continue in order to guarantee environmental safety and prepare for the possibility that the nickel mine can continue in commercial operation also after the transitional period. “It will only be possible to ramp up and continue the mining operation in the long term, if private funding is found during the transitional period,” a government spokesperson says in the press release.
Rehn emphasised repeatedly that the decision was difficult but also admitted that the mining operation, even if successful, would gamble taxpayers’ money on nickel prices, which is not in line with the principles of responsible governance.
He estimated that the net costs arising from the shut-down will amount to roughly 300 million euros. The mining operation currently costs its state-owned owner, Terrafame Group, an estimated 24 million euros a month.
Rehn also revealed that the Ministerial Finance Committee has approved a proposal to set aside an additional 144 million euros in the second supplementary budget of the year to enable Terrafame to continue its operations for the duration of the transitional period. The decision would allow the state-owned company to use the cash injection to fund its future operations, if the private funding necessary to secure the future of the mine is found by the end of the year.