Sweden’s Land and Environment Court of Appeal is currently considering applications by Nordkalk and SMA Mineral to quarry limestone in the Ojnare forest on Gotland. Therefore, Monday’s announcement by Green Environment Minister Åsa Larsson, to turn the forest into a ‘Natura 2000’ protected area is quite remarkable, says Per Ahl, MD of the Swedish Association of Mines, Mineral and Metal Producers (Sve Min).
Not only will the government ruling be decisive to the outcome of the case, it will create legal uncertainty. If Natura 2000 can be used as a tool to stop new industry, then it is not just the mineral industry that has cause for alarm. In the past PM Stefan Löfven has spoken of his intention to develop a re-industrialisation strategy for Sweden – what has become of that following Monday’s decision, wonders Ahl.