Norway has more than 1190 fjords. They are fundamental to life in Norway.
Not only do they provide sanctuaries for a wide range of species, they also enable sustainable food production and local jobs.
For now, that is.
In April 2015, the Norwegian government gave its final permission for a open-pit mine in a mountain called Engebø. The mine will dump more than 250 million tonnes of chemicals and waste in the pristine Førde fjord.
For 3 weeks in Feburary 2016, more than a 100 peaceful protesters blocked the trial drillings of the mining company. The company has announced that they will file a multi-million lawsuit against the peaceful protesters. Join us and tell Nordic Mining to drop the lawsuit.
Continue reading, or take action and help secure the future of our fjords.
The fjord we're talking about is called Førde fjord. It's located on the west coast of Norway, next to a mountain called Engebø and a village called Vevring. This is the view from the top of the mountain, which could end up like a open-pit mine.
The small village underneath the Engebø mountain is called Vevring. We talked to people in Vevring and the areas around about why they want to keep the Førde fjord clean from mining waste. Here are some of their thoughts.
Help support this local community and take action to save the Førde fjord.
On February 1st 2016, local people and environmental activists began a peaceful blockade by the Engebø mountain to stop the test drilling initiated by the mining company.
The next day, 14 people were arrested by the police.
The following days more people continued to climb the mountain, to physically stop the drilling.
In total, more than 80 people was arrested by the police during the protests.
These peaceful protesters was fined with more than 800 000 Norwegian kroner. Fines they are prepared to cover themselves.
The protests ended on February 21st. In all, they lasted for 21 days straight, making them the biggest civil disobedience actions in newer Norwegian history.
Still, the fight for clean fjords is not over. Join and take action for the future of our fjords.
Following the nonviolent direct actions the mining company has announced that they will file a multi-million lawsuit against the peaceful protesters. Join us and tell Nordic Mining to drop the lawsuit.
Here are some of the most important facts about this issue.
Nordic Mining, the company that wants to extract the mineral, is planning for a open-pit mine which will run for 15 years. Open-pit mining as a method is known to have large, negative consequences on the environment. Nordic Mining's project is no exception.
Due to the open-pit mine, the project will generate massive amounts of waste. The tailing waste from the project is assessed to be more than 250 million tonnes over 50 years. That’s the equivalent of one truckload of waste into the fjord, every minute, for 50 years.
The Førde fjord is a national salmon fjord, which means that the fjord is very important for the endangered wild salmon. The fjord also has important spawning grounds for a number of species such as coastal cod, halibut and herring. In the fjord, there is also endangered deep-water fish such as redfish, blue ling and dogfish. Their breeding grounds are located where the waste will be dumped.
There's only five countries in the world that have submarine tailing disposals. In addition to Norway they exist in Indonesia, Turkey, Papua New Guinea and Chile. But even on this list, Norway is on the bottom. Norway have 50 per cent of the worlds submarine tailing disposals sites, and if the dumping of mining waste in Førde fjord and Reppar fjord goes ahead, that number will increase to 75 per cent.
Opinion polls in Norway have shown that there is great public opposition against using fjords as dumping sites for mining waste. A national opinion poll carried out in 2011 showed that 77 percent said no to letting mining companies dump their waste in Norwegian fjords. In a local opinion poll from 2014, 61 percent in the nearby municipalities was against the Engebø mining project.
A deposit of the mineral eclogite is discovered for the first time in the Engebø mountain.
Plans for mining for eclogite. Trial drilling initiated, but no production starts. Concentration of the mineral rutile documented.
Investment plans released
Conoco Norway (owned by DuPont) releases investmentsplans for a mine, with additional infrastructure in the area. Promises 300 new jobs. Trial drilling, but no production. Conoco Norway and DuPont splits up.
Conoco Norway secures rights for parts of the Engebø mountain.
Conoco Norway scraps plans for any future mining operations.
Engebø mountain regulated
The municipality of Naustdal regulates Engebø mountain for mineral extraction.
New player on the field. Nordic Mining buys the rights to the Engebø mountain from Conoco Norway. The county approves of the transfer.
Nordic Mining applies for concession for mineral extraction in the Engebø mountain, with the Førde fjord as a waste disposal for the mining waste.
Sea disposal discouraged
The Marine Research Institute strongly discourages the use of the Førde fjord as a dumping site for the mining waste, because of the rich ecosystem in the fjord.
The Directorate of Fisheries Region West delivers a formal objection to the zoning and regulation plan of the municipalities of Naustdal and Askevoll. The Marine Research Institute delivers its second scientific disapproval of using the fjord as a waste dump.
Mediating and zoning approval
Mediating between the Directorate of Fisheries Region West and the municipalities of Naustdal and Askevoll. This leads nowhere. The municipality of Naustdal approves the zoning plan, 17 to 4 in favor. The municipality of Askevoll approves the zoning plan, 14 to 9 in favor. The County Governor recommends the zoning plans from the local municipalities.
The Environmental Directorate recommends additional environmental documentation before the project can be approved by the authorities.
Ministry postpones decision
The Ministry of Climate and Environment decides to postpone the final decision, as the effects on the environment is not documented good enough.
Directorate says no
Based on a their new assessment of the environmental impacts of the project, the Environmental Directorate recommends the Ministry not to approve the project as the environmental consequences of the mining project would be severe.
Government says yes
The Environmental Directorate changes their recommendation, after the Ministry asks them to assess the commercial benefits of the project. In april the government approves Nordic Minings applications. A range of organizations appeals the decision to the European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority.
Trial drilling and protests
Before the formal appeals to the governments decision have been decided upon, Nordic Mining decides to initiate trial drillings for two months on top of Engebø mountain. Their activities are blocked by protestors.
Join more than 2,000 people and commit to be a part of future nonviolent, direct actions to save the Norwegian fjords.Sign up
Following the nonviolent direct actions in February, the mining company has announced that they will file a multi-million lawsuit against the peaceful protesters.Tell Nordic Mining to drop lawsuit
Donate money towards the protests, either to help cover the cost of food, shelter and equipment or to chip in on the fines that have been issued to the protesters. Transfer with your bank or use Paypal.
Urge the Norwegian Prime Minister to intervene and stop the plans of dumping 250 million tonnes of waste in the pristine Førde fjord.Sign petition
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This page is created by Håvard Lundberg and Silje Lundberg, who both participated in the nonviolent direct actions in February 2016. We hope it will serve its purpose and inspire for future actions for our fjords. There is no established organization behind the page, although various environmental NGOs have been consulted during the development.
The site was built in less than 72 hours, which could, but doesn't necessarily account for any spelling mistakes and in-efficient code. It does however explain why the site is not optimized for mobile.
The amazing 360 degrees widget is created by the great people at Romvesen AS. The front page photo is by the talented Luka Tomac, check out his work here. The beautiful picture below is by the incredible landscape photographer Wim Lassche. The portraits by the locals in Vevring is taken by Amanda Iversen Orlich.
Questions, comments or suggestions? Feel free to get in touch with us!