Stalkers in Talvivaara mining zones
-a synopsis for ongoing documentary project
In the beginning it felt like a daydream. "A God's gift for the whole Kainuu region" wrote a local newspaper in 2007. And the hype was spread around the world. New green, almost organic and cheap bioheapleaching methods could bring a revolution to mining.
But nobody was told about hundreds of thousands tons of uranium which would come out from the stone along with other metals of nickel, copper and zinc.
And now there is an ongoing nightmare. The whole mining area and six lakes nearby are badly polluted with uranium and other toxic metals and chemicals to the state of being completely destroyed. There have been several leaks and accidents spreading the pollution far- it can now be measured over 100km (60 miles) from its origin. The most serious news for the investors is: the advertised bioheap leaching prosess has had serious unpredictable problems and the production of metals has only reached 25 % of that of expected.
Today it seems very uncertain whether the mine can continue even when only considering purely economical factors. This destruction is not profitable enough to continue.
In this documentary we follow the mining project through the eyes of local people who try to protect the rivers, lakes and groundwater in their home areas. Following the guidance of several local guides, so-called "stalkers", we dive into different physical and abstract zones surrounding the mine.
During the past years the mine security personnel have intervened with the filming work again and again. The director has been arrested and held by the police, and accused in court to have "disturbed public peace", when filming evidence of law breaking in the mining area, where however it is legally permitted to roam. The company has several times seeked a court's decision to ban entering the official mining area (which is much larger than the actual mine), but the attempts have always failed.
The most restricted zone surrounding the mine is the zone of business and economy. Mining boom raises worry all over Scandinavia. Over 15% of Finland's whole are has been reserved for mining projects and similar situation also prevails in Sweden. The decision to exploit strategic minerals, like uranium, nickel and others, out of Northern ore belt has been taken somewhere else without taking the real environmental and social costs it causes into account.
But now this pilot project of Finland's mining boom, Talvivaara, is embedded in a deep economical and ecological crisis. All and all, is it even possible to manage bioheap leaching as they planned? Should this technology be forbidden asa too risky and dangerous method?
In this documentary we invade and investigate different zones around the Talvivaara mining project, but we also go to rivers starting from the highlands near Talvivaara. We travel by boat downstream the rivers and lakes, passing villages and wildernesses in the area.
Why should we sacrifice the best of what our country can offer, our extraordinary network of rivers and lakes for international mining neocolonialism?
What possibilities do citizens have protect their home area and whole country in this historical battle about the direction of future?