A study on bilberries and potatoes grown near the mining site published 17.7.2017
As part of its environmental impact assessment programme, Terrafame has published a study of the pollutant content of plants and areas under cultivation near its mining site. The study concerns the heavy metal content of the topsoil of the agricultural fields in the area surrounding the site, as well as the accumulation of pollutants in plants grown in the fields in summer 2016. In addition, bilberry samples from the mining concession and its surroundings were analysed.
According to the results of the study, Terrafame’s operations do not have a material effect on the cobalt, copper, nickel or zinc content found in food plants. The normal consumption of potatoes grown in the nearby areas does not cause the threshold limit for copper, zinc or nickel to be exceeded. The consumption of bilberries grown in the nearby areas does not increase the intake of copper or zinc in comparison with other areas, nor does it cause the limit for tolerable nickel intake to be exceeded.
None of the heavy metal content of any of the soil samples exceeded the threshold value for contaminated soil. The threshold value for pollutants is provided in the related Government Decree. If the value is exceeded, the level of soil contamination and the need for remediation must be assessed. The variation in cobalt, copper, nickel and zinc content found in arable land in Finland is naturally high, and the content found in all of the soil samples taken from areas surrounding the mining site was smaller than that measured in an extensive study of arable land in 2007.
The study was carried out by Ramboll Finland for Terrafame. It was implemented by studying four field sectors located near the mining concession. Each sector had 15 sampling sites. The sites were located to the north-east of the mining site, in line with the direction of the prevailing wind. In addition, bilberry samples were taken from six sites within and near the mining concession.
In accordance with its environmental monitoring programme, Terrafame also conducts dust fallout measurements and bioindicator analyses to monitor the development of metal concentrations in dust and organisms.
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Terrafame Ltd. is a Finnish multi-metal company producing nickel, zinc and cobalt at its mine and metal works located in Sotkamo. Our goal is to conduct environmentally sustainable, safe and profitable operations.