Beowulf mining protest July 2013
Saami in Arctic Sweden say they’ll continue to blockade a mining access road throughout this coming winter in an attempt to stop plans for a large iron mine from moving ahead — a comment made before police moved in August 12 to break down a barricade and remove activists chained with pipes stuck in the ground, the second police intervention in two weeks.
The Swedish Saami region of Sápmi — the large homeland of indigenous Saami people that spreads across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia — has already been “exploited and colonized by the Swedish state and corporations for generations,” says a blog about the blockade. Now an entirely new area is “under attack from the mining industry,” the bloggers say.
Since July, Saami have been preventing workers from London-listed Beowulf Mining PLC and its Swedish subsidiary, Jokkmokk Iron Mines AB, to continue their drilling and exploration project in Gállok, not far from Jokkmokk, a town of 3,000 located just above the Arctic Circle. According to information on Beowulf’s mining site, the mine project area is thought to hold more than 100 million tonnes of high-grade iron ore.