Strategic project digs deep into environmental permit processes


Project name: Environmental permitting processes and the implementation of the EU water directive: evaluating the consequences for Swedish mining, and the needs and possibilities for reform.
Duration: 2022-2024

This strategic project is based on a pre-study where representatives of the largest mining companies in Sweden, identified challenges when it comes to environmental permitting processes that have not been addressed or are not handled adequately. Hopefully results can provide advisory results in future decision-making processes. The challenges identified were as follows:

  • Problems related to the design of the Swedish environmental permit processes, which are carried out in court in the first instance and where certain authorities are given special rights as stakeholders in the process.
  • Uncertainties, challenges and consequences related to the application and interpretation of EU directives, above all the framework directive for water.

We have done some deep digging about the background to some important part of the environment permit process and the findings are very interesting. I think the results will surprise many. Now we are looking into the consequences of the process and that’s not an easy task. I’m however sure that the work we’re doing will put important issues in the permitting process in a new light and be a ground for new angles of political decisions in the future.”
-Lotta Lauritz, Legal Council, LKAB. 

Project highlights with Project Manager Anna Kumpula, Georange.
-We wanted to highlight an additional perspective that can give decision-makers a deeper knowledge and basis for good decisions regarding legislative changes and the implementation of processes towards an environmental permit. The second issue that we highlight is the EU Water Framework Directive and its function in our region: will the implementaton of this legislation fulfill its functions in terms of environmental improvement, measures in the assessment of water operations?

Expected impact 
-So far, it is not possible to report any results beyond what has been discussed in the workshops and reconciliations that have been conducted. KTH and Luleå University of Technology will now compare and analyze the data from the mining companies to arrive at a result but also to find additional issues to delve into in the future.

Hopes for the future
-The hope is that we will be able to provide advisory results to decision-makers and other interested stakeholders for further investigation and consideration in new decision-making processes. Also to contribute to a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the current environmental permit processes for mines, as well as the application of the Water Directive. And further, based on this, consider opportunities for reforms that can lead to a safer, more efficient and more innovation-friendly permit process for mining projects, as well as a more efficient and adequate application of the water directive in mining-related cases.

-I am very proud of our partners and participants in this project who possess knowledge and experience from various trials, processes and fulfillments of processes and implementation. I feel confident that there will be a good and well-founded result from this project, says Anna Kumpula, Project Manager at Georange.

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