Impacts of mining dust deposition on forest biodiversity and ecosystem services (MINEDUST)


SLU, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet


SLU, Boliden Mineral AB, LKAB, Sveaskog AB

Jörgen Sjögren, SLU



How is the biodiversity affected by dust spread from mines? What happens to the berries, reindeer lichens and pollinators when exposed to this dust? And how much metal do plants and lichens in the vicinity of mines contain? In the project, we will find out by combining large-scale field surveys around two of the country’s largest mining areas, Svappavaara and Aitik, with carefully planned and executed greenhouse experiments. The methods we develop can be used to study the effects of dust spread around other mines as well.

A prerequisite for sustainable mining operations is that it takes place with as few negative consequences as possible for the environment. Discussions about impact of mining operations have often focused on direct effects that come from large open pits, but many who live and work around mining sites experience dust from the mines as a major problem. Despite the fact that mining companies invest large resources in combating spread of dust, large amounts are blown out of business areas during periods with freeze-drying in autumn and spring, affecting large areas.

Knowledge of the environmental impact of this is today very deficient. Developing such knowledge would facilitate communication between the mining companies and both the reindeer herding industry and the general public. It would also make it easier for responsible authorities to make evidence-based decisions in connection with permit applications.

More information

Project leader Jörgen Sjögren, SLU presented the project at Swedish Mining Research and Innovation day, 18 maj 2021. You can find the presentation at 20:00 in the program. (In Swedish)
Swedish Mining Research and Innovation day – se den här!