British mining company threatens livelihood of Europe's only indigenous people
On 30th July 2014 it was reported on the BBC website, bbc.co.uk, that British company Beowulf Mining has been carrying out test drilling for iron ore in Kallak, Sweden, and has applied for a 25-year mining concession from the authorities.
The proposed mine was reported to be the focus of protests by environmental activists and the local Sami population. The Sami are Europe's only indigenous people and their livelihood and culture is centred around herding reindeer, which move around with the seasons to find food.
Sami reindeer herder Jakob Nygard said: “They always tell us the mine will just be a small area ... [But] If you throw a knife in the heart it is only small cut but the result is death.
"In the summer time we're with the reindeer up in the mountains but in the winter we need to go down to the forest. The reindeer need to find food in nature so they need a big area to graze.
"We take many things from the reindeer into our culture, so I think if reindeer herding dies then our culture also dies."
Beowulf said that the Kallak mine would create 250 direct jobs and over 1,000 indirect jobs in the town of Jokkmokk, 40km from Kallak. According to the BBC, opinions in the town are polarised.
Sweden was said to produce more than 90% of the iron ore in Europe.
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