‘Then it isn’t reindeer husbandry’ – Important report on impact on herding of proposed mine

July 1, 2016 • Philip BurgessBlog, Projects, Reindeer

Laver reportAn important report authored by Rebecca Lawrence (Uni of Stockholm) and Rasmus Larsen of the (Stockholm Environment Institute) has just been published. Entitled ”Då är det inte renskötsel” – Konsekvenser av en gruvetablering i Laver, Älvsbyn, för Semisjaur Njarg sameby,  the report  concerns the impacts of Boliden’s proposed mine in Laver, northern Sweden, for the Semisjaur Njarg Sami reindeer herding community.

The proposed mine is on the Semisjaur Njarg community’s winter grazing pastures. Across the Sami reindeer herding area, winter pastures are under pressure and are particularly challenging for herders as they are experiencing intense pasture fragmentation. The district are concerned that the impact of this mine will hinder their ability to practice traditional herding and nomadism in such a way that a herder is quoted as stating ”Då är det inte renskötsel”, or, ‘Then it’s no longer reindeer husbandry’, and the district is opposed to the development of the mine in the Laver area.

From the summary, the authors concluded:

It is clear, however, based on the evidence presented in this report, that a mine in Laver would entail significant breaches of 1) the Sami community’s property rights, because of the mine’s planned location in the middle of the Sami community’s winter pastures, and 2) individual reindeer herders’ right to culture, as several herders would be forced out of reindeer herding.

Semisjaur Njarg sameby

Gruvans påverkan utifrån Tjidjakks betesmarker

The authors conclude that a full human rights impact assessment of the proposed mine in Laver would be appropriate, in conjunction with a further assessment of the mine’s impact on Sami rights. This would determine if a mining permit is consistent on the one hand with the international conventions that Sweden is bound by, and on the other hand with the commitments that Boliden has made in its own corporate policies.


The report has a foreword by Anders Oskal, Director of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry. Read more here in English and uou can download the full report (in Swedish, with an English and Sami summary), and you can download it here.


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