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No environmental harm from Sweden waste leak - Boliden

No environmental harm from Sweden waste leak - Boliden
STOCKHOLM - Swedish-Canadian mining group Boliden said yesterday a dam burst that released waste from Europes largest copper mine in north Sweden had not damaged the environment. "This is not a natural catastrophe as this small leakage wont have any major impact on the nature," Leif Oberg, spokesman at Boliden told Reuters. He estimated the costs at 5-10 million crowns ($0.5-1.04 million) and said production at the Aitik mine resumed on Sunday evening. Output would not be affected as the mine would increase production to recover the losses. "The production will not be affected by this incident which hardly will reflect upon the annual result," he said. Boliden has a permit to release 100 kilos of copper waste annually at the Aitik mine, which produces 18 million tonnes of copper and two tonnes of gold per year. But while the company was unaware of what had caused a dam wall at the mine to burst on Saturday, making a 150 metre hole that released one million cubic metres of water with six kilos of copper, Oberg said the incident was not related to a dam burst in Spain in 1998. "We dont know what actually happened but no connection should be made to the disaster in Spain," he said. A Boliden zinc waste reservoir in Spain burst in 1998 and caused an ecological catastrophe when toxic waste spilled into a nature reserve in southern Spain. The Swedish environment authority, Naturvardsverket, agreed the incident could not be considered a natural catastrophe but said it was concerned about the security at Bolidens plants. "The dams are built to hold for ever and if they arent functioning despite recent controls we start to worry," said Bjorn Sodermark, spokesman at the authority. He said the waste was not toxic but it could have the effect of causing fish to migrate elsewhere, and could also adversely affect riverbed life. Oberg said Boliden would cooperate with local authorities in an investigation into the reasons behind the dam failure. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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