We advised Anglo American’s Finnish subsidiary AA Sakatti Mining Oy on the largest voluntary ecological compensation project carried out in Finland. The project introduces a new voluntary practice to offset biodiversity impacts of the Sakatti mining project located in Sodankylä.
The compensation project is based on the net positive impact principle, and it is scientifically validated by leading academics. This compensation project applies to the forest biotypes and ecosystems in the project area. The project is not aimed to compensate for potential impacts relating to the mire protection values of the Viiankiaapa protection area, which will be assessed separately.
Ecological and social sustainability
Anglo American signed an agreement to acquire 2,900 hectares of protected forest from the Inari Collective Forest. The purchase price was EUR 10.4 million, and the transaction constitutes the largest voluntary ecological compensation area in Finland so far.
The acquired forest area is located approximately 125 kilometres north of Sakatti. It is owned by a collective of more than 1,500 individuals, most of whom are locals, and has been categorised by NGOs as a part of a global network of Intact Forest Landscape (IFL). An IFL is defined as an unbroken natural landscape of a forest ecosystem and is estimated to account for 23% of the world’s forest ecosystems.
As a result of the categorisation, the collective of private owners has no longer been able to use the area for forestry purposes, and the Finnish government has been unwilling to acquire the large area for protection purposes. As such, Anglo American’s acquisition of the area for the purposes of voluntary ecological compensation also offers a solution to the social impacts of the current IFL designation of the area.
Net positive impact
The compensation scheme is a part of Anglo American’s goal of achieving a net positive impact. The area is recognised for its nature values, but it is currently not protected. Anglo American will initiate the process to designate the area as a private nature conservation site. The site was selected and the compensation scheme developed in close cooperation with leading Finnish academics in order to ensure that the compensation is reliable.
This is a new milestone for sustainable mining in Finland. We are excited to be at the forefront of contributing to new sustainable mining practices.