HELSINKI Nov 16 A metals recovery plant in
eastern Finland run by mining group Talvivaara
still poses an environmental risk even though it
stopped leaking waste water two days ago, government officials
Talvivaara is awaiting approval to restart production at the
plant, near the town of Sotkamo, which has been offline since
the leak was found on Nov. 4, costing the company an estimated 1
million euros ($1.3 million) a day.
The company said earlier this week the leakage had been
stemmed, but environmental minister Ville Niinisto said on
Friday the government was still worried about whether the
company could properly clean up the damage at the plant.
"The acute leakage is under control, but I'd stress that
remarkable risks still remain," Niinisto, also leader of
Finland's Green party, told a news conference.
"The waste waters at the safety dams might bring more heavy
metals and uranium to the environment," Niinisto said.
Niinisto said local authorities had been given a bigger
workforce to oversee the situation at the mine and the company
was obliged to strengthen its own surveillance.
Finland's Safety and Chemicals Agency had earlier said
Talvivaara must provide a more detailed evaluation of future
risks, and a senior official said the plant was unlikely to
restart on Friday.
Economy minister Jan Vapaavuori from the right-leaning
National Coalition party said the incident was "sad and
revolting" and had posed a "severe environmental problem."
"I'm very worried because the mining sector is one of the
few areas in this country with possibilities to create new jobs
in Finland," Vapaavuori said.
Pekka Pera, founder and top shareholder in the company,
returned on Thursday to his role as chief executive to lead the
company's recovery from the disaster which he said would cost
several million euros.
Some analysts said the company is losing around 1 million
euros every day the plant remains offline and will need new
Shares in the company rose 2.9 percent to 1.32 euros in
Helsinki by 1337 GMT, extending a bounce since dipping to 1.08
euros earlier this week.
But some analysts said Pera's return did not necessarily
mean and end to problems at the mine, which has been hit in the
past year by production disruptions, environmental problems and
a worker fatality.
"The stock is a gamble at the moment, there are very few
fundamentals to lean on," said Jari Raisanen at Pohjola Markets.
Analysts also noted authorities had adopted a tough stance
against the restart of the plant due to the strong public
($1 = 0.7817 euros)
(Editing by David Holmes)