Mawson Resources (TSE:MAW) will continue advancing its exploration program under its current permit conditions after a re-appeal by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation to delay its updated exploration permit, granted by the Finnish Mining Authority (TUKES) and upheld by the Northern Finland Administrative (NFA) Court. The NGO has exercised its legal right to appeal this ruling to the Supreme Administrative Court.
On May 21, the NFA Court upheld all aspects of Mawson’s exploration permit, entitling the miner to deeper drill rig access within a Natura 2000 biodiversity area during winter conditions. The NGO appealed this decision on June 18 and the Supreme Court could take three to twelve months to handle the appeal.
But, given the case’s impact on the livelihoods of many local people, Mawson will apply for the Court to hear the appeal as quickly as possible.
The NFA Court endorsed the permit granted to Mawson, which was fully backed by all environmental authorities, to allow deeper drilling at the highly prospective Palokas gold project, which enjoys strong support from the local Ylitornio and Lapland community.
Meanwhile, Mawson will continue drilling from August 1, at the end of an EU mandated bird nesting exclusion period, under its current permit conditions, a program not affected by the re-appeal. It has the right to drill with man-portable rigs to test the Palokas gold discovery, which has so far delivered 19.6m at 7.5 g/t gold from 18.1 metres using the Winkie hand portable drill rig.
"Mawson will continue to work alongside all authorities and local people to drill the Palokas gold discovery, according to our current permit conditions. Despite establishing significant goodwill over the last 18 months with the NGO, I am disappointed they have chosen to re-appeal an unambiguous decision by the lower court. Of course, this is their legal right until the new Finnish Government's New Governmental Coalition Program is enacted. However, over the last year four administrative bodies have found that Mawson's exploration work, carried out as permitted, does not present any significant risks to nature, environment, animals, other livelihoods, or people in Palokas area or its vicinity,” said Mawson’s president and CEO, Michael Hudson.
Mawson suggests that by challenging the NFA Court’s clear and legally binding decision, the NGO is resorting to any means to delay the exploration while failing to consider the opinion of Finnish civil society and the population, which have clearly supported the project.
The recently elected Finnish Government's New Governmental Coalition Program has decided to limit access to the Supreme Administrative Court in environmental and construction matters.
The Supreme Administrative Court will prepare an initial review and draft decision of the appeal to establish questions of law and the facts of the appeal. This will include a compilation of the case file and written submissions and observations from all parties. This process typically takes 3-4 months and can lead to appeal rejection. Should the case continues to the Supreme Administrative Court Chamber, the deliberations and the decision take, on average, a year from the start of the initial review.
Over the last year, four administrative bodies representing the mining and environmental authorities and the Court found that Mawson's exploration work, in accordance with the permit, has not caused any significant risks to the environment, fauna and flora or to any people living in the Palokas area.
Neighboring village associations and the local municipality support Mawson’s project, wanting to see it progress such that it might also serve as a potential future employment base for declining population areas in the Lapland region.