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Internal Market: ESA closes complaint cases against Norwegian mining decisions



EN  |    NO

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) finds no breach of EEA law and has closed three complaint cases concerning Norway´s permit to dispose of tailings in the Førde Fjord.

In 2015, ESA received three complaints against Norway's decision to permit mining activities in the Engebø Mountain and the subsequent dumping of tailings into the Førde Fjord on the western coast of Norway. The complainants argued that Norwegian authorities were in breach of the Water Framework Directive in the EEA Agreement when permitting the project.

The scope of ESA´s review has been to consider whether Norway´s decision-making process was conducted within the requirements set out in the Directive, and ESA has looked for manifest errors in the Norwegian assessment. However, the review is limited as the role of ESA has not been to evaluate the project as such.

“It is not ESA's role to decide whether the project as such is good policy. Rather, ESA has assessed the Norwegian decision-making process on the basis on EEA law, and there we have found no breach of Norway´s commitments”, says ESA President Sven Erik Svedman.

ESA has not found any manifest errors in the Norwegian Government´s process. Based on the information provided by Norwegian authorities, ESA is satisfied that Norway was entitled to conclude that the project permit was justified on the basis of overriding public interest. Norway also stresses that all practicable steps have been taken to mitigate adverse impacts of the mine dumps, and that monitoring will be put in place to assess water quality on an ongoing basis.

On that basis, ESA is satisfied that the conditions for exemptions set out in the Water Framework Directive have been met. The three complaint cases have therefore been closed today.

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Anne Vestbakke
Head of Communications
tel. +32 2 286 18 66
mob. +32 490 57 63 53

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