Construction of a Collaborative Platform monitoring the Impacts of mining on Water Quality in Sodankylä
The Nessling Foundation has granted funding to Akordi for a project set to take place in 2023. Akordi will be constructing a model for collaborative monitor platform of the impact of mining activities on water bodies in the Sodankylä region.
Research has demonstrated two central issues in current monitoring practices observing the impacts of mining on water quality: the clarity of the data produced, and its perceived trustworthiness. These themes were investigated during the CORE and PKK projects from 2017 to 2022, which aimed to identify possibilities for cooperation between mining activities in Sodankylä municipality and local stakeholders (Kotilainen et al. 2021). Interviews highlighted that stakeholders often struggle to interpret results, understand their scale, and potential consequences. Furthermore, measurements conducted by companies or commissioned from consultants are easily perceived as biased, and doubts persist irrespective of their technical execution.
The research identified a solution to these challenges: collaborative monitoring of mining water system impacts, involving the local community in various stages of the monitoring process. Stakeholders with the most critical view towards mining believe that the inclusion of a universally accepted and neutral party would enhance the reliability of water monitoring.
The project’s goal is to implement a process in collaboration with Sodankylä mining companies and local stakeholders, piloting and integrating water quality monitoring into the local community. This simultaneously supports the development of a broader local collaboration model and serves as an example for the entire Finnish and Nordic mining sectors.
Akordi acts as a neutral third party in the project, designing the water impact monitoring process for Sodankylä mines in collaboration with the group members and guiding the group’s work.
In challenging environments, the addition of a neutral party assists in building trust, fostering more acceptable solutions, as well as providing tools and expertise for reconciling diverse perspectives and establishing a shared knowledge base.
The Akordi team participating in the project consists of special expert Juha-Pekka Turunen (MSc), chief operating officer Emma Luoma (MSc) and junior specialist Anni Kettunen (MSc). Juha Kotilainen (MA) plays a role as a researcher in the project. Kotilainen has explored the development of the Sodankylä mining cooperation model in a research funded by the Finnish Strategic Research Council’s CORE project. The results and publications of Kotilainen’s research serve as the foundation for the project’s research. Kotilainen is responsible for disseminating research data in the project and reporting on the operational model being developed. Lasse Peltonen (PhD) holds the position of a Professor of Environmental Conflict Management at the University of Eastern Finland and serves as the scientific director of the project.