ENVIRONMENT -- RESPONSIBILITY BELONGS TO ALL
The Rompas-Rajapalot project remains in the exploration phase and significant work is required before progression to an advanced exploration project. Finland has rigorous regulatory processes with strict environmental standards and Mawson are committed at this early project stage to work with the regional and national authorities and broader stakeholder groups to develop the project in a responsible way. Mawson has completed three years of flora and water base line studies and environmental impact assessments at Rompas-Rajapalot. The Company looks forward to continuing to work closely with both the mining and environmental authorities and other stakeholders over the coming years to ensure our work is conducted according to sustainable and global best practice methods.
In November 2014, Mawson announced the appointment of environmental specialist, Noora Raasakka, to the position of Environmental Leader Finland. Noora is a Forestry Engineer with a Masters Degree in Landscape Management. She has developed strong experience within the Finnish environmental administration, applying environmental legislation towards nature protection. Her most recent role has been with The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Lapland (ELY-Centre) in the Nature Protection Unit as a project manager for a program based on developing biodiversity and ecological connections between Natura 2000 sites.
As Environmental Leader, Noora will set Environmental Policy with senior management, and be responsible for environmental monitoring and management plans. She will be responsible for identifying and managing key environmental risks associated with Mawson's projects and for ensuring environmental factors are effectively addressed and managed. Working closely with local communities and government, Noora will manage consultants and ensure that environmental criteria are integrated into the design of exploration projects. The role is a key member of the exploration team and is responsible for ensuring all environmental requirements are delivered on time and within scope.
Mawson carries out its exploration activities in large areas, including areas with a conservation status. Natural regeneration capacity in the northern regions is slower than in the southern regions due to the cold climate and short growing season. All the activities must therefore be carefully and thoughtfully planned to maintain and achieve sustainability.
The Company is committed to carry out all the research measures implemented with special care, according to the national legislation, guidelines and recommendations provided by the environmental administration authorities. In addition, international legislation and in particular the Habitats and Birds Directives guide the Company's operations. As a part of Company's development it also invests in new exploration methods and techniques with less significant impacts. The Company's aim is to carry out all their activities with ecologically, socially and economically sustainable manners. The Company also requires its subcontractors to the corresponding accountability in all their activities.
ROMPAS AND RAJAPALOT
The main areas of Company's operations, Rompas and Rajapalot, are located on the border of Rovaniemi and Ylitornio municipalities in northern Finland. The Company has completed a variety of nature studies, and also implemented a Natura 2000 impact assessment related to the future and ongoing exploration activities. Currently there exists little scientific research on the impacts of different kinds of exploration methods on natre and the environment in these areas and therefore the Company's exploration activities and their impacts on the natural environment, species and water is monitored continuously. Monitoring activities will provide long-term research information on how sampling and exploration work should be carried out in a sustainable way without causing damage to environmental values.
For the recent core sampling program at Rajapalot, Mawson has completed biological mapping of all areas where drilling will take place, and worked together with all authorities to minimize its impacts, including the capture of all drill cuttings, reduction in total machine weight and the placement of walkways to reduce foot traffic.
Certain areas of the Rompas-Rajapalot areas (namely claim areas Kairamaat 1-3) are defined as European Union Natura 2000 designated areas. Natura 2000 sites cover about 14.6% of Finland and approximately 30% of Northern Finland. Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature and biodiversity policy. It is an EU-wide ecological network of nearly 26,000 sites in the 27 EU countries, established under the 1992 Habitats Directive and covering almost 18% of the EU's land area. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats. Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves where all human activities are excluded. Whereas the network will certainly include nature reserves, most of the land is likely to continue to be privately-owned and the emphasis will be on ensuring that future management is sustainable, both ecologically and economically.
A decision was made in early July 2014 by the Finnish Safety and Chemical Agency ("TUKES") to grant modified and renewed exploration claims titled Kairamaat 2 and 3 that cover a surface area of 1,462 hectares at Mawson's Rajapalot gold project in northern Finland, that entitles Mawson to deep drill during winter conditions within Natura 2000 biodiversity areas. The decision will take legal effect after a standard public appeal process.
In 2014 the Finnish Government updated the Guide to Exploration in protected areas, the Sámi homeland and the reindeer managing area. For more information follow this link.
On 04 October 2010 the EU published a guidance document and related press release for new guidelines to clarify rules for extractive industries working in Natura 2000 areas.
In 2010 Euromines (http://www.euromines.org/) published "Natura 2000: A Guide to the Guide" as an Industry Commentary to the European Commission Guidance on Non-energy mineral extraction and Natura 2000. For more information follow this link.