License to Mine: A Comparison of the Scope of the Environmental Assessment in Sweden, Finland and Russia

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ABSTRACT

The regulatory framework for mining operations is complex; the licensing process in particular typically involves several laws and a number of permits. This paper assumes that the regulatory framework is strongly influenced by the institutional framework of which it is part, and that it suffers from an institutional path dependence that may decrease the efficiency of the system as well as act barrier to the implementation of necessary environmental requirements. The paper provides: 1) a legal analysis of the regulatory framework governing mining operations in Sweden, Finland and Russia; and 2) a comparative analysis of the scope of the environmental assessment within the licensing process in the examined countries. The result of the analysis of the regulatory frameworks shows great similarity between the Swedish and the Finnish systems, both in terms of the overall structure and the implementation of substantive environmental rules. The Russian system differs in this respect, with more declarative rules and seemingly less substantive assessments. The results also indicate that the regulatory frameworks in all three countries show signs of institutional path dependence, but in very different degrees. Though Russia has indeed implemented major changes in the formal structure, very little has changed in practice. The Swedish regulatory framework for mining shows a deficient systematics and conflicting objectives, despite the implementation of a comprehensive environmental legislation. The recently reformed Finnish system seems to have a more holistic approach.

Cite this paper

Pettersson, M. , Oksanen, A. , Mingaleva, T. , Petrov, V. and Masloboev, V. (2015) License to Mine: A Comparison of the Scope of the Environmental Assessment in Sweden, Finland and Russia. Natural Resources,6, 237-255. doi: 10.4236/nr.2015.64022.

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