The surprising and disappointing decision by the Swedish authorities to withdraw the Norra Karr Mining License is not consistent with prior application of the Mining Act claim from Tasman Minerals. Norra Karr have high grade deposits of high value metals dysprosium (Dy), terbium (Tb), yttrium and neodymium.
Tasman Metals Ltd. has been notified of a decision by the Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden (“SAC”) to cancel the Norra Karr Mining Lease (“ML”). This ML was granted to the Company in May 2013 by the Swedish Mining Inspectorate (Bergsstaten) and has remained in force since that time.
On the basis of a review of the process of granting of the ML, the SAC has determined that the decision by the Swedish Mining Inspectorate was incorrect, as the decision to grant the ML was not adequately supported by environmental studies into a future mining operation. As a result, the Norra Karr ML is no longer granted. The SAC decision to cancel the ML cannot be appealed. Environmental studies into a future mining operation were publically released as part of the 2015 Pre-Feasibility Study.
The Norra Karr project now reverts to an Exploration Licence (“EL”) which was first granted to Tasman on 31 August, 2009. On August 31, 2015 Tasman applied for a two-year extension of this EL. The renewal of the EL is subject to appeals to the Administrative Court in Falun. If appeals are rejected, the EL will be valid until August 31, 2017 when further renewals are permissible. Under the Swedish Mining Act EL’s can be extended for 11 years and up to 15 years under special circumstances.
“This surprising and disappointing decision by the SAC to withdraw the Norra Karr ML is not consistent with prior application of the Mining Act,” said Mark Saxon, Tasman’s President and CEO. “Tasman’s ML application documents, that allowed for the granting of the ML, provided all information as required by the Mining Act. Mining cannot start on an ML before submission of a detailed mining through closure plan, a full Environmental Impact Statement and granting of an Environmental/Operating Permit. We believe the SAC decision may have a detrimental and long lasting effect on the Swedish mining industry and the view of Swedish sovereign risk for mining.”
Tasman is now reviewing the findings of the SAC. Tasman remains free to reapply for a new Mining Lease at any time. The cancellation of the ML does not change Tasman’s view of the potential of the Norra Karr project or the work required to begin a mining project. The ML provided no rights for mining or ground disturbance of any type, and a full Environmental Impact Statement was always required to be prepared and submitted as part of an Environmental/Operating Permit. Tasman can satisfy the interpretation of the Mining Act by the SAC with the data collected and publically reported during the Pre-Feasibility Study completed on the Norra Karr project in 2015.
The Company’s portfolio includes the flagship Norra Karr heavy REE project which has the capacity to deliver all of Europe’s needs for the high value metals dysprosium (Dy), terbium (Tb), yttrium and neodymium for 20 years. Tasman is focused on the safe, sustainable and responsible development of its Scandinavian mineral portfolio.