Governing Conflicts Between Mining and Tourism in the Arctic
The Arctic is one of the largest regions on the globe, and is regarded as a vast storehouse of potential resources, including minerals. Both mining and tourism are rapidly growing economic sectors in the region. While the variety of tourism activities supported and offered is extensive, all of these activities are essentially forms of nature-based tourism.
Land-use conflicts between mining and tourism are likely to emerge when a new mine is opened close to a tourist area, because mining activities may dramatically change the landscape, which is essential for tourism. The impact greatly depends on the location of mining facilities, the physical size of the mining project, the mining processes used, logistics and how well the image of the mine and its end product fits in with the image of the tourist destination. While tourism and the mining industry may benefit from each other, the relationship between a mine and tourism is often asymmetrically counterproductive; where such a relationship exists, a need for regulation arises.
In this article, we assess the legal means available for resolving conflicts between the mining and tourism industries and discuss possibilities to improve these means. The two key regulatory instruments for governing such conflicts are land-use planning and mining permit processes. We illustrate the nature of conflicts and various decision-making procedures with reference to the Finnish legal framework and a case study on an ongoing mining project in the town of Kolari.