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Home NATIONALTalvivaara officials on trial for environmental degradation
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Wed, 05 Aug, 2015 12:03:32 AM
FTimes – STT Report, Aug 5
 
Lawyer Hannu Kokko (left.), Pekka Pera, CEO and director of Talvivaara, Ex director Lassi Lammassaari at Kainuu district court on Tuesday, of August 4, 2015 in Kajaani. Photo – Str / Lehtikuva.
Talvivaara mining company’s Chief Executive Officer Pekka Perä appeared in the District Court of Kainuu on Tuesday to answer charges on environmental crimes.
 
Three other senior officials at the mining company including its former CEO Harri Natunen and former executive director Lassi Lammassaari stand accused in the case.
 
The four are accused of aggravated environmental impairment that took place during 2006-2013, the period between submission of environmental permit and the second leakage at the Talvivaara mine's gypsum pond in April 2014. A massive leak at the Talvivaara gypsum waste water pond had earlier occurred in November 2012.
 
The prosecutor demanded the court to hand the four conditional imprisonment sentences and impose a corporate fine of 850,000 euros, the highest possible amount of fine, on the Talvivaara Sotkamo bankruptcy estate.
 
In addition, the prosecutor has called on Perä, the co-accused and the bankruptcy estate of Talvivaara Sotkamo to confess 13.3 million euros in criminal gains.
 
The prosecutor demanded at least one year suspended sentence to be handed to Perä, 10 months suspended sentence to Lammassaari and eight months suspended sentence to the other two accused.
 
The accused have denied the allegations and the related economic demands.
 
Perä said that he learned of the increased wastewater discharges in the summer of 2010.
 
According to the police, the laboratory tests of Pöyry Oyj, the company responsible for monitoring the mine, had already shown elevated level of discharges in 2009.
 
The police pre-trial investigation material revealed that Perä became aware of the elevated sulphate and manganese discharges from the then Talvivaara's director of environment 
Perä said he did not understand the significance and what caused of the discharges at that time when it came to his attention. He said he was not an expert on those things.
 
During the trial, the court will go through the construction of gypsum pond as well as the suspected negligence related to the operation of the gypsum pond.
 
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