The Sami Perspective: Exclusive interview with Stefan Mikaelsson about mining of energy-transition metals in Kiruna and beyond…


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The Sami Perspective: Exclusive interview with Stefan Mikaelsson about mining of energy-transition metals in Kiruna and beyond…

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Why do (most of) the Sami indigenous people object to the mining of energy-transition metals in the Northern part of Sweden? Find out in this exclusive vodcast interview with Stefan Mikaelsson by Peter Tom Jones. As Deputy President of the General Assembly of the Sami Parliament in Sweden, Stefan Mikaelsson has been one of the most vocal persons to defend the traditional Sami culture and reindeer husbandry traditions.

Made in Europe: from mine to electric vehicle

The interview took place against the background of the recent announcement by the Swedish state-owned company LKAB about the discovery of the Per Geijer rare-earth deposit. This deposit is a satellite deposit of the world’s biggest underground iron ore mine in the Arctic town of Kiruna, North Sweden. The interview, which was recorded in September 2023, was performed during the shooting of the 52-minute documentary “Made in Europe: from mine to electric vehicle” (released on November 17, 2023).

Peter Tom Jones in conversation with Stefan Mikaelsson

For this exceptional encounter Jones visited the Nutti Sámi Siida AB open air museum in Jukkasjärvi, as well as Kiruna town where Jones visited the Sami Parliament and the iconic terracotta-coloured church, which was designed to resemble a Sami hut. It was an overwhelming experience for Jones to speak to this remarkable person and learn about the Sami way and feel their pain. The goal was to provide the opportunity to the Sami people to provide their specific, local perspective on the on-going discussion about “responsible mining” of energy-transition metals in Europe (follow-up of the previous documentary “Responsible mining in Europe”:

What started as a discussion about how mining impacts reindeer husbandry evolved into a broader conversation about the future of this planet, in view of the escalating global ecosystem crisis. How do we mitigate the climate crisis and what is the role of metals therein? Where do we need to get these metals from? How can we minimise impacts? How can we reduce the need for new energy-transition metals in the first place? The complete 22-minute interview is now available as a high-resolution vodcast interview on SIM² KU Leuven’s vimeo channel.

Key data

Team: Director: Stijn van Baarle (STORYRUNNER). Presenter: Peter Tom Jones (SIM2 KU Leuven). Camera man: Michael Van de Velde. Sound technicians: Casimir De Kimpe & Marius Acke. Graphic designer: Jasper Vander Elst

Funding: Co-funding through Horizon Europe EXCEED, Horizon Europe ENICON and SIM2 KU Leuven/SOLVOMET R&I Centre.

Acknowledgements: Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or HADEA and CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them. Co-funded by KU Leuven.

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