The main areas of Company's operations, Rompas and Rajapalot, are located on the border of Rovaniemi and Ylitornio municipalities in northern Finland. The Company has completed a variety of nature studies, and also implemented a Natura 2000 impact assessment related to the future and ongoing exploration activities. Currently there exists little scientific research on the impacts of different kinds of exploration methods on nature and the environment in these areas and therefore the Company's exploration activities and their impacts on the natural environment, species and water is monitored continuously. Monitoring activities will provide long-term research information on how sampling and exploration work should be carried out in a sustainable way without causing damage to environmental values.
For the recent core sampling program at Rajapalot, Mawson has completed biological mapping of all areas where drilling will take place, and worked together with all authorities to minimize its impacts, including the capture of all drill cuttings, reduction in total machine weight and the placement of walkways to reduce foot traffic.
Certain areas of the Rompas-Rajapalot areas (namely claim areas Kairamaat 1-3) are defined as European Union Natura 2000 designated areas. Natura 2000 sites cover about 14.6% of Finland and approximately 30% of Northern Finland. Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature and biodiversity policy. It is an EU-wide ecological network of nearly 26,000 sites in the 27 EU countries, established under the 1992 Habitats Directive and covering almost 18% of the EU's land area. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats. Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves where all human activities are excluded. Whereas the network will certainly include nature reserves, most of the land is likely to continue to be privately-owned and the emphasis will be on ensuring that future management is sustainable, both ecologically and economically.
A decision was made in early July 2014 by the Finnish Safety and Chemical Agency ("TUKES") to grant modified and renewed exploration claims titled Kairamaat 2 and 3 that cover a surface area of 1,462 hectares at Mawson's Rajapalot gold project in northern Finland, that entitles Mawson to deep drill during winter conditions within Natura 2000 biodiversity areas. The decision will take legal effect after a standard public appeal process.
In 2014 the Finnish Government updated the Guide to Exploration in protected areas, the Sámi homeland and the reindeer managing area. For more information follow this link.
On 04 October 2010 the EU published a guidance document and related press release for new guidelines to clarify rules for extractive industries working in Natura 2000 areas.
For more information follow this link for the press release.
For more information follow this link for the document.
In 2010 Euromines (http://www.euromines.org/) published "Natura 2000: A Guide to the Guide" as an Industry Commentary to the European Commission Guidance on Non-energy mineral extraction and Natura 2000. For more information follow this link.