Kautokeino and Kvaslund Compared: Rejection and Acceptance of Mining in Communities in Northern Norway


  • Aileen A. Espiritu UiT The Arctic University of Norway


This paper analyzes the events and discourses that have led two ostensibly similar northern communities in Norway to come to diverging decisions regarding mining on their territories. Kautokeino and Kvalsund are similar in that they each have Indigenous interests to consider; they have undergone economic hardships that make resource extraction an attractive option for local development; and both have considerations of environmental concerns should mining take place. Despite these similarities, Kautokeino has rejected the mining of gold from their territories, while Kvalsund has approved the mining of copper on theirs. I examine why each community chose different paths to mine and not to mine, within a framework of discourse analysis that foregrounds the companies that have proposed to mine in these regions and their differing relationships to the local communities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. I argue that the cultivation of good relations with community stakeholders, local, and national governments can lead the way to an acceptance of mining development. The paper is part of a special collection of brief discussion papers presented at the 2014 Walleye Seminar, held in Northern Saskatchewan, which explored consultation and engagement with northern communities and stakeholders in resource development.






Consultation and Resource Development in Northern Communities: Russia, Scandinavia & Canada