The Municipal No to Mining. The Case Concerning the Reopening of the Biedjovaggi Gold Mine in Guovdageainnu Municipality, Norway

Part of the Springer Polar Sciences book series (SPPS)


In 2012, the municipal council of the predominantly Sami community of Guovdageainnu (Kautokeino) rejected a proposal to reopen the Biedjovaggi gold mine. Through an analysis of interviews, conversations, media and relevant grey literature and official documents, this chapter investigates how the decision by the Guovdageainnu municipal council to reject the application was based on a firm conviction that a sustainable future for the predominantly Sami community was closely tied to the survival of the reindeer herding industry. In this context, the term ‘sustainable’ refers to a large extent to the ontological security that herding provides for the Sami people, as a major carrier of cultural identity and a sense of belonging in this particular landscape. Thus, the potential benefits that may be generated by a mine were considered by a majority of Municipal Council members not to be sufficient to risk the potential consequences these activities could have for the reindeer and the herders. The political decisions by individual actors and public sentiments on the matter were also informed by a broader, culturally embedded rationale reflecting a deep concern about connections to place, space(s) and practices considered vital for Saami identity.


Landscape value Indigenous issues Reindeer herding Mining Ontological security 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nordland Research InstituteBodøNorway

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