UK-based mining firm Beowulf Mining, through its subsidiary Jokkmokk Iron Mines, has received exploitation concession for the Kallak North Iron Ore Project (Kallak) in Sweden.

The project is located around 40km west of Jokkmokk in the County of Norrbotten, northern Sweden.

As per the estimates, the Kallak area holds 389 million tonnes (Mt) of iron mineralisation.

Beowulf CEO Kurt Budge said: “The award of the concession is simply a long-awaited milestone on the development timeline and we now look forward to environmental permitting.

“The company looks forward to reviewing the full detail of the decision in due course but will naturally seek to comply with any relevant requirements in respect of minimising the mine’s impact on the Sami community.”

The approval will allow the firm to proceed with economic and environmental studies at the iron ore mine, which has been opposed by indigenous people due to its impact on the environment, according to Reuters.

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The decision by the government, however, is being opposed by environmentalists.

According to critics, the mine would pose danger to a protected ecosystem, as well as block migration of reindeer.

Sweden Enterprise Minister Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson was cited by the news agency as saying: “I think there will be a mine here. I would say the biggest obstacle is the environmental study because that is quite complicated in Sweden.”

Thorwaldsson said the company is required to pass several regulatory steps prior to starting production at the mine.

Following the government’s decision, climate-change activist Greta Thunberg said on Twitter: “Sweden pretends to be a leader for the environment and human rights, but at home, they violate indigenous rights and continue waging a war on nature.”