Karelian Diamonds to quit northern Finland
Richard Conroy's Karelian Diamond Resources is to abandon its fledgling plans for diamond exploration in northern Finland, the Irish Independent can reveal.
The move comes after locals had protested that development of the Utsjoki area would have a negative effect on the homeland of the Sami people. The native people's area also contains a protected nature reserve.
A local group called the Anti-Mining Coalition of Deatnu Valley recently sent a letter to several senior Finnish officials, including the Finnish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, asking for the activities of Karelian Diamonds to be stopped.
The Irish-listed company had a claim reservation on the area, which meant that it was able to do some minor preliminary work and assess whether the site was worth further development.
If they had decided that it merited it, the firm would have had priority to further develop the site. However, speaking to the Irish Independent, company chairman Professor Richard Conroy, who is also chairman of Irish exploration company Conroy Gold, said the firm now plans to focus on another potential development in the south of the country.
"We had a claim reservation in the area [but] we are now in the process of withdrawing it," Mr Conroy said.
"We are not sure how long it will take and it could take quite a while but once you press the button then that's it."
He said that the company had fully complied with Finnish regulations and authorities and added that he would be happy to consult with locals on any future developments in Finland.
A spokesman for the Anti-Mining Coalition said: "Of course we are very happy that they have withdrawn their claims, now the message that we want to get out is that no other company should look to do that again [explore for resources in the area]."