The Fjord Lawsuit

Friends of the Earth Norway and Young Friends of the Earth Norway are suing the the Norwegian government over  the granting of a permit for the dumping of 170 milion tonnes of mining waste into Førdefjorden. The case was heard by the Oslo district court in September 2023, and was appealed to the Court of Appeal in Februrary 2024.

On January 10th, 2024, Oslo District Court published their decision in the Fjord Lawsuit. The Norwegian state won through – the permits for dumping 170 million tonnes of waste into the pristine Førdefjorden are valid.

Friends of the Earth/Young Friends of the Earth Norway was sentenced to cover most of the state’s expenses – 1,4 million NOK (€125.000) – in violation of the Aarhus Convention.

The organizations appealed the case to the court of Appeal in February 2024.

We believe that the Ministry of Climate and Environment’s approval of the permit is a clear violation of Norway’s Pollution Control Act, the EU water directive, and the EU Mining Waste Directive.

Norway is one of very few countries in the world that still allows dumping of mining waste in the sea. There are only two countries worldwide that allow new projects with dumping of mining waste in the sea, Norway and Papua New Guinea.

Key reasons Friends of the Earth Norway and Young Friends of the Earth Norway are suing the state:

  • The mining company has received all important permits; there are no more administrative appeal options.
  • The mining company has not sufficiently investigated how the project can be designed in a way that provides maximum waste minimization and avoids the need for submarine tailings disposal.
  • The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Surveillance Authority has identified several shortcomings in the Norwegian implementation of the EU Mining Waste Directive.
  • There are several indications that the submarine tailings disposal is unnecessary and thus illegal according to the Norwegian pollution act.
  • Sufficient legal protection for nature depends on the courts hearing cases on questionable administrative decisions that have an impact on the environment.