Posted April 14, 2018 09:56:48The Diamond Mining Industry in Finland has experienced an exponential decline since the early 1990s.
The industry is now estimated to be worth about $20 billion, a decline of about 70% since 1996, according to Finnish authorities.
That’s down from a peak of $100 billion in the late 1990s, when the industry had about $80 billion in revenue.
“We were already losing the business,” says Dr. Vassilis Eriksson, a professor of public health at the University of Helsinki.
“The last three years we have been struggling to find any business that was willing to invest in the country.”
The decline began in earnest with the financial crisis of 2008-2009.
As the world economic crisis unfolded, Finland’s diamond mining sector, which employed some 6,000 people, was devastated.
But the downturn didn’t start until 2015.
The decline was particularly acute in the mining industry in northern Finland, which was hit particularly hard by the global recession.
“It was a period of economic crisis in the industry, and the industry was not able to find a solution,” says Eriksons colleague Dr. Tero Ojanen, who studies mining industry health.
Ojanens team, including researchers at the Nordic Institute for Population Health, found that the downturn affected workers at both the mines and the mine owners.
They also found that health problems were rising, particularly among the women working in the mines.
“As a result, the risk of contracting infectious diseases increased,” said Dr. Jari Ojanoen, a lead author of the study.
“There were also concerns about the effect on workers of the mine dust on their health, and there were concerns about contamination from the mines,” said Ojanonen.
But as the industry struggled, so did health problems.
The diamond industry lost its health inspectors in 2017, which made it hard to monitor worker health.
In the past, the industry has hired independent inspectors who are tasked with ensuring safe working conditions.
But that’s not the case anymore.
In 2018, the Finnish government banned the use of paid health inspectors.
Instead, it relies on voluntary reporting, which means employers can submit their own health reports.
In 2016, Finland became the first country to ban mining without a health inspector.
“This was a really big step forward,” said Erikson.
But Eriksen said the industry is still facing a major challenge in terms of its ability to provide adequate health care.
“I’m very disappointed by what happened,” he said.
“Because the mines are working and the mines were profitable, the health system was able to do its job.
But it was not always as it should have been.”
Eriks on working with mining companies “If I have to leave the mines, it will be because of the health issue,” said Ekko Ojanonen, the mine owner.
“But I’m doing what I can.
If I have time I’m going to be at work.”
Eikko says the mines will be able to keep the staff healthy.
“What I do is I take the mine workers to the hospital.
If they have any problems, I talk to them,” he told the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.
But he added that the industry’s health problems are worsening.
“Some of them are not only serious, but they’re quite serious,” he explained.
“They have to take medications and they need to wear masks.”