Stakeholder relations focused on sustainability and education co-operation
Stakeholder work continued active throughout the year at various events and during visits. Towards the end of the year, a stakeholder survey was also carried out, and closer co-operation with educational institutions was started to reach out to future talent.
During 2018, a strategy for stakeholder co-operation was prepared as part of the development work carried out under the sustainable mining standard. In line with the strategy, Terrafame openly informs its stakeholders about its values, targets and achievements, as well as strives to take account of stakeholder expectations. Identifying stakeholders' expectations for responsibility was also set as the basis for future development work.
In late 2018, Terrafame carried out an electronic survey to find out what stakeholders consider to be the most relevant areas of responsibility in the company’s operations. More than 70 people responded to the survey, with more than two-thirds of the respondents being residents of the Kainuu region. In addition to the company’s personnel, the most active groups of respondents were service providers and product suppliers, local policy-makers, and educational and research institutes.
Based on all the responses, the most important topics were the company’s emergency response capabilities, as well as crisis management and communications. There was also a high priority for the safe use of chemicals, as well as occupational health and well-being.
Other issues of responsibility that the respondents found to be of high priority included the management and reduction of emissions to water bodies, using the best technology available and meeting the regulations and requirements. In personnel matters, the focus was on the prevention of inappropriate treatment as well as on fair and equal opportunities.
The exchange of ideas continued in many contexts
The neighbouring localities of the industrial area within a radius of approximately 12 kilometres are a particularly important stakeholder group for Terrafame. Observations are gathered from the neighbours for operational improvement. Terrafame in turn provides advance information for its neighbours who have provided their contact information about the metals production plant’s ramp-ups and shutdowns, as well as about rescue drills. In 2018, also a safety bulletin was sent to the neighbours and, as usual, open discussion events were held, which included introductions, discussions and production demonstrations.
In addition to the neighbouring municipalities, the local executives and administration representatives from Kokkola, Kannus and Kaustinen municipalities, for example, visited Terrafame. In return, visits were made to the surrounding municipalities to give presentations on topics such as uranium recovery. The national associations from which Terrafame received visitors included, for example, electricity and media sector associations.
Over the course of the year, more and more partner companies and other equipment suppliers and service providers requested permission to use Terrafame’s name in their marketing. Many of them prepared articles and other materials on the work they carried out for Terrafame. In principle, such requests were welcomed.
Terrafame's own experts, on the other hand, gave presentations on the company's development work and views in particular at engineering and logistics seminars.
Students and schoolchildren are talent for the future
After the decision to invest in the battery chemicals plant, co-operation with educational institutes was activated in late autumn. Co-operation with institutions of higher and vocational education aims to keep young people and others interested in education and training in the Kainuu region and attract people from other areas to the region.
During the year, more students and schoolchildren than before visited Terrafame. For example, Terrafame was visited by students of technology at the University of Oulu. Busloads of secondary school pupils from the Kainuu region arrived at Terrafame for the technology industry’s nationwide Technology Tuesday event in November. In the summer, the company was visited by Zinc College participants from around the world.
The new concept for EIA events was well received
In the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment organised public events on Terrafame’s uranium recovery plans in Sotkamo and Kajaani in Finland, which were also attended by representatives of Terrafame. Later on the environmental impact assessment procedure (EIA) for the future battery chemicals plant was launched, which was the topic of two public events held during the year.
A new approach was introduced in the public events for the battery chemicals plant. After the introductory speeches, people had a chance to visit info points and talk to experts face-to-face. These events received positive feedback from the local residents.
Themes which Terrafame's stakeholders consider to be the most relevant areas of responsibility in the company’s operations.