A 1987 photo of Estonia's phosphorite war featuring the «PHOSPHORITE NO GOOD FOR BREAD» slogan.

PHOTO: estonie-ilus-on-maa.over-blog.com

It's 30 years soon from the phosphorite war battles. The people rose up against plans to mine for phosphate rock in Virumaa. Scientists said it may have had destructive effects on environment and, due to influx of Russian-speaking foreign labour force, to the population structure. Not comparable to the War of Independence, the action did boost the national feelings with winds of perestroika glasnost helping along, thus culminating in the Singing Revolution and regained independence. 

Today, Estonia features interest groups advising to study the effects and profits of mining for phosphorite. Some are enthusiastic enough to think this is a goldmine. Others sense a political link back to the past to be employed as related to foreign labour.

But, hold your horses and think what we are fighting about!

«Fosforiidist saia ei saa!» (phosphorite no good for bread) chanted the protest slogans waived by Tartu students during the demonstrations. That being true today, we do desire a certain geological inventory to see what we have and could prudently use.

Technology has advanced and mineral recourses are no longer being brought forth with means dating back decades.

Exploration by the state must not equal the opening of a Pandora Box – not necessarily leading to mining. Sure, the public debate may lead to an Estonia a taboos state for phosphate rock. But it does not feel too reasonable.  

Also, the state we are living in is no USSR. As stated by the constitution: The natural wealth and resources of Estonia are national assets, which shall be used sparingly.

Meaning there are certain principles, boundary lines not to be crossed, but these must not become dogmas.

Meanwhile, many are puzzled by the phosphorite talk – why right now? True, scientists have warned of our mining research collapsing if we no longer dare to explore, to say nothing about digging in.

Even so, should a decision be made about any exploration, the public must be notified about all details. Seeing it is the lack of information that breeds the ideas that money closes the mouths of not politicians only, but also those of scientists.