Mining investments increased, ore prospecting declined
Mining investments increased by as much as 42% in 2019 compared to the previous year, up to EUR 525 million. In contrast, ore prospecting investments dropped by eight per cent to EUR 62.8 million. In the annual survey of companies in the mining industry by the Fraser Institute, Finland reached 2nd place in the attractiveness for investments. The information is available in the current mining authority review published by the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes).
“The last time investments in mining activities reached such a high level was in 2011. With regard to mining activities, especially the mines of Kevitsa, Kittilä and Kemi operating in Lapland made significant investments, a total of EUR 458 million. Kevitsa prepares for an increase in the amount of ore produced with the investment. Kittilä and Kemi are investing in a mine shaft that enables more efficient production even deeper than before, says Terho Liikamaa, Head of Unit, Mining Authority, Tukes.
At the same time as the investments in mining activities increased, the total mining volume of mines operating in Finland decreased by 12% down to 115.1 million tonnes. The extraction of ore and quarrying also decreased by nine per cent down to 44.6 million tonnes.
The safety of mines has developed in a positive direction: according to the reports, accidents suffered by employees and contractors continued to decrease.
Last year, 46 companies reported to Tukes about ore prospecting. All companies operating in Finland are looking either primarily or secondarily for gold. Copper and nickel are the most sought after of base metals. With the growth perspectives in battery technology, interest in cobalt in particular has grown.
“In ore prospecting, a structural change of operators can be seen. The ore prospecting investments and number of kilometres drilled decreased, but the research investments are focused even more strongly in areas, where there is not much advance information about the bedrock,” Liikamaa says.
“Ore prospecting in the initial (grassroot) or slightly more advanced (greenfield) phase is much riskier than studies near old, known ore bodies and mineralisations (brownfield). Exploration at these sites requires a longer-term financial investment as well as versatile technical expertise. During the last few years, large, international mining giants have started funding junior companies,” Liikamaa continues.
Last year, landowners were paid EUR 4.5 million in exploration fees, of which the Finnish state-owned company Metsähallitus received a significant share as a major landowner. The size of an exploration area that grants the right to ore prospecting has remained nearly constant (approx. 1,800 km2) for the past six years. More than 70% of ore prospecting is focused on Lapland.
“In the survey by the Fraser Institute, Finland’s mineral potential was estimated to be the 4th most attractive in the world, while the policy climate of the country won 1st place. Companies appreciate the predictability of the Finnish permit system with regard to processing the mining and exploration permits as well as the quality of data on the Finnish bedrock. The mineral potential and the stable operating environment as a society raised Finland to 2nd place in overall points,” Liikamaa notes.
Tukes is the competent mining authority in Finland. The public notice documents and decisions on pending applications can be found on the website.
The application situation and the valid permit areas with their information can be found in the map service (in Finnish).
The amounts excavated in 2019 by mine can be found in Tukes’s Exploration and mining industry statistics 2019 (in Finnish).
Head of Unit Terho Liikamaa, tel. +358 29 5052 117
Mining: Senior Specialist Ossi Leinonen, tel. +358 29 5052 205
Ore prospecting: Senior Officer Ilkka Keskitalo, tel. +358 29 5052 151