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Ore exploration is decreasing, but minerals are being sought from a larger area than ever before

18.3.2016 8.30
Press release

Ore exploration operations in Finland continued to fall in 2015, as the amount of drilling conducted by exploration companies decreased compared to the previous year. Despite this drop, ore exploration in 2015 was conducted all over Finland and covered an even larger area than before. This data can be found from the mining statistics published by the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes).

– It seems that with regard to ore exploration, the worst downturn is now over. As the area covered by ore exploration activities continues to rise, mining companies are demonstrating their faith in the mineral deposits held within Finland’s bedrock. The area covered by land with ore exploration permits is increasing because these companies do not want to forfeit their opportunities for capitalising on potential deposits, estimates Head of Unit in Tukes, Terho Liikamaa.

Altogether 42 companies submitted their ore exploration reports to the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency last year. Of these, the ten largest companies invested around 94 percent of overall investments into ore exploration.

Total amount of extracted material in mines on the increase

Contrastingly, the total amount of material extracted from mines operating in Finland started to increase in 2015. The overall amount of extracted materials increased by 19 percent compared to the previous year, with excavation of ore and other utilisable minerals increasing by 12 percent. However, compared to previous years, there were fewer investments made into mines.  

– As no new mines are being established, the level of investment has been rather moderate. Instead, existing mines have focused on enhancing production, which is evident in the increase in mined quantities. In particular, the expansion of Kevitsa Mine and commencement of mining operations at Talvivaara Mine last year were largely responsible for the increase in extracted amounts compared to the year before, tells Liikamaa.

Appeals have iterrupted ore exploration in Natura areas

The processing of ore exploration permits is no longer hampered by a backlog. For instance, the processing of a permit application for ore exploration conducted on forestry land can now be expected to be completed in even less than three months.

However, ore exploration in Natura areas has been halted by appeals filed with the Administrative Court and Supreme Administrative Court.

– If these permitted ore exploration operations in Natura areas had not been appealed, we could probably expect drilling activities to be on the rise today. There are currently two interesting mineral deposits that are located within Natura areas: The ore exploration site in Sodankylä managed by AA Sakatti Mining Oy and the Ylitornio site held by Mawson Oy, Liikamaa adds.

Tukes is the competent mining authority in Finland. Ongoing hearings and decisions related to mining matters in Tukes can be viewed on the website. Applications and currently valid permits can be found from the Mining Register Map Service.

Applications and permits for ore exploration can be found in English from the register maintained by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK): Mineral Deposits, Exploration (Layers/Exploration layers/Mining Registry).

Further information available from:

Mining Statistics 2015 (pdf)

Terho Liikamaa, Head of Unit, tel. +358 29 5052 117

Ilkka Keskitalo, Senior Officer, Ore Exploration, tel. +358 29 5052 151

Ossi Leinonen, Senior Officer, Mining Operations, tel. +358 29 5052 205

email format: [email protected]