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Mineral exploration increased, mining investments remained high in 2022

Publication date 24.3.2023 9.12 | Published in English on 24.3.2023 at 15.22
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Investments remained high in the mining industry, and extraction operations increased in Finland in 2022. Keliber Technology Oy started preparations for mining operations at the Syväjärvi mine. Mineral exploration began to increase in Finland and globally, accelerated by the metals required for the green transition. This information is indicated in the current mining authority review published by the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes).

Extraction operations are reported by 22 companies at 44 mines. In 2022, companies invested EUR 304 million (down by 2% from the previous year) in activities to extend the lifecycle of mines. The most significant investments were made in the Kevitsa, Kittilä, Kemi, Terrafame and Siilinjärvi mines. Keliber Technology Oy started preparations for mining operations at the Syväjärvi mine.

The extraction of minerals and dimension stone totalled 49.6 million tonnes, showing an increase of 3.5% from the previous year.   The total extraction volume of mines increased by 3.4% from the previous year to 119.4 million tonnes.  The three largest mines – Terrafame (42.9 million tonnes), Kevitsa (36.4) and Siilinjärvi (23.3) – accounted for 86% of Finland’s total extraction volume.

The nature of mineral exploration has changed

Last year, 54 companies reported mineral exploration operations to Tukes. In Finland, companies invested EUR 80.4 million in mineral exploration (up by 17.4% from the previous year). The 15 largest companies accounted for 80% of total mineral exploration costs. Drilling spanned 274 km (down by 2.2% from the previous year).

Mineral exploration is increasingly taking place in Lapland, accounting for 81% of all mineral exploration in Finland.  The increase in mineral exploration is accelerated by the metals required for the green transition and the increase in gold prices driven by financial uncertainties.
Finland has potential deposits of gold and the metals required for the green transition, all of which are being sought.

-  Finland’s mineral exploration investments are at the same level as in the peak year of the China boom in 2012. However, the nature of mineral exploration has changed. During the China boom, exploration was mainly carried out in well-known deposits, and several significant mines were opened in Finland, including Talvivaara, Kevitsa and Kittilä. Over the last ten years, exploration has mainly focused on areas with only a little information available about potential mineral deposits. “In the initial (grassroot) phase, exploration is much riskier than near old, known mineral bodies and deposits (brownfield). This type of exploration is expensive and time-consuming, and requires greater risks from investors. Grassroot exploration is increasing,” says Terho Liikamaa, Head of the Mining Unit at Tukes. 

Last year, landowners were paid EUR 5.9 million in exploration fees, of which the Finnish state-owned company Metsähallitus received a significant share as a major landowner. The size of the exploration area that provides the right to mineral exploration is 2,581 km2 (up by 25% from the previous year). 

The safety of mines has developed positively: according to reports, accidents suffered by employees and contractors continued to decrease.

Tukes is the competent mining authority in Finland. Announcement documents and decisions on pending applications are available on the Tukes website (in Finnish).

The application status and valid permit areas with data are available in the map service.

Current mining authority review 2022 (pdf, 595 kb)
The 2022 extraction volumes by mine are available in Tukes’s exploration and mining industry statistics 2022 (pdf, in Finnish, 114 kb)

More information:
Terho Liikamaa, Head of Unit, tel. +358 29 5052 117
Mining: Ossi Leinonen, Leading Specialist, tel. +358 29 5052 205
Mineral exploration: Ilkka Keskitalo, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 29 5052 151
[email protected]

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