Exploration

The purpose of exploration is to locate and explore a deposit containing mining minerals by means of geological, geophysical, and geochemical investigations and sampling. A deposit refers to such concentration of mining minerals in bedrock that has potential financial value for mining activity.

In practice, an operator doing exploration takes samples of soil and bedrock by means of, for example, test hole drilling, for the purpose of analysing the size and quality of a potential deposit.

Exploration may be based on prospecting work, the landowner's consent, an exploration permit or a mining permit.

An operator doing exploration needs an exploration permit from Tukes if

  • exploration cannot be carried out as prospecting work;
  • the property owner has not given consent to exploration;
  • the operator wants to ensure a priority for exploiting the deposit;
  • exploration could cause any harm to people’s health or general safety, damage to other industrial and commercial activity, or any deterioration in value related to the landscape or nature protection values;
  • the exploration is targeted at locating and exploring a deposit containing uranium or thorium.

You can check the situation related to currently valid exploration and mining permits on the Mining Register Map Service (Select Layers, Exploration layers, Mining Registry). The map service is updated every two weeks.

Exploration permit

An exploration permit does not authorise exploitation of the deposit, but it gives the permit holder a priority for a mining permit. A mining permit authorises exploitation of the deposit. The prerequisites for granting a mining permit are related to the deposit being exploitable in terms of size, ore content, and technical characteristics.

An exploration permit gives the permit holder the right

  • to conduct exploration on the permit holder’s own land and that owned by another landowner, or exploration area, in the area referred to in the permit;
  • to explore the structures and composition of geological formations;
  • to conduct other exploration in order to prepare for mining activity;
  • to conduct other exploration in order to locate a deposit and to investigate its quality, extent, and degree of exploitation, as provided for in more detail in the exploration permit;
  • to build, or transfer to the exploration area, temporary constructions and equipment necessary for exploration activity, as specified in more detail in the exploration permit.

The exploration permit does not limit the property owner’s right to use the area or to govern it.

Applying for an exploration permit

You can apply for an exploration permit by submitting an application for an exploration permit to Tukes. Parties eligible to apply for an exploration permit include companies registered in the European Economic Area or persons living in the European Economic Area. (Mining Act 621/2011, section 31).

For the purpose of preparing an application for an exploration permit, an applicant may reserve an area for himself. The reservation can be made by submitting a notification to Tukes about the matter. A priority based on reservation notification is valid once the reservation notification including the information on the person submitting the reservation notification, the area being reserved and preparing an application for an exploration permit and no impediment exists, as specified in the Mining Act, to approval of the reservation.

The person who first applies for an exploration permit in accordance with section 34 of the Mining Act (Mining Act 621/2011) is given priority with respect to the granting of the permit. Include in the permit application all verifiable clarifications required with respect to consideration of the permit in all sections of the application.

Applying for an exploration permit

  • Fill in all sections of the electronic exploration permit application (Exploration permit application form in PDF format).
  • If necessary, contact the persons responsible for exploration permits and reservations at Tukes (Contact information page on tukes.fi). 
  • Submit the application with the required attachments to the address kaivosasiat (at) tukes.fi or to the Rovaniemi office of Tukes (Contact information page on tukes.fi).

If the reservation notification or exploration permit application is incomplete or fundamentally flawed, a fully completed application by another applicant to the same area may be given priority over a flawed application.

Extending the validity of an exploration permit

Tukes may extend the validity of an exploration permit for a maximum of three years at a time, in such a manner that in total, the permit may remain valid for a maximum of 15 years.

The prerequisites for extension of the validity of an exploration permit are that

  • exploration has been effective and systematic;
  • further research is necessary in order to establish the possibilities for exploiting the deposit;
  • the permit holder has complied with the obligations laid down in the Mining Act as well as the permit regulations;
  • extension to the validity will not cause an undue burden to public or private interests.

Applying for extending the validity of an exploration permit

  • Fill in the exploration permit application, i.e. the same form that is used for applying for an exploration permit Fill in every section of the application for extending the validity of an exploration permit, including items 10.1–10.3.
  • If necessary, contact the persons responsible for exploration permits and reservations at Tukes (Contact information page on tukes.fi). 
  • Submit the application with the required attachments to the address kaivosasiat (at) tukes.fi or to the Rovaniemi office of Tukes (Contact details page on tukes.fi) .

Compensation and collateral

The exploration permit holder shall pay annual compensation, or exploration fee, to the owners of land included in the exploration area.

The annual amount of the exploration fee per property shall be:

  • 20 euros per hectare for each of the first four years of validity of the exploration permit;
  • 30 euros per hectare per year for the fifth, sixth, and seventh year of validity of the exploration permit;
  • 40 euros per hectare per year for the eighth, ninth, and tenth year of validity of the exploration permit;
  • 50 euros per hectare for the eleventh and for further years of validity of the exploration permit.

The exploration permit holder shall compensate for any inconvenience and damage caused in the exploration area by activities based on the Mining Act, unless otherwise provided concerning the compensation as regards a specific measure.

The exploration permit holder shall deposit collateral for the purpose of offsetting potential damage and inconvenience and performing after-care measures. The exploration permit holder shall deposit collateral, unless this is deemed unnecessary by Tukes in view of the quality and extent of operations, the special characteristics of the operating area, permit regulations issued for the operations, and the applicant’s solvency.

The collateral is permit specific. The collateral must be made as a bank deposit to Tukes and from it Tukes may pay the costs to fulfill neglected obligations set in the permit.

The amount of collateral shall be revised, if necessary, when the mining permit is revised in accordance with section 62, or the exploration permit, mining permit and gold panning permit is amended in accordance with section 69, or the validity of permits is extended in accordance with sections 61, 63 or 65 of the Mining Act. Tukes may revise the amount of collateral, when the permit holder applies for extension of the validity of a permit, exploration methods change or the permit holder changes.

The collateral shall be deposited with Tukes. Tukes may pay from the collateral the costs necessary for performance of the obligations laid down in the Mining Act, or the permit in question.

Tukes shall release the collateral when the permit holder has fulfilled the obligations laid down on the permit holder in the exploration permit.  Partial release of collateral is also possible.

Exploration in brief

Locating and exploring a deposit
The purpose of exploration is to locate and explore more closely deposits containing mining minerals by such means as test hole drilling.

Exploration permit
An exploration permit gives its holder the right to make exploration surveys on his own land and that owned by another landowner, and a priority for exploiting the deposit possibly found.

Mining Register Map Service
The Mining Register Map Service shows the currently valid exploration permits.

Applying for an exploration permit
Fill in the permit application and submit it to Tukes. For the purpose of preparing a permit application you may reserve an area for yourself by submitting notification to Tukes about the matter.

Extending the validity of an exploration permit
You may apply for extending the validity of a permit for a maximum of three years at a time.

Exploration fee and collateral
The exploration permit holder pays an annual compensation (exploration fee) to the owners of land included in the exploration area. In addition, the exploration permit holder deposits collateral.

Material

Tukes and GTK briefing: Overview of exploration and mining activities and licensing in Finland 19th May 2020

Review of mining authority on exploration and mining industry in Finland Terho Liikamaa, Tukes

Mineral exploration - Companies feedback on the situation at the moment / Tukes´ pros & cons of the permitting process Ilkka Keskitalo, Tukes

Mining Law reform Riikka Aaltonen TEM

Local peoples perceptions about mineral exploration, Tentative results from Next-project interviews and survey in Ylitornio and Rovaniemi Leena Suopajärvi, University of Lapland

The importance of accumulating Geological Data for Finland Jukka Jokela AA Sakatti Mining Oy

GTK Geodata and network service Taina Eloranta GTK and Jouni Vuollo GTK

Presentation of Mineral Cluster Survey Joonas Hokkanen ja Heikki Savikko, Ramboll Finland Oy

VN TEAS review, Geodata and their acquisition price Pekka Tuomela GTK