The Finnish company Karhu Mining Oy, backed by the British company Firestone Diamonds, are aiming to establish the first diamond mine in Europe in Lahtojoki, about 30km east of the city of Kuopio in eastern Finland. According to the Finnish broadcasting corporation Yle, Karhu Mining has applied for a mining patent survey from the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency Tukes, which is the first step in the process to open a new mine.
The four-hectare open-pit mine is planned to operate for eight years. With production aimed to start in the second year, the mine will process about 600,000 tonnes of ore from a total annual extraction of 1.9 million tonnes.
Interest in Finnish diamonds
The first diamond discoveries in Lahtomaki were made in the late 1980s when the biggest diamond discovered measured 4.3mm in diameter. Karhu Mining took a 2000 tonne sample from the Lahtojoki area in 2005 of which 500 tonnes were processed at the Outokumpu laboratory of the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), which offers sampling, sample processing and other exploration services for diamond exploration companies.
According to GTK, other companies involved in diamond exploration in Finland since the 1980s include Ashton Mining Ltd, RTZ Mining & Exploration Ltd, Finsearch Oy ( De Beers), Glenmore Highlands Inc. (ASE), Conroy P.l.c., North Star Diamonds A.S. (Poplar Resources Inc., VSE), Baltic Minerals Finland Oy, America Mineral Fields Inc. (TSE) and Archangel Diamond Corp. These companies have not released any information concerning their success.
Sources: Yle, Tukes, GTK