11.11.2010

Finland publishes new minerals strategy

Finland’s mining industry is expected to be a major economic success story in the future, according to the new strategy.

Finland is a global leader in the sustainable utilisation of mineral resources and the minerals sector is one of the key foundations of the Finnish national economy. This vision for the year 2050 is part Finland’s new minerals strategy, which was presented to Mauri Pekkarinen, Minister of Economic Affairs, on 8 October 2010.

The strategy includes action proposals for developing the minerals sector. These include strengthening the minerals sector, securing the supply of raw materials, reducing the environmental impact of the minerals sector and increasing its productivity, and strengthening R&D capabilities and expertise.

Finland’s diverse mineral resources represent a significant part of the Finnish national wealth. Finnish expertise and innovations in the minerals sector also have a significant global impact, through the provision of exploration and mining equipment and processing technologies and services. Effective utilisation of Finland’s mineral resources secures the supply of raw materials and creates the prerequisites for balanced and sustainable regional development far into the future. Through its expertise in the minerals sector, Finland can also actively promote a global minerals economy that is both efficient and socially and environmentally responsible, as well as generate new international business opportunities.

With regard to many critical metals and minerals, Europe is heavily or fully reliant on imports, so that disruptions in availability and supply can pose a significant risk. In the autumn of 2008, the European Commission published the Raw Materials Initiative, where one of the objectives was the promoting the utilisation of the EU’s own raw material resources.

From the perspective of minerals policy, this emphasizes the significance of Northern Europe, which has the continent’s most promising minerals potential. Sweden and Finland are also the engines of the European mining industry in terms of the volume and technological level of their mining activities, as well as leaders in mining expertise and equipment manufacturing. For example, 70-90% of the technology required for underground mines comes from Finland and Sweden, regardless of the location of the mine.

The systematic and sustainable utilisation of Finland’s mineral resources secures the supply of raw materials and creates the prerequisites for balanced regional development far into the future. Through its expertise in the minerals sector, Finland can also promote a global minerals economy that is both efficient and socially and environmentally responsible, as well as generate new international business opportunities.

Mining differs from other industries in that the locations of the mines are determined by geological factors. Unlike other industries, the activities cannot be moved to countries with lower costs. New mines have been opened in Finland in recent years, especially in East and North Finland. The volume of metal ores is forecast to increase many times over by the end of this decade. At the same time the mining sector is creating long-term jobs for decades to come.

The minerals strategy has been commissioned by Finland’s ministerial group for climate and energy policy. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy tasked the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) to undertake the project, where Research Director Pekka Nurmi, Research Professor Raimo Lahtinen and Chief Researcher Saku Vuori were in charge of its implementation. HMV Public Partners was a consultant to the project. Alpo Kuparinen, Industrial Counsellor at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, has been the chairperson of the project steering group.