About Finland

  • Straightforward mining legislation
  • A European Union member
  • Member of Euro zone
  • World leader in business competitiveness
  • Excellent infrastructure
  • Mining culture and metallurgical expertise
  • Geology identical to Western Australia

In a Nutshell

Finland is a mining-friendly country within the European Union that offers the exploration industry a favourable investment and operating environment with significant potential for new discoveries – many commodities are still very much under-explored. Finland is also close to major markets and has processing facilities for many minerals.

Current activity is concentrated on gold, platinum group metals, base metals, diamonds and industrial minerals. Finland has excellent geological databases, good infrastructure, progressive mining legislation and readily available exploration services.

Finland has been a member of the European Union since 1995. It has an advanced industrial economy based on exports, with the metals, engineering and electronics industries accounting for 50% of export revenues and the forest products industry for another 30%. As a result of this industrial base, infrastructure is well developed over the entire country, even though many areas are only sparsely populated. Finland has 5.2 million inhabitants, but they are spread out over a country that is the seventh-largest in Europe (338,000km2), giving a population density of only 17 persons/km2. Some of two thirds of the population live in urban areas, and the other third reside in the countryside.

Finland is situated in northern Europe between latitudes 60o and 70o North. However, the climate is mild and temperate due to the Gulf Stream – there are, for example, no tundra or permafrost areas in Finland. A quarter of its total area lies north of the Arctic Circle. Finland has common borders with Sweden, Norway and Russia and faces Estonia across the Gulf of Finland. Forest covers about 7% of the country’s surface area, making Finland the most heavily forested country in Europe, with 23 million hectares of forests. The approximately 190,000 lakes in the country cover almost another 10% of the land area and include some 180,000 islands.

Finland has one of the best performing economies in the European Union. This has largely been driven by the demand for mobile telephony (Nokia). Finland has enormous intellectual capital in this field. It offers a highly educationed population, sophisticated infrastructure and a western entrepreneurial outlook. English is now the first language in all Finnish schools and most people in Finland speak English, with varying degrees of fluency.

Country risk is minimal. Finland is a modern western country and a supportive and active member of the EU. Finland is a strong democracy with full participation in Europe. It was the only Nordic country to join the ‘Euro’ system on its initiation in 1999. Inflation is low (1.3% in 2004), corporate tax rate is 26% and GDP is growing at 3.8% p.a. Industrial activity is focussed on telecommunications, metals manufacturing and timber and paper manufacturing.

Finland is regularly in the top five of surveys of competitiveness of various national economies. There is no systemic corruption and Finland tops global surveys of corruption as the world’s least corrupt country.

Finland has a well developed mining act which is generally pro mining. Infrastructure is excellent with sealed roads to all country sectors and an extensive network of well maintained logging tracks. There are also a number of well serviced regional airports.

World Class Metals Industry

Finland has a long history of mining activity and metals production. Mining commenced in 1540 and since then about 270 metal mines have been in operation, the main commodities being copper, nickel, zinc, cobalt, gold, chromium, iron and vanadium. Mining has provided the raw material base for the country’s metal industry, with major processing and refining facilities for copper and nickel at Pori and Harjavalta (Boliden AB and Norilsk), zinc at Kokkola (Boliden AB), cobalt at Kokkola (OMG Inc), stainless steel at Tornio (Outokumpu Oyj) and at Raahe (Rautaruukki Oyj).

The major industrial minerals mined in Finland are carbonates, apatite and talc with processing plants for fertilisers, titanium pigments and coating carbonates and talc. Finnish metallurgical technology and manufacturers of mining equipment (Larox, Metso, Normet, Outotec, Sandvik-Tamrock) are well known throughout the international mining community.

Finland has a long history of mining, metal and mineral processing and mining technology with the geology similar to Canada, Australia and South Africa. Prior to becoming part of the European Union in 1995, foreign companies were prohibited from holding mineral rights in Finland and mineral exploration and mining was largely dominated by the State controlled Outokumpu company. Finland has therefore missed much of the competitive landscape of the mineral industry and the increased exploration activity that emerged in the mid 1980’s.

Outokumpu’s withdrawal from mining and the entry of Finland into the EU has only recently opened the country to all. The competitive landscape in Finland is now changing rapidly with numerous international companies active; Inco, BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Goldfields. The number of junior Canadian, Australian and UK companies is also increasing.

Mining Legislation

Rights under the Mining Law may be granted to every Finnish citizen or corporate body, to any resident of the European Economic Area (EEA) and to all foreign corporations and foundations established according to EEA laws and regulations. The Ministry of Trade and Industry also routinely grants rights under the Mining Law to individuals and corporate bodies from outside the EEA.

There are three types of mineral licences, reservations, claims and mining leases.

Claim Reservations cover an area up to 9km2 where a company has an exclusive right to peg mineral claims for 12 months. Reservations are not transferable. Once a reservation has been made over an area a further reservation cannot be made for a period of five years once that first reservation has lapsed.

Mineral claims may be pegged during the reservation period or in their own right without a reservation. They run for three years plus two one year extensions and have an annual rental of 16 Euro/ha with another fee of 10 Euro/ha to land owner. Mineral claims are transferable and give the holder all access and exploration rights. Mining Leases can only be applied for and granted if there is an identifiable mineral resource on the property and run for 10 years before extensions. An application for a mining lease must be accompanied by an environmental review.

There are no minimum expenditure requirements on mining leases or mineral claims and no royalties payable to the Finnish government, however a quarrying charge is payable to the freehold land owner. The amount payable to the land owner is negotiable and may be up to 1% of the value of the ore extracted though generally does not exceed 50c/t of ore.