The significance of the mining industry in Finland has changed in recent decades. The emphasis has shifted from supporting mineral-based domestic value chains towards acting as part of the internationally highly networked production system of raw materials and the information society. This development has been influenced by the EEA Agreement of 1994 bringing freedom of action to foreign companies to operate in Finland, free international trade, a strong growth in demand for raw materials in the 2000s, the growth in significance of the management of environmental impacts, the strong digitalisation of society and breakthroughs in communication. The importance of the mining sector has also increased in political activities, civic activism and research funding programmes in the EU and in Finland during the 2000s.
This publication examines these changes from the perspective of mining sector, by focusing on societal and technical themes, both of which are relevant to the future development of the sector. It also seeks to identify future trends that will have an impact on the industry. In the section focusing on societal issues, the means of political control related to the mining sector are examined, the actors in the sector are specified and the role of stakeholder co-operation and civic activism in the formulation of the ‘social license to operate’ of the sector is discussed. The technical section is focused on ore exploration and the processing technology of mines, as well as environmental management. The publication helps to identify interdependencies between markets, political guidance, actors in the mining sector (such as companies, authorities, stakeholders and civic activism), environmental management, technological development and large-scale challenges in the mining sector (such as climate change and the scarcity of raw materials).
The strong development of the information society has affected the mining sector in particular, with diversified communications and stakeholder cooperation channels, as well as improved modelling techniques and capacities. In addition, increasing requirements have been set for the acting mining companies and authorities in the 2000s in the form of environmental management and social responsibility. This is due to communication channels having diversified and functioning in real time, leading to increased visibility of the issues in the mining sector, as well as the activity of NGOs and the media being critical towards mining. In the long term, the increased technical difficulties in mineral exploration and the mining industry, such as the reduction in the concentrations of commodities, leading to increased mining of ores that require special quarrying and processing techniques as well as an increase in gangue, bring challenges and opportunities to improve process technology and to reduce the negative environmental and social impacts. Moreover, the impact of climate change on the opening of the Northeast Passage transit routes and on local weather conditions (such as an increase in precipitation), as well as the constantly growing interest of consumers in the origin, environmental impact and ethics of products, are likely to be increasingly reflected in the competitive position of mining projects, in the technology utilised and in stakeholder activities. These themes are also reflected in the mineral policy of the EU and Finland and in recent research funding programmes.
|Geological Survey of Finland
|Number of pages
|Published - 2015
|MoE publication type
|D4 Published development or research report or study
|Tutkimusraportti - Geologian Tutkimuskeskus
- Environmental effects
- Mineral exploration
- Mineral policy
- Mining industry
- Public policy
- Sustainable development