Mining in Finland - overview
Finland is generally considered to be an attractive investment and operating environment for the exploration and mining industry. There is potential for new discoveries because exploration is currently undertaken on a small-scale basis or not at all. In contrast to many other countries, Finland also has many high-class geological databases available on the internet. The infrastructure and availability of skilled subcontractors and labour is generally considered to be good. In addition, the public sector provides many services for the mining and exploration industry that would, in other countries, incur large costs.
Reservation, exploration and mining permits are granted by the Mining Authority, being also responsible for the supervising and enforcing compliance with the applicable legislation. All mining operations are subject to the requirements of Finnish environmental legislation and mining is only possible if the applicant is granted an environmental permit.
A reservation is often a preparatory action for obtaining an exploration permit. A reservation right does not provide additional rights as compared to the right based on the generally applicable public right of access. Holders of reservations will have priority to get an exploration permit (which will be valid for two years, following which the reservation must be renewed or will expire. Reservations cannot be transferred, and there is no minimum expenditure requirements in respect of reservations (as no exploration may be carried out on them). However, a mandatory government fee for the rendering of the reservation is payable.
Exploration permits are granted on a first-to-file basis by the Mining Authority, taking into account that a reservation gives priority. The term of the exploration permit is up to four years with three year extensions and a total term limited to fifteen years. The permit holder generally has the right to conduct geological surveying and other research necessary for establishing the location, shape, orientation and exploitability of a mineral deposit.
Mining permits are also granted on a first-to-file basis by the Mining Authority. However, exploration permit holders have priority to the mining tenement. As a general rule, a mining permit is granted until further notice, but sometimes for a fixed term. If a mining permit holder does not own the surface rights to the mining area, the mining permit holder has to pay an annual excavation (compensation) fee to the landowners.