RE1 Mining

>> Background information



Finland?s bedrock is mainly old folded rocks such as granite. On the average the bedrock is quite acid ? only 0,1 % of the area is calcareous rocks. There are less than ten calcareous deposits in the southwestern, eastern and northern parts of the country.

Calciferous carbonate was quarried in 18 mines in 2012. The amount of carbonate production increased till the beginning of the 1990s. During the economic recession the production was lower, but in the 2000s the carbonate production has again reached the top figures of 1980s, over six million tons per year. Most of the carbonate mines are open-pit mines.

Metal mining was steady a long period after 1990, but in 2008 the production started to increase rapidly. In 2012 metal production was almost 20 million tons, over sixfold the amount produced in the beginning of the 2000s. There are 12 metal mines in Finland, four of them are open-pit mines, eight underground mines. The metal quarrying is expected to rise in near future. There are 10?15 initiatives for new mines or mine extensions.

Industrial mineral production was higher than metal mining until 2008, when the metal production peak started. Mineral production has nonetheless risen quite steadily since 1990. Mineral mines are all open-pit mines so the environmental effects are greater than in metal mines. The production of one mine, Siilinjärvi apatite mine, covered over 80 % of all industrial mineral production in 2012.


Impact on biodiversity

The effects of mining to the biodiversity vary a great deal by the metal or mineral type and the mining practice.  Metals are usually mined deep from the bedrock and the mines are mostly underground, so their effects to organisms are not enormous.

On the other hand most minerals are quarried in open-pit mines and locally the effects to biodiversity can be quite vast. Especially limestone, soapstone and phosphorous apatite mines might be a serious threat to species that have adapted to rocky and esker habitats.

Geographically speaking most effects of mining industry take place in the eastern part of Finland where all soapstone mines, one carbonate mine and the only apatite mine are located.


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