Mining and the industries and services related to it play a significant role in the Finnish national economy and central government finances. In order for mining operations to be carried out successfully in Finland, it is necessary to take into account their economic, ecological, and social sustainability.
The National Audit Office has compiled an overview of mining activities in Finland, the mining policy steering them, and the ongoing legislative reforms.
The authorities have an important role in regulating and licensing mining operations, as well as in producing information. Furthermore, mining-related research and development activities are financed from public funds. The state-owned Finnish Minerals Group develops the battery value chain of electric cars and has made the state again a significant owner in the mining industry.
As a rule, the experiences gained from the Sustainable Mining Network, which is based on self-regulation, and the mining responsibility system developed by it have been positive. It would be important to consider updating the national strategies and action plans on mining and mineral policy and, at the same time, to coordinate them and the various EU strategies more clearly.
So far, circular economy solutions in mining have been primarily individual experiments. The circular economy solutions may be related to, for example, the reuse of materials, the utilization of by-products, or the extension of the life cycle of mining infrastructure. The experimenting could be expanded and promoted, for example, by piloting new solutions, public procurement, and the productization of materials.
In connection with the ongoing reform of the Mining Act, the aim is to promote operating models that enable mining operators to achieve the local community’s approval, i.e. the so-called Social Licence to Operate.
A number of regulatory reforms related to the environmental responsibility of mining activities are currently underway. These reforms could reduce the state’s financial liabilities in situations where the polluter is unable to pay for remedying the problems.