Mining industry expects
Helsinki (26.03.2013 – Heikki Jokinen) The
mining industry is increasingly becoming an important sector of the Finnish
economy. This is felt also in the Metalworkers' Union where some 1,500
miners are organised.
Last year the Association
of the Finnish Extractive Resources Industry (FinnMin) conducted a survey
concerning future prospects among 58 companies working in mining. Among the
survey’s findings it is estimated that within the next ten years, along with
expansion, a total number of 5,600 people will be employed in mining - an
increase of 150 per cent in comparison with the existing situation in the 48
companies that replied to the survey.
The greatest demand for
mining workers will be in the northern parts of Finland. There are plans -
but no decisions as of yet - to open some new mines there. And the big mines
in northern Sweden are also planning to employ more people than today.
The Canadian think tank
The Fraser Institute recently published its annual Survey of Mining
Companies. The report ranked provinces, states and countries according to
the extent that public policy factors encourage or discourage investment.
Finland is now the most
attractive place in the world for investment, followed by Sweden, Alberta
(Canada), New Brunswick (Canada) and Wyoming (United States). Data is
collected from 742 mining companies around the world.
The ranking was based on
aspects like uncertainty concerning the administration of current
regulations, environmental regulations, legal system, taxation,
infrastructure, labour and skills supply, political stability and
According to the Finnish
Ministry of Employment and the Economy plans to open or enlarge 10 - 15
major mines are currently under consideration. This would mean investments
of up to 4 billion euro and construction work at these mines should proceed
in the years 2013 - 2017.
However, one notable
feature of the Finnish mining industry is the lack of domestic investments.
Foreign ownership is the most common pattern. Canadian companies in
particular have a strong foothold in the Finnish mining industry.
Records show that the
Finnish mining business has enjoyed healthy profits overall in the last year
with global demand for metals at an all time high. There is also a lively
political debate on introducing a special tax for mines to keep bigger share
of profits in Finland.
But the environmental
effects of mining have also been the subject of much robust debate in
Finland ever since the Talvivaara nickel mine experienced a leak at the
mine's gypsum holding ponds late last year. The two-week run off of
unprocessed wastewater in November into the surrounding area has caused
serious concern. In March 2013 officials found a high level of uranium in a
near-by small lake and the issue is now under investigation.