About mineral exploration

The purpose of mineral exploration is to locate a deposit containing mining minerals, and to research it more specifically by means of geological, geophysical and geochemical research methods. A deposit refers to a concentrate of mining minerals existing in the bedrock, which may have potential economic value as a target of mining activities. In practice, the aim is to compile geological data taking samples, e.g. by test drilling, in order to find out about the quality and size of a possible deposit.

Exploration methods

The exploration methods applied by Grafintec Oy include bedrock and boulder mapping, geophysical airborne and ground surveys, deep drilling, and when necessary, small-scale exploration excavations off the rock surface. Depending on the geography of the exploration area, the most probable exploration methods are often geophysical measurements, bedrock mapping, soil sampling and deep drilling.

Geological characteristics

By using the different mineral exploration methods, the company attempts to identify the possible location of a mineral deposit, and to determine its geological characteristics. If the deposit proves economically mineable, a decision will be made on further actions, and on the possible mining permit application. All aspects will be considered at a stage as early as possible, and the company’s approach is to respect all interest groups, to act in co-operation with the local community, and to ensure the accountability of all actions.

Mineral exploration permit system

A mineral exploration permit grants the right to study the structures and composition of geological formations in the area for which the permit has been granted. Other researches and mineral exploration measures, to prepare mining activities, to track the location of the deposit, and to find out about its quality, extent and mineral potential may also be carried out in accordance with the terms of the permit.

A mineral exploration permit does not grant the right to mine a mineral deposit; it however, does grant the permit holder a pre-emption right to apply for a mining permit. The permit does not limit the right of the owner of the area to use their area or to determine about it. Necessary temporary constructions and devices may be built or transferred to the exploration area.

Mineral exploration permit system is divided into two very different entities:

  1. notice of reservation
  2. mineral exploration permit

By a notice of reservation, a party applying for a permit reserve themselves a pre-emptive right to apply for a mineral exploration permit. A notice of reservation shall not provide any other rights, which means that e.g. exploration works carried out during its validity are limited to the public access rights (see Mining Act 7 § Exploration work). For mineral exploration works subject to authorisation, i.e. ’heavier mineral exploration works’, a valid mineral exploration permit or the landowner’s consent is required. A notice of reservation may cover extensive areas.

Stages of mineral exploration

A mineral exploration permit is applied from the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), acting as the Mining Authority.  A mineral exploration permit shall be valid at the maximum for four years, and it is possible to apply for an extension period for it. The validity period of a mineral exploration permit, however, may be extended at the maximum three years at a time. A mineral exploration permit may be valid at the maximum for 15 years, if the grounds for continuing the validity of mineral exploration are fulfilled for this entire period. In this case, the permit periods are typically divided into years 4+3+3+3+2.

An up-to-date mining register is also maintained and updated by the Mining Authority. Information about valid decisions about mineral exploration permits and hearings can be found on the Website of the Mining Authority:

The reservation and permit areas can be viewed in the map service: https://gtkdata.gtk.fi/kaivosrekisteri/.

Guidebook for Exploration

FinnMin (Finnish Mining Association) has updated the Guidebook for Exploration on 1.11.2023 to reflect the legislative reforms affecting mineral exploration. The guide brings together useful information not only for companies, but also for stakeholders in mineral exploration, such as authorities, the media and interested members of the public. To reach a wider audience, the guide is now also available in English. See FinnMin announcement

Download Guidebook for Exploration 2023

Lataa Malminetsintäopas 2023