Finland is one of Europe’s larger producers of nickel, gold, chromite, copper and zinc. Currently, mining only accounts for 0.4% of the country’s GDP.
Since Finland became a member of the EU in 1995, it has enjoyed a constant exploration interest with as many as 10 companies operative in the country, exploring for diamonds, PGE’s, gold and base metals.
Outokumpu has been one of Finland’s major metals producing companies, operating gold and base metal operations in Finland. A decision in late 2001 has resulted in Outokumpu divesting itself from all of its base metal mining operations, including the newly refurbished Pyhäsalmi mine, one of the largest and oldest base metal mines in Finland. The life of this operation has been extended by an additional 10 years following delineation of additional resources at depth. It produces 9 500t copper, 31 000t zinc and 770 000t of pyrite each year (all in concentrate). Outokumpu have completed negotiations with Canada's Inmet who have purchased the facility.
Outokumpu also operates the Kemi chromite mine - the contents of chromite in upgraded lumpy ore and metallurgical grade concentrate are 36 % and 44% respectively. Production from the Kemi mine feeds Outokumpu's integrated steelworks.
Finland has several geological terrains that are prospective for gold discoveries. Current gold exploration activity has been focused on the Lapland Greenstone Belt and the Archaean Greenstone Belt of eastern Finland. Gold deposits are similar to those found on the Canadian Shield, Australia and Zimbabwe. Finland's gold resources are documented in FINGOLD, a public domain geoscience database containing all known gold showings and deposits.
Local company Riddarhyttan AB are evaluating the Suurikuusikko gold deposit located in Kittila that has a resource of 8.3 Mt grading 6.2 g/t gold.