Best Practices for Mineral Exploration Reservation Applications and communication in Finland
Exploration in sensitive regions, like in lake region or reindeer herding areas, requires additional foresight and planning by the exploration company as well as proactive engagement with municipalities and stakeholders, preferably before submitting a reservation application to TUKES. The company should be familiar with the area of interest and pay attention on the special characteristics of the area.
For instance, the more people live or the more cottages and freshwater areas are located in the area, the more detailed the reservation areas should be. Reservations should cover only the areas of interest and oversized reservation should be avoided. Communication should start immediately when reservations have been submitted, the sooner the better.
During the reservation phase, company should evaluate not only mineral prospectivity, but also local opinion, social and environmental concerns.
Without contacting municipalities and associated stakeholders, it is likely that the project will encounter widespread opposition throughout following project stages. Without stakeholder cooperation and feasible environmental strategy, the project will be difficult to advance further regardless of the investment size. Prolonged opposition may also cause negative effect to the general public acceptance of exploration and mining in Finland, which can then eventually lead to further tightening the related legislation.
Open communication will benefit all parties, the company, stakeholders and municipalities.
Some examples of best practices for preparing exploration reservation application in Finland:
- Clip out large towns
- Clip out large water bodies, National parks and World Heritage sites
- Use a buffer around aforementioned areas
- Such areas that cannot be included in the exploration permit application (Mining Act 621/2011, Chapter 2, Section 7), should be left out from the reservation areas
- Release a statement alongside the reservation application explaining what kind of work will be conducted, preferably in Finnish
- Contact the municipalities immediately after or before filing the application
- Name a contact person, not just a legal shell address in Helsinki etc.. Someone who can comment the project in Finland.
In addition, the Finnish Network of Sustainable Mining has prepared a Standard for Sustainable Exploration. It is highly recommended that exploration companies use these guiding principles and protocols. (Kaivosvastuu – Network approves new standard for sustainable exploration)