Rupert Finland conducts mineral exploration in Ikkari deposit, Sodankylä, in the Lapland Greenstone Belt.
Photo by: Rupert Finland

“Excellent potential for mineral exploration in Lapland" – Rupert Finland drills in Sodankylä

In Sodankylä, in the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt, there is a high mineral potential, which Rupert Finland has taken an interest in and is currently exploring. Lapland is a first-class operating environment for mining and mineral exploration companies.

– The potential for mineral exploration in Lapland is simply excellent. It can already be seen by the number of companies that have shown interest, says Jukka Nieminen, CEO of Rupert Finland.

Rupert Finland Oy is part of the Canadian mining company Rupert Resources Ltd. The Finnish company Rupert Finland owns the Pahtavaara mine in Lapland and the Ikkari gold deposit in Sodankylä. The company currently employs 25 people.

Significant gold deposits in Sodankylä

Ikkari’s exploration project is progressing according to plans, says Nieminen. The company’s wish and objective are to establish a gold mine in Ikkari. Ikkari’s gold deposit is located in Sodankylä, approximately twenty kilometres from Pahtavaara mine.

The most recent observations of the Ikkari discovery are very positive. According to Rupert Finland’s initial mineral resource estimate, the prospect would have 3.95 million ounces of gold. It is a significantly sized gold deposit.

Pahtavaara mine is located in Sodankylä, in the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt, and the company purchased it from Lapland Goldminers’ bankruptcy estate in 2016. During its first five years of operations, more than two million tonnes of ores were mined at the Pahtavaara mine.

Rupert Finland published a new ore estimate for Pahtavaara in 2018. The mine’s potential was estimated to be 474,000 ounces of gold resources with an average concentration of 3.2 g/t. Nieminen says that no decision has been made on the restart of production but is still being considered.

The mine would be of great significance to the vitality of the region. The mine itself could create a few dozen jobs. Nieminen states that when plans are sufficiently far on, collaboration with the province’s educational institutes would be carried out to provide targeted training for the labour force.

In addition to workers, the Pahtavaara mine would increase the need for subcontractors, leading to more locals being employed. At the moment, Rupert Finland uses subcontractors for mineral exploration drills, sample studies and assistive tasks.

Rupert Finland conducts mineral exploration in Sodankylä, in the Lapland Greenstone Belt.
Photo by: Rupert Finland

Safe and stable Lapland

Mineral exploration in Lapland focuses particularly on the Lapland Greenstone Belt. The known gold deposits of the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt extend to Sodankylä and Kittilä. In addition to Rupert Finland, Boliden Kevitsa and AA Sakatti Mining operate in the area. For decades, the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt has interested mineral exploration and mining companies.

– It is an extremely ore-potential area, and for this reason, it is studied, says Nieminen.

Finnish Lapland is a stable, safe, and reliable business environment, which also benefits the mining industry. Nieminen considers that mining companies have a positive image of Lapland as an operating environment. However, the reform of the Mining Act is causing companies to wonder what effect it’ll have.

– If Lapland is compared to many other places, Lapland has extremely functional infrastructure, mobile phone networks, roads, electricity lines, and everything is relatively close. Moreover, the safety situation is excellent compared to most of the remaining world, Nieminen praises.

The companies in the industry have good relations, and they collaborate, for example, with communications. There is a good spirit of doing things in Lapland!

Due to the Arctic conditions of Lapland, the industry requires special expertise, which is certainly found in the province. For example, wetlands and wet soil drilling can only be carried out in the winter when the cold weather conditions cause challenges.

For example, drilling during harsh freezing conditions requires a special set of skills to ensure that the water used during the drilling process remains melted and the work remains safe and efficient.

– That’s probably the main reason everyone uses Finnish drilling companies, i.e., they have the machinery, equipment and skills to operate in freezing conditions safely.

Mine operators care about the sense of community

One of Rupert Finland’s objectives has been to increase local residents’ knowledge and awareness of mine operations. According to a survey published in 2017, residents of Sodankylä had a poor perception of the Pahtavaara mine due to the changes in ownership, and Nieminen wanted to change it.

Nieminen came up with the idea of the Malmimarkkinat event, which aimed to convene the residents and the mining companies’ representatives in the same place. At the event, the residents have the opportunity to visit the companies’ presentation stands and listen to short speeches. In addition, questions can be presented directly to the representatives.

The event was organised twice before the pandemic, and it was given a warm welcome. The event had approximately one hundred participants both times. Malmimarkkinat shall next be organised on the 23rd of April 2022.

Reform of the Mining Act

  • Finland’s Mining Act shall be reformed in the near future. The law proposal is intended to be processed by the Government in April 2022.
  • The reform of the Mining Act will strengthen the requirements of sustainable mining operations. Its objective is to improve the environmental protection and operating prerequisites of mines. The Government wishes to strengthen the local acceptance of mines and allow relevant parties to influence.