Sodankylä wants to be the forerunner of sustainable mining. As the sector grows, the regional authorities are preparing to zone a new industrial area that serves the mining industry. The mining service center would create room and opportunities also for new businesses.
Several sectors are seeing strong growth in Lapland. As regards long-term trend development, the mining industry has recorded even stronger turnover and personnel growth than other industries. The sector is particularly significant in Sodankylä, where the mining industry employs about a quarter of the region’s labor force and is also the largest employer in the private sector.
Companies and jobs in Sodankylä are available e.g., in geophysics research, training and laboratory operations, in addition to mining and ore finding companies and the industrial subcontracting companies serving them. The region also has tourism related to mining operations, such as the amethyst mine in Lampivaara, Luosto, and the Tankavaara Gold Village and Gold Prospector Museum.
Sodankylä is in the middle of the so-called Central Lapland greenstone belt, and currently two metal ore companies operate in the area: Boliden Kevitsa (copper, nickel, PGE) in Sodankylä and Agnico Eagle Suurikuusikko (gold) in Kittilä. The area also has several significant ongoing mining projects at various stages and ore finding operations are becoming increasingly active. Additionally, rare earth metals and battery minerals are sources of new potential.
Demand for new sustainable operators
The Sodankylä region has significant mining potential, both nationally and even on a European and global scale. With its mining program, the municipality wishes to maximize the benefits related to mining operations and minimize the risks and detrimental effects in the area. As forerunners of mining operations, the regional authorities want to create locally sustainable practical solutions and innovative operational models.
One of the new opportunities is the industrial area serving the mining industry, which is being built on the southern side of the Sodankylä urban area. The surface area of the new construction area being built is about 45 hectares, and it could be zoned into about 15–20 industrial plots with an average size of one hectare. The number of plots, their size, purpose of use and placement would be decided during the zoning plan process.
In discussion with the industry’s companies, it has become clear that the demand for new operators supporting the mining industry will also continue in the future. Boliden has decided to invest €90 million in the expansion of the Kevitsa mine’s concentration plant. Furthermore, Agnico Eagle Finland Oy will invest €160 million in Kittilä’s gold mining operations and build a mining shaft with a depth exceeding one kilometer.
Now, operators in Sodankylä believe that this kind of mining service center could create room and opportunities for new businesses in areas including premises, devices, services and competence that serve mining operations and ore finding.
Sodankylä invites companies to take part in the planning
Mining producers and enrichment, recycling and refining plants as well as service producers and device suppliers will form a company network around the mineral raw materials. The decision on whether the new industrial area will house halls, a storage or office hotel or plots for the needs of different companies is fully in the hands of the companies interested in settling in the area.
Information on the needs and hopes of different mining and ore finding companies is currently being reviewed, but mining coordinator Janne Laine emphasizes that feedback and contacts are welcome from all operators interested in the mining center concept.
“Ore finders prefer to buy local services and they also need a wide range of services as well as devices and professionals from different fields, such as car services, lumberjacks, excavator drivers and drilling workers as well as accommodation and recreational services, to name but a few. It is a challenge to us to ensure that these international operators can find the local services quickly by browsing the internet on their cellphones. A mining service center of the future could also be a digital platform that would make it easy to find the regional operators.”
This service network already has a name: Finnish Mining Services Sodankylä.
- Municipality of Sodankylä
- Development of mining and industrial services, Janne Laine, tel +358 40 524 5360, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Business Development Coordinator Mika Uusitalo, tel. +358 40 179 5790, email@example.com