Exploration and the EIA procedure

Exploration and the EIA procedure

Under the provisions of the Mining Act, exploration can be carried out, if the activities do not cause damage or anything more than slight harm or disturbance. . Exploration is subject to a permit granted by the mining authority (exploration permit), if exploration cannot be carried out as prospecting work or the owner of the property has not given their consent for exploration.

Exploration is commenced by conducting regional investigations, which are surveys in nature and may cover wide areas. Such investigations include bedrock, soil and geophysical surveys (for example, low altitude surveys), as well as various geochemical surveys ranging from regional to wide areas in scope. An exploration permit alone is insufficient to allow exploitation of a deposit, but the holder of the permit has the priority for a mining permit in the exploration area.

In the early phases of exploration, the environmental impact is usually minimal, and, for example, activities carried out during a uranium exploration phase normally give rise only to an insignificant environmental impact resulting from radiation. The radiation effect created by drilling differs only negligibly from that created by drilling a bore well or from other drilling activity related to exploration for ores or minerals. Drilling does not raise the level of background radiation.

Test mining and dressing are subject to supervision by STUK. Test dressing of uranium requires a further permit as stipulated by the Nuclear Energy Act.

Environmental impact assessment

The environmental impact assessment procedure of mining projects is stipulated by the Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure (EIA) Act. The environmental Impact Assessment Procedure seeks to provide information on the environmental impact of a mining project and its alternatives. The information thus produced is helpful for the project responsible in the planning of the project; it provides the authorities with a power of decision in the matter with a foundation on which to base their decision-making; and it encourages participation of the various communities, residents and other stakeholders. This procedure is aimed at supporting the project planning process and at according a greater weight to the various environmental aspects.

The environmental effect assessment procedure seeks to foresee potential, significant environmental effects, preventing them from occurring and mitigating them when they do occur. it also directs the necessary precautions in a direction where they address the right issues.