Amended Mining Act to strengthen citizen influence, economic prospects and environmental aspects
The Government proposed amendments to the Mining Act on 8 September 2022. The amendments will improve the opportunities of influence among local residents and increase business prospects and environmental considerations.
“The reform of the Mining Act is part of a larger package. We are in the middle of a major energy transition that aims to achieve a more sustainable future. We need critical minerals that can be processed into high-quality technological products. Improving self-sufficiency in minerals is a key objective both at national and European level,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.
The proposal would improve local residents’ opportunities to exert influence and increase acceptance of mines. A prerequisite for granting a mining permit is a plan approved by the municipality. More consideration must also be given to other sources of livelihood in the area. It is proposed that the prerequisites for extending the validity of an exploration permit be tightened to strengthen the position of the property owner and to reduce the harm experienced by area residents.
In addition, the draft bill proposes that the right of access to information be improved by organising public events annually. The proposed amendments to the regulation of reservations include a new tax-like fee for the reservation area and a shorter reservation period.
Although the changes will incur additional costs for mining operators, they may balance competition within the sector. Stricter regulation will reduce the number of unreliable operators in the sector, which also benefits those who comply with the rules. The reservation fee is estimated to discourage operators from reserving unnecessarily large exploration areas, which will improve the competitive position of other companies.
Improvements to environmental protection
To improve the level of environmental protection, the proposed amendments to the Mining Act include more consideration for issues related to the environment, biodiversity and landscape in permit consideration. The draft bill proposes more stringent regulation on securities and amendments to regulation on termination of mining activities. The gradual closure of a mine will be taken into account better than before during the mining operations, and the mine’s final closure will be carried out responsibly.
To further improve the level of environmental protection, the Government parties have agreed to prohibit ore exploration in national parks and strict nature reserves and to introduce stricter conditions for exploration in other nature reserves on state lands. These proposals are included in the Government proposal for the Nature Conservation Act.
Reforming the Mining Act is included in the Government Programme of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government. The amendment has been prepared by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, together with the relevant stakeholders.
The Act is due to enter into force on 1 March 2023.
Eeva-Maija Puheloinen, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7084
Hannes Torppa, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, tel. +358 295 047 405