Finland was a late bloomer, in terms of gold exploration. It was not until 1868 that exploration commenced in the region, some 2000 years later than the rest of Europe. Now, an under-explored country, a stable political environment, and well-developed infrastructure are attracting explorers to the region. Present activity is concentrated in gold, platinum group metals, base metals, diamonds and industrial minerals.
Finland has a diverse geologic history, which has led to the creation of hundreds of gold deposits of a variety of ages and mineralization styles. In the past, gold production in Finland was principally as a by-product from the mining of paleoproterozoic base-metal massive sulfide deposits. This situation has changed during the last decade with the closure of some base metal mines and the commencement of production from recently discovered, gold-only deposits.
Gold mineralization occurred during distinct episodes of crustal evolution in Finland. During the Archaen, greenstone belts with low grade copper-cobalt nickel massive sulfides formed. The formation of volcanic arcs, which were later wedged-up adjacent the Karelian craton (called accretion) led to massive sulfide mineralization, which created low grade (0.1 to 1.0 ppm), but large gold deposits. Within the accretionary setting the Tampere schist belt in southern Finland formed, which is host to the Kutemajärvi gold deposit. The Kutemajärvi gold deposit was mined in 1994-2003 when it produced 13 t gold from 1.4 Mt of ore, and was reopened in June 2007. It is owned by Dragon Mining and now operates under the name of The Orivesi Mine.
Most of the gold occurrences in Finland are congruent with the rest of the Baltic shield, however, in Northern Finland, within the greenstone belts of Central Lapland there are a few deposits with atypical mineral assemblages. They are similar to the gold-only deposits found across the region, however, they host significant enrichment with copper, cobalt, nickel and even uranium.
The areas with greatest potential for the discovery of new gold deposits in Finland are the late Achaean and Paleoproterozoic greenstone belts in eastern Finland and Lapland. There is also potential for discovery of iron oxide-copper-gold systems in the western Central Lapland greenstone belt.
The Central Lapland Greenstone Belt is a greenstone belt located in the northern part of the Fennoscandian Shield. It is considered one of the most promising areas for gold discovery in Finland. The mineral deposits in this region contain varying amounts of sulphides and sulpharsenides as well as gold.
The iron oxide-copper-gold deposits of Central Lapland
These deposits are a significant potential source of copper, and gold. These deposits are very large in size, and have controversial origins. Iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) deposits de?ne a group of diverse, economically significant copper-gold deposits. BHP Billiton's (NYSE:BHP) Olympic Dam in Australia is an example of a world-class IOCG deposit.
A sample of miners and explorers
Canadian based company, currently developing its 100% owned Hannukainen Iron Oxide-Copper-Gold project in Finland, in addition to other projects in Sweden
Headquartered in Sweden, the company's focus is exploring for gold and other metals, and to establish mining operations. To date, Nordic Mines is running projects in three areas in Finland and three in Sweden.
Owners of the famous Kittilä mine, also known as Suurikuusikko mine, in the Lapland Province of Finland. Kittilä is one of the largest gold mines in Europe, with proven and probable gold reserves of more than 4 million ounces. For 2011, it is estimated that production will be 150,000 ounces. The mine is anticipated to remain in production through 2024.
Dragon Mining owns three properties in Finland, The Jokisivu Gold Mine, The Orivesi Gold Mine, and The Vammala Production Centre. The Jokisivu Gold Mine is located 40 kilometers south west of the Vammala Production Centre and hosts a Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resource totaling 356,300 ounces. At The Orivesi Gold Mine, mining of The Sarvisuo Ore Lodes commenced in April 2008 with ore being processed at the Vammala Production Centre 80km to the southwest. The Vammala Production Centre is located in the Sastamala region in southern Finland, 165 kilometers northwest of Helsinki. This region is well endowed with gold and nickel mineralization.
Nortec Minerals Corp. is a Canadian company focused on mineral exploration and development in Finland, Canada and Ecuador. Nortec's projects in Finland include a 100% interest in a Palladium-Platinum-Gold-Copper-Nickel Property and a Lithium-Tin-Tantalum Property. The Company has an agreement to earn 100% interest in both an exciting under-explored Gold district and in a Rare Earth Elements project in western Finland.