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Industrial Minerals and Rocks in Finland

In 2006, industrial minerals and rocks were mined from 34 mines/quarries in Finland. These, together with the 4 natural stone quarries included in the Finnish Mining Law, account for 25.71 Mt of mined rock, of which 16.22 Mt ore, ~81.8% of all ore mined in 2006 from mines and quarries (44) regulated by the mining law in Finland.

Active mines and quarries (map)

Crystalline limestones have been utilized by industry in Finland for well over 100 years, beginning with lime production, and later production of cement, fillers, and paper pigments. Large good quality limestone deposits in Lappeenranta, Parainen (Pargas), Lohja and Kerimäki will continue to supply raw materials for several decades, for even the most sophisticated end products such as paper pigments. Nordkalk Oyj Abp (owned by a Finnish investors’ group) is the larger of the two quicklime producers (in 2006, total production in Finland was ~710 000 metric tonnes), and the dominant producer of agricultural limestone and dolomite (in total ~657 000 t). However, to meet its production and quality needs, limestone and dolomite were also imported from its fully or partially owned deposits in Sweden, Norway and Estonia. Since 2002, SMA Saxo Mineral Oy (owned by SMA Svenska Mineral AB) produces quicklime in Tornio, close to its prime client, Outokumpu Stainless Oy. The limestone is transported from Gotland. In addition to quicklime, SMA Saxo Mineral Oy also produces agricultural dolomite and lump quartz in Finland. Juuan Dolomiittikalkki Oy is a small agricultural dolomite producer in E Finland.

In 2006, the Finnish paper industry used ~ 1.2 Mt (dry) of ground calcium carbonate (GCC), of which slightly more than a half was produced in Finland by Suomen Karbonaatti Oy (Nordkalk 51 %, Omya Oy 49 %) in Lappeenranta and by Omya Oy in Förby. Omya bought part of its raw material from the nearby underground limestone mine (Karl Forsström Ab). This source is gradually being replaced by limestone transported from other deposits, esp. from Nordkalk’s Tytyri mine in Lohja. Nearly half of the GCC used in the Finnish paper industry was imported as slurry from Omya’s Molde plant in Norway. A competing CaCO3-pigment, precipitated CaCO3 (PCC), was mainly manufactured from quicklime burned from French and Norwegian limestones. In total, about 480 000 (dry) tonnes of PCC were produced in 7 plants in Finland by J.M.Huber Finland Oy and Specialty Minerals Nordic Oy (4.7 % owned by Nordkalk), daughter companies of two major US producers. In 2006, Huber sold its on-site PCC plants, except the largest one in Finland, to Omya. This Kuusankoski plant is now owned by Schaefer Kalk. In 2006, 4.28 Mt of carbonate rocks were mined from 17 mines/quarries. All of these Finnish limestones and dolomites are in fact Precambrian (ca. 1900–2000 Ma) calcite and dolomite marbles. All chalk used in Finland, in 2006 ~ 25000 t, was imported.

Carbonate rocks mined in 2013

Large scale production of other industrial minerals did not begin in Finland until the late 1960's with the start of flotation-based talc production, and increased sharply in 1979 when apatite production commenced in Siilinjärvi. In 2006, there were 12 other industrial minerals open pit mines/quarries in operation that produced ca. 11.46 Mt of ore (apatite, talc, quartz, feldspar, mical). This figure includes two very small quarries operated for lapidary and gem materials (amethyst, beryl), but not limestone and dolomite mines/quarries and quarries of silicate rocks mined for rockwool (4; ~ 280000 t) and cement industries (1, ~ 21400 t), and for soapstone fireplace manufacturing (4; ~185000 t). All these commodities are included in the Finnish mining register (see Mining legislation).

By far the largest industrial minerals mine in Finland is the Siilinjärvi mine (Kemphos Oy), which produced 9.81 Mt of apatite ore, from which ~ 860 000 tonnes of apatite concentrate were recovered as the main product for fertilizer production, as well as the by-products, carbonate based products (~135000 t) for other agricultural/environmental uses. Mica concentrate production, ~ 8000 t, for mica pigment and other purposes, is owned by Swedish-based Minelco Oy. Gypsum, a by-product of Siilinjärvi's phosphoric acid (~ 290 000 t P2O5) production, is gaining market share as a paper pigment (~ 105 000 tpa). Raw materials for these products are mined from the Archean (2609 Ma) Siilinjärvi carbonatite. Kemira also has mining rights to the Sokli deposit, a large, as yet unmined regolithic phosphorus deposit in NE Lapland which was formed by weathering of the surface portions of a Devonian (368–362 Ma) carbonatite.

Other industrial minerals mined in 2013

Finland is the biggest talc producer in Europe, globally the 4th, and also a significant talc exporter. Altogether in 2006, ~ 1.27 Mt of talc ore were mined from 5 open pit mines in E Finland. Mondo Minerals Oy, owned by Omya, is the sole talc producer. 547 000 tonnes talc concentrate and 14000 tonnes nickel concentrate were produced by flotation from processed soapstones and talc schists. About half of this talc production was used in the Finnish paper industry. Luzenac Suomi Oy, owned by the world's largest talc producer Rio Tinto Minerals, is in the planning stage of developing a mine and talc production at Alanen, Sotkamo. This deposit was discovered and outlined by GTK. The soapstones, of which talc ores are mined in Finland, are metamorphosed ophiolites, ca. 1970 Ma old. In 2006, soapstones were also quarried from 4 Archean deposits by two companies (Tulikivi Oyj and Nunnanlahden Uuni Oy), producing ovens and other fireplaces. Their "ore" production totaled ~185000 t, of which ~ 50300 t of final products (mainly fireplaces) were made.

In 2006, SP Minerals Oy Ab, a subsidiary of the Belgian Sibelco Group, mined ca. 337500 tonnes of quartz and feldspar ores in E and SW Finland, Nilsiä and Kemiö, respectively. They also produced feldspar from the Lapinlahti anorthosite, the rock sold by Paroc Oy. Production of feldspars amounted to ~ 58 000 tonnes. Quartz production by SP Minerals Oy Ab and SMA Saxo Mineral Oy totaled ~ 169300 t. The quartz ores are quartzites (ca. 2000 Ma), and feldspar ores include pegmatites and pegmatitic granite (1810–1830 Ma).

In Lappeenranta, Nordkalk produced 16200 t of wollastonite concentrate as a by-product of calcite flotation. The majority of the wollastonite products are exported and used by the ceramic industry in the EU.

The Pori sulphate process TiO2-pigment plant (Kemira Pigments Oy) imports all its raw materials and produces approximately 130 000 tonnes a year most of which is exported. In recent years, GTK has discovered and investigated several ilmenite deposits in Kälviä and Halsua, W Finland (see: Sarapää et al. (2001), Geological Survey of Finland, Special Paper 31, 31–40). These deposits can be classified as mafic (gabbro or gabbronorite) intrusion hosted magmatic titanium ores. Koivusaarenneva, Peräneva and Kairineva have been acquired by Kalvinit Oy, which is evaluating the possibility to start mining. In S, SW and W Finland, GTK continues exploration for carbonate rocks, especially calcite marbles suitable for paper pigment production. Two of the investigated deposits, Norrlammala (Västanfjärd) and Hyypiämäki (Kisko) were acquired by Omya Oy. Results from GTK's industrial minerals and rocks exploration are available on the GTK Exploration news page.

The Finnish paper industry currently uses about 1.2 Mtpa kaolin, which is all imported. Between 1986–1992, GTK carried out an extensive survey to locate domestic paper grade kaolin deposits.These investigations resulted in the delineation of some remarkable Mesoproterozoic (ca. 1180 Ma) kaolin deposits in Virtasalmi, but to date none of these has been developed. In 2006, the production of paper and paperboard in Finland was 14.1 Mt. Consumption of paper pigment minerals for this production was ~ 3.2 Mt (dry). In 2005, Finland was the world's 6th largest producer and third largest exporter of paper and paperboard.

Besides GTK’s exploration for carbonates, ilmenite, and to a smaller extent kaolin (especially in SE Lapland), there have in recent years also been activities on some rarer industrial minerals and rocks, such as Li-, Ta- and Nb -bearing minerals, aluminium silicates (kyanite, andalusite), and anorthosites, of which the exploration for Li in W Finland (Ullava-Kaustinen area) is in the active phase.

The cement plants owned by the Irish CRH, and operated by Finnsementti Oy, in Parainen and Lappeenranta use local calcite marbles and small amounts of amphibolite and diabase. In 2006, their total cement production was about 1.68 Mt. The amount of imported cement grades was ~ 393 000 t, and clinker ~ 96000 t. Other industrial rock users are the rockwool plants of Paroc Group Oy Ab (owned by Arcapita private equity fund) in Parainen, Oulu and Lappeenranta. They use gabbro, amphibolite, diabase, anorthosite and sometimes also domestic dolomite marble. In 2006, a significant portion of these, ~ 216 000 tonnes of crushed silicate rocks, were exported to other Paroc's rockwool plants around the Baltic Sea.

Industrial rocks mined in 2013

SKJ Companies Ltd, a daughter company of Rautaruukki Oy, processed and marketed 878400 t slags from steel production for ground works and road construction, cement and concrete industry, and agricultural purposes. The production of pyrite concentrate from Pyhäsalmi mine Oy (Inmet Mining Corp.), mainly used for Kemira's sulphuric acid production, was 512000 t in 2006.

In summary, a part of the industrial minerals and rocks production data is shown here.

Last updated: 14.11.2014



Industrial Minerals and Rocks deposits on the map

Mineral Deposits and Exploration