Like many countries with vast mineral potential, Finland has revised its mining laws to encourage greater foreign investment in mineral exploration and development.
The Finnish Mining Act and Mining Decree date from 1965, but it was not until 1994 that they were amended to attract foreign participation, particularly from countries in the European Union. The most significant amendment was the introduction in 1996 of the Mineral Titles System, which improves the processing of applications and assessment of land available for exploration and exploitation. The amendment also allows foreign companies to acquire mineral rights, provided they have an administrative base in the country.
Prior to 1994, virtually all exploration in the country was conducted by either the Geological Survey of Finland or resource giant Outokumpu, their main goal being to locate raw materials for industry.
In recent years, however, exploration for gold has increased, particularly in northern and eastern Finland.
Among the Canadian companies that have taken advantage of the country’s new investment climate are William Resources (WIM-T) and Glenmore Highlands (GMHA-A).
Vancouver-based Glenmore Highlands holds the Haveri gold and base metals property, 185 km northwest of Helsinki.
Exploration on the property, which began 18 months ago, includes ground and airborne geophysics, 5,200 metres of diamond drilling and the evaluation of more than 5,000 pulp reject samples from old cores. Gold-copper mineralization at the project is hosted in volcanic massive sulphides.
Previous mining, primarily for copper, lasted from 1942 to the early 1960s.
Gold mineralization occurs in two geological environments. In one, high grades are said to be concentrated in siliceous zones a few metres wide in altered felsic volcanics; in the other, low grades have been detected in sulphides, which form stringers and groups of semi-massive to massive lenses.
Four zones of mineralization exist at the 12-sq.-km property, including Haveri Mine, Haveri North, Tombstone and the near-surface Peltosaari.
Glenmore has tested the Peltosaari zone with trenching, and diamond and percussion drilling. Electromagnetic surveys indicate the zone is part of a magnetic and conductive structure measuring 700 metres long and 50 metres wide.
Drill results include 9.85 metres (from 200.40 to 210.25 metres) of 5.56 grams gold per tonne and 8.94 metres (from 165.35 to 174.29 metres) of 6.03 grams. Channel sampling returned an average grade of 3.81 grams over 42 metres, including three higher-grade zones (each 7 metres long) of 4.86 grams, 9.14 grams and 4.01 grams.
At the Haveri Mine area, wherein lies the past producer, drilling by the company confirmed that high-grade gold zones exist at a depth of 210 metres.
That program returned 6.3 metres grading 6.85 grams, including 4.44 metres of 9.44 grams, 0.99 metre of 11 grams and 0.85 metre of 25.7 grams.
The Haveri North area had not been explored before Glenmore began its work, which consisted of two holes. Hole R7 returned 18.2 metres (from 11.37 to 29.57 metres) of 2.28 grams (including 5.8 metres of 4.96 grams) and 19.4 metres (from 173.2 to 192.6) of 1.85 grams (including 1.3 metres of 6.11 grams). Over its entire 339-metre length, hole R7 averaged 0.65 gram. Hole R8 returned 99.28 metres (from 163.87 to 263.15 metres) of 1.97 grams, including 1.05 metres of 33.4 grams and 9.4 metres of 6.3 grams.
Diamond drilling on the Tombstone zone returned 37.75 grams over 3.15 metres, including 1.23 metres of 89.27 grams. The intersection is part of a 600-metre-long zone of magnetic and conductive anomalies, which have received little testing.
Glenmore will soon begin delineating resources at these zones. Dewatering of the mine is expected to be completed by October.
Toronto-based William gained a foothold in Finland in late 1996, when it acquired Terra Mining of Sweden, operator of two gold mines — the Bjorkdal in Sweden and the Pahtavaara in Finland.
At Pahtavaara, situated 30 km north of Sodankyla in the Lapland greenstone belt, proven and probable reserves stand at 1.8 million tonnes 3.06 grams gold per tonne, equivalent to 179,433 contained ounces.
Mineralization occurs in a talc-chlorite alteration zone up to 100 metres wide. The structure is described as a typical splay and is related to a major east-west-striking shear zone. Coarse-grained gold is hosted in quartz-barite zones up to 10 metres wide.
Production at the mine began in June 1996, with plans calling for the excavation of 550,000 tonnes of ore at a stripping ratio of 5.2-to-1, yielding 36,000 oz. gold by year-end.
Little drilling has been conducted in the vicinity of the mine, though a summer program, designed to test the down-plunge extension of the ore zones, did return encouraging values. Selected results from five holes include: n 7 metres (from 157 to 164 metres) grading 6.6 grams over a true width of 7 metres and 10 metres (from 210 to 220 metres) of 11.7 grams over a true width of 9.7 metres;
n 6 metres (from 202 to 208 metres) grading 10.7 grams over a true width of 5.6 metres and 8 metres (from 213 to 221 metres) grading 4.8 grams over a true width of 6.8 metres;
n 5 metres (from 279 to 284 metres) grading 2.3 grams over a true width of 4.4 metres and 4 metres (from 292 to 296 metres) grading 5.4 grams over a true width of 3.5 metres;
n 2 metres (from 220 to 222 metres) grading 5.7 metres over a true width of 1.9 metres; and
n 3 metres (from 227 to 230 metres) grading 6.7 grams over a true width of 2.7 metres.
William intends to carry out more drilling in an attempt to increase reserves and extend the mine life, now estimated at two to three years.