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Discovered and undiscovered mineral resources: Evolving accounts and future prospects of minerals in Finland


  • M. Kivinen

    (Geological Survey of Finland)

  • J. Pokki

    (Geological Survey of Finland)

  • M. Markovaara-Koivisto

    (Geological Survey of Finland)


Minerals are natural resources requiring accurate investigation and planning of extraction prior the actual mining stage. National and regional mineral resource inventories would benefit from adding more detail beyond tonnage, grade and location, when evaluating both current and potential future mineral wealth. In this paper, we consider the effect of information, time and project cycle on the mineral resource inventories for Finland. The research is forward-looking, and thus, we include the identified (but not mined) portions of discovered mineral resources and also the estimated undiscovered mineral resources (terminology based on the United States Geological Survey mineral resource classification). In addition, we consider how other types of land use limit mineral exploration. The studied metals were Cu, Ni, Zn, Cr, Fe, Au, Ag, Pt and Pd. The identified mineral resources of all of these metals increased from 2008 to 2015, driven by exploration and development at already known mineral deposits and mine sites. The results show that continuation of mine production is relatively well supported by currently profitable resources (i.e. ore reserves) in active mines and via development projects in the pipeline. In addition, a significant amounts of resources are still inferred to be discoverable for Pt, Pd, Cr, Au and Cu. A quarter of the mineral potential areas are reserved for land uses that restrict but not necessarily prevent mineral exploration. A share of identified resources occur in deposits that are not feasible for mining or interesting enough for exploration and development today. Our study demonstrates that identified resources become usable within different time periods. Knowledge of mineral resources and their usability is constantly changing, and even though mineral deposits are non-renewable, known mineral resources can be increased by exploration and mine planning processes.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Kivinen & J. Pokki & M. Markovaara-Koivisto, 2018. "Discovered and undiscovered mineral resources: Evolving accounts and future prospects of minerals in Finland," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 31(3), pages 301-317, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:31:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s13563-017-0131-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s13563-017-0131-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Willi Haas & Fridolin Krausmann & Dominik Wiedenhofer & Markus Heinz, 2015. "How Circular is the Global Economy?: An Assessment of Material Flows, Waste Production, and Recycling in the European Union and the World in 2005," Journal of Industrial Ecology, Yale University, vol. 19(5), pages 765-777, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kivinen, Mari & Eilu, Pasi & Markovaara-Koivisto, Mira, 2021. "Mineral futures in land-use planning: Foresight tools and case studies in Northern Finland," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).

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