Työkalupakki: Malminetsintä

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  • 1. The purpose and use of the toolbox

    What is the toolbox and at whom is it targeted?

    The toolbox compiles existing guidance, practices and tools developed for exploration companies that can be used in the key areas of local-level stakeholder engagement at the various stages of the mining life cycle. Companies can select individual tools from the toolbox or use broader sections of its content in their operations. Important starting points for the toolbox have been Anglo American’s SEAT (Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox), as well as MAC’s (Mining Association of Canada) e3+ and the model for stakeholder engagement developed in the MiningAcademy and SAM (Sustainable and Acceptable Mining) projects.

    The toolbox of the Network for Sustainable Mining compiles guidance and information on local community and stakeholder interaction applicable in Finland. In addition, it offers various cases to illustrate good practices applied in exploration in Finland.

    Do you know any other good practices or interesting cases? You can propose additions to the toolbox by contacting the Network for Sustainable Mining (email: info@kaivosvastuu.fi).


    The Finnish Network for Sustainable Mining was established on 27 May 2014. The founding meeting decided to set up four working groups, one of which focused on collecting operating models and tools for good stakeholder cooperation into a single set of tools. The working group for local practices started its work in August 2014.

    At the early stages of its work, the working group identified key needs and objectives in the area of stakeholder cooperation in the mining industry, for which the toolbox was expected to provide guidance and tools. These objectives included the proactive nature of stakeholder cooperation, encouraging dialogue between various operators and increasing interaction between the mining company and its stakeholders, as well as the openness and transparency of mining activities.

    The toolbox provides guidance on the use of the Finnish Standard for Sustainable Exploration.

  • 2. Profiling the company’s operation

    The profiling of the company’s operation seeks to systematically describe the key information related to a specific exploration operation. The aim is to identify and record socio-economic issues and impacts. The company’s understanding of these issues and impacts will be further developed and enhanced during the preparation of the stakeholder engagement plan.

    Profiling helps to define the company’s policies on stakeholder engagement, communications, cooperation, feedback systems, etc. The company’s policy must be consistent with its values. The guidance provided on stakeholder engagement must be clear as well as approved and recommended by the company management. All employees involved in stakeholder engagement are provided with guidance in the same way and applying the same principles. Employees who work with stakeholders are trained. In addition, the company should have a Finnish website to support stakeholder engagement activities. As part of its stakeholder engagement activities, the company can produce a brochure on its operations that is distributed or sent to local households. The brochure should describe the company briefly and the planned activities clearly and simply as well as provide the contact details of designated contact persons.

    The profiling of operations covers all stages of the exploration process: enquiry, target scale surveys, including drilling as well as exit from the area (exit plan) or mine planning. Each of these stages has its own issues that need to be considered.

    The information gathered during profiling is useful for the assessment of issues and impacts, the evaluation of economic impacts, and the planning and assessment of existing Corporate Social Investment (CSI) projects. In addition, the information can be used in the development of the social management plan.

    Additional material

    The template for operation profiling  (in Finnish) is intended for the company’s internal use to aid the systematic identification and collection of information related to exploration activities.

  • 3. Mapping and profiling stakeholders and the local operating environment

    When mapping the local operating environment of the exploration activities, it is vital to understand the synergies between various operators and stakeholders and the practices involved. Local community acceptance for exploration activities can be promoted by information on where the key stakeholders of the area operate and what their interests are. Solid information on these issues can only be obtained on the spot, in interaction with the local stakeholders.

    This tool provides guidance on the requirements presented in the tool for assessing community outreach performance included in the Finnish Standard for Sustainable Exploration.

    • 3.1. Profiling the local area

      Before exploration fieldwork is started, geological, geochemical and geophysical data and material on the target area are studied. This is a preparatory measure of the enquiry stage preceding fieldwork.

      At the same time, the company and its geologists must preliminarily identify other special features in the target area. These include:

      • antiquities
      • nature reserves
      • cultural features
      • reindeer herding co-operatives and the Sámi (indigenous populations)
      • key stakeholders in the area
      • entrepreneurs and NGOs.

      Such information is easily available on the internet or in authorities’ databases (such as the OIVA database), for example. In order to obtain official information, the company should contact the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) of the region, or the Parks & Wildlife Finland unit within Metsähallitus. This preparatory work helps to study the spirit of the local community and any attitudes towards exploration as well as to anticipate any risks and avoid negative environmental and social impacts.

      If there have been environmental or other conflicts in the area, it can be expected that new ones may arise relatively easily, and due to exploration activities, for example. However, one should avoid forming prejudiced views on the area and the locality on the basis of the information and material collected. The material can be used to make assumptions on the social character of the area, but this may prove to be quite different in practice on the spot. This may lead to positive or negative surprises. It is important that activities and attitudes towards the local community are not governed by any prejudiced views based on the material.

      On site, during fieldwork and the related stakeholder engagement activities, it is possible to deepen knowledge of the area by interviewing local people and/or discussing with them. In addition, the municipal management must be contacted in good time.

      It is also important to define the operation’s zone of influence. It is used as a starting point for the determination of the local landowners and residents that are primarily to be contacted. In this regard, the most important stakeholders are those living within or near the area of operations.

      Additional material

      Preparing an impact profile (in Finnish)

    • 3.2. Stakeholder identification and stakeholder engagement plan

      In the mining industry, companies have stakeholders at several levels: local, regional and national. It is important to consider these all, but local stakeholder engagement activities are of special importance with respect to the acceptance of exploration activities (the social licence to operate).

      Certain significant groups of stakeholders can be found in Finnish localities throughout the country that should be given primary consideration. Local stakeholders include at least the following: the municipality (board, administration, council and committees), media (local newspaper and/or radio station), NGOs and other organisations (e.g. environmental, mineral collectors, hunting and forestry associations), residents, landowners and entrepreneurs (representatives of various sectors, especially tourism), as well as the Sámi and reindeer herding co-operatives in the north. In addition, other external parties may stay in the area temporarily that can also be regarded as critical stakeholders, such as holiday home owners and tourists. The company should have an individual approach for each group. By contacting these groups, the company receives information on other groups to be considered. All stakeholder groups related to the project must be contacted, and they must be treated equally, but individually.

      In the profiling of the local area carried out in advance, local NGOs, their representatives and their relationships with other stakeholders are studied. The most important residents and landowners are those living and operating in the survey area or its immediate vicinity. In addition, the types of entrepreneurs operating in the area are mapped and the ones possibly available for work required by the exploration activities are identified.

      A predefined list of stakeholder groups (key and critical groups) offers both foreign and domestic operators opportunities to contact them directly without extensive preliminary studies. Sometimes a group may be diverse and unorganised, in which case several people should be contacted to get an overall picture. If the operations lead to an exploration project, a more systematic approach should be applied to the identification of stakeholders and the preparation of a stakeholder engagement plan. Guidance for this is provided in the toolbox targeted at mines (see the link below).

      Additional material
      Stakeholder engagement plan

  • 4. Identification and assessment of social impacts

    The identification of social impacts is part of the environmental impact assessment (EIA). In exploration operations, this is not required due to the low environmental impact of the operations. However, a company should be aware of the potential impacts of its exploration activities on the local community and economy in order to be able to anticipate, avoid and minimise any negative impacts and maximise any positive impacts on the local community, for example. The company can carry out the preliminary assessment itself or commission it to a consulting company, but the assessment can only be checked and further specified in cooperation with the stakeholder groups of the local community.

    The social impacts of exploration can be positive and/or negative. The positive impacts include local procurement and the use of local services and workforce, which bring income to the local community. However, the activities may also have negative impacts, such as harm to reindeer husbandry, if issues related to it have not been discussed and agreed on with the reindeer herding co-operative in advance. Tourism entrepreneurs may have concerns that exploration operations would drive tourists away.

    Exploration also generates expectations in the local community. These can be positive or negative and often concern the potential establishment of a mine. Positive expectations are linked to increased job opportunities and economic activity, whereas negative expectations are connected with potential environmental and social impacts. The management of expectations is of primary importance and one of the major challenges of stakeholder engagement in exploration. The realities of exploration and the related uncertainty must be explained to the local community, as well as what will be done and where, when and why.

    As the exploration project advances, more information is collected during stakeholder engagement. This information can be used in the social impact assessment included in the possible mine planning stage.

    This tool provides guidance on the requirements presented in the tool for assessing community outreach performance included in the Finnish Standard for Sustainable Exploration.

    • 4.1. Clarifying stakeholders their opportunities to influence

      The company should clarify the local stakeholders their opportunities to influence the operations. The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation has prepared a guide on influencing, of which the stakeholders should be made aware. In addition, opportunities to give direct feedback to the company must be ensured so that issues can be negotiated. Small groups are established with local stakeholders for negotiations and joint planning. The principles of the company’s feedback system are explained to all parties.

      Further information

      The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC) has prepared an information package (in Finnish), the purpose of which is to help citizens to follow the permit process of mining projects and use the related channels provided for participation. (Tietopaketti kaivoslaista ja kaivoshankkeiden viranomaisvaiheista, FANC, 2013.)

    • 4.2. Consideration of stakeholders in the planning process

      The profiling of the area may already reveal some issues that can be taken into account in the planning of stakeholder engagement activities for the area. Infrastructure and its deficiencies may give some indication of the special needs of the area. It is important to consider and highlight these issues at meetings with the local community at an early stage. These issues, such as the condition or lack of roads, may also affect the operations of the company. When planning the drilling stage of exploration, the company can help to improve the situation, especially if this also serves its own operations. Such issues can be used as the basis for CSI (Corporate Social Investment) projects.

      When considering stakeholder needs, it must be ensured that the special needs are real stakeholder needs. Assumptions made by the exploration company or views expressed by individual stakeholder groups do not suffice to ensure that important needs are considered. Such real needs must be mapped openly, for example, in the small groups established, so as to ensure that local knowledge is used in the planning process.

      However, solid information on local needs can only be obtained when meeting local stakeholders on the spot. Local needs should be asked about, and they are also often expressed. Issues to consider include no-go areas (areas where operations must be avoided), which should be taken into account in planning as far as possible. This helps to avoid disputes. Such areas may also be linked to tourism, nature conservation or reindeer husbandry, for example.

  • 5. Key methods for stakeholder engagement

    Interaction with the local community and stakeholders must play a key role in the planning and implementation of a project and in the context of mine closure.

    Key methods for successful interaction include:

    • extensive communications on the project
    • ensuring active interaction
    • use of stakeholder feedback systems
    • stakeholder engagement in emergency planning
    • management of any conflicts
    • interaction with municipalities
    • contractor management
    • consideration of special issues related to the project (e.g. reindeer husbandry and the Sámi).

    The methods used in stakeholder engagement and any material related to interaction must be described carefully and analysed openly, so that it is easy to understand the reasoning that has led to the interpretations made on the basis of the material. Any positive and negative impacts on the local community and stakeholders must be assessed both at the early stages of project planning and if the mining project is implemented.
    This tool provides guidance on the requirements presented in the tool for assessing community outreach performance included in the Finnish Standard for Sustainable Exploration.

    Additional material
    Good practices for responsible exploration (in Finnish)

    • 5.1. Timing and critical moments of stakeholder engagement

      According to the Mining Act, the permit process applied to exploration includes two stages: reservation and exploration permit. A reservation is made by submitting a reservation notification to the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), which informs the landowner concerned of the matter. As people do not usually know what a reservation means, they have often contacted the authority or the company concerned indignantly. Although a reservation does not entitle the operator to carry out any heavier measures, many people think that it means that a mine will be established in the area. In the case of an exploration permit, the authority has the same obligation to inform of the matter, but at this stage the reactions may be even stronger.

      An exploration permit granted by the authority and information provided on it by the media or the authority may cause fear and irritation. This can easily lead to opposition to the planned operations. Lack of communications and information is often the cause for NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) and other disputes. NIMBYism is increasingly common in the context of mining projects. In order to avoid this, the operator must inform of its intentions personally in good time before the local people become aware of the matter through a notification or the media. Stakeholder engagement activities should thus be started at least when submitting a reservation notification and at the latest before submitting an application for an exploration permit. These are called critical moments. Proactive, timely and initiative communications play an important role in stakeholder engagement.

      If the area surveyed gives reason to more detailed target scale surveys, including diamond drilling, the project advances to long-term exploration. This must be communicated to the local stakeholders. An office is established in the locality and an active presence is ensured to maintain continuous contacts and interaction between the company’s employees and the local community. This also enables feedback, concerns and complaints by stakeholders and response by the company face-to-face all year round. The company should also hire local workforce and entrepreneurs. It must be ensured that the activities of the cooperation body or small groups become established and that issues related to cooperation and planning are negotiated on a continuous basis. The company should participate in events organised in the locality and possibly also sponsor these as well as sports clubs and cultural associations. Stakeholder meetings should be organised systematically according to a plan. Stakeholders must be widely represented in the meetings and cooperation bodies. Ensuring active stakeholder participation throughout the project may prove to be a challenge if there are no significant changes or problems in the operations.

      Local expertise (landowners, environmental organisations, the municipality, tourism entrepreneurs and mineral collectors as well as reindeer herding co-operatives and the Sámi when operating in the north) should also be used during cooperation. The company must negotiate with the municipality about the development of local infrastructure (housing, roads, schools, nurseries), which may become under pressure as new employees move to the locality and the population grows.

      In exploration, it is essential that the local expectations are managed before any decision is made on the establishment of a mine. The differences between exploration and mining activities and the short- or long-term nature of the exploration activities must be highlighted continuously. If the company’s operations are well-known in the area, information releases distributed via various channels can be used for communications, but personal meetings are always recommended due to their interactive nature.

      Timing and critical moments in accordance with the permit process

    • 5.2. Communications and interaction

      The work of geologists attracts interest among people all over the world. Interest evokes curiosity. If this is not responded to, it creates unnecessary assumptions and rumours. Unknown people encountered on the terrain or roads may also arouse suspicion. Even the faintest intimation that the activities are linked to exploration may soon be confused with the establishment of a mine, including the related positive and negative expectations. Therefore, managing various expectations is one of the main challenges of responsible exploration all over the world.

      The operator’s communications with its stakeholders satisfy the local community’s basic need of and right to information, redressing prejudice and misunderstandings. Providing information and ensuring contacts as from the early stages of operations have been found to be important in order to gain acceptability for mining operations and build trust at the local level. It is important to tell stakeholders about the realities of exploration and the related uncertainty. Encounters with stakeholders offer opportunities to inform them of geology, the work of geologists, exploration activities and the operations of the company.

      The importance of information and communications

      Ignorance creates misunderstandings and maintains speculative rumours and conflicts. Lack of information also increases uncertainty and causes fear and concern about the future. It affects attitudes as it may create a vacuum that can be filled by a third party with their version of the facts. This may not necessarily be favourable for the operator and the operation.

      In order to gain local acceptance, the company should contact the local community and provide information proactively. It is better if this work is carried out by the operator itself, but the municipality can also act as an intermediary. Contacts should be interactive. Local communities appreciate being informed of the operations personally and openly.

      Providing information on mining activities is consistent with the objectives and measures of the sustainable extractive industry action plan of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Companies play an important role in it.

      The local community should be engaged comprehensively, taking into account a wide range of stakeholders who represent the community well (see Stakeholder identification). Personal contacts with stakeholders should be supported by using various communications tools, such as a Finnish website and a brochure distributed to local people. The cases below describe methods that companies are recommended to use for local stakeholder engagement in exploration projects.

      Further information

      Sample letter to landowners

    • 5.3. Stakeholder feedback system

      A stakeholder feedback system developed for exploration operators enables the systematic documentation, processing and solving of stakeholder feedback. The system offers a mechanism for responding to stakeholder feedback and concerns before these escalate. The internal reporting of operation-specific feedback should be obligatory.

      A stakeholder feedback system helps to strengthen mutual trust and increases the transparency of operations. It provides a feedback monitoring and management process in addition to directing feedback to the relevant persons. It helps exploration operators to better understand the impacts of their operations on various stakeholders and the related views of the local community.

      A feedback system need not be complex. A company must always have a Finnish website, for example, with information on the project and the operations. This can include a feedback page with a simple form that the visitor can complete and send by post or electronically. This enables the provision of feedback as well as receiving it and responding to it. Other options for providing feedback are directly by email and/or phone, or via a feedback box placed in a central public place, e.g. in a library. Information on such options and contact details must be provided in the context of meetings with the local community. Notices published in the local newspaper and/or at the town hall are also in order.

      Resources should be assigned for responding to feedback, and a prompt response is recommended. The social media (e.g. Facebook) is also a recommended channel for this.

      All feedback must be recorded (at its simplest in an Excel spreadsheet), and the persons responsible must be assigned. The methods for any corrective measures to be taken are also recorded, and the feedback is responded to personally, if necessary. The corrective measures taken can also be communicated publicly on the website.

      This tool provides guidance on the requirements presented in the tool for assessing community outreach performance included in the Finnish Standard for Sustainable Exploration.

      Additional material

      Basic principles of the processing of feedback and complaints
      Template: Basic information on feedback and complaints

    • 5.4. Reindeer husbandry

      Reindeer husbandry is a land-use form that has a significant and long tradition throughout the reindeer herding area. It is important in terms of employment and the vitality of villages, especially in the smallest villages in the north. Reindeer husbandry is the oldest of the livelihoods still practised in Northern Finland: its significance to the Finnish and Sámi cultural heritage and landscape is irreplaceable. As it uses extensive land areas, however, it is susceptible to the effects of other land-use forms. This is why land-use planning in the reindeer herding area is an extremely important question in terms of ensuring the continuity of this livelihood and cultural heritage.

      The reindeer herding area is the area specifically intended for reindeer herding specified in the Reindeer Husbandry Act (Poronhoitolaki 848/1990). It covers 122,936 square kilometres and accounts for 36% of Finland’s total area. It comprises the Region of Lapland (excluding the Kemi-Tornio area) as well as the northern parts of the Regions of Northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu. The Finnish reindeer herding area is divided into 54 reindeer herding co-operatives. They are reindeer herding units of varying sizes in terms of their area and reindeer numbers.

      The right to practice reindeer herding, including the free reindeer grazing right integral to it (irrespective of land ownership or possession rights), is a traditional form of usufruct, a special right secured by the Reindeer Husbandry Act (Section 3). According to Section 53 of the Act, when planning measures concerning State land that will have a substantial effect on the practice of reindeer herding, the representatives of the reindeer herding co-operative in question must always be consulted. In such consultation, the reindeer co-operative is represented by its chief of district. The land in the reindeer herding area may not be used in a manner that may significantly hinder reindeer herding (Reindeer Husbandry Act, Section 2).

      Reindeer husbandry must be considered in stakeholder engagement if:

      1. the exploration area is located in the reindeer herding area or
      2. the exploration operation has impacts on reindeer husbandry.

      Additional material

      Communications and recommendations for the consideration of reindeer husbandry


      Consideration of reindeer husbandry in exploration activities

      • 5.4.1. Communications and recommendations for the consideration of reindeer husbandry

        The critical issues related to reindeer husbandry to consider in exploration relate to the planning of exploration activities, the activities and the restoration of the area in order to leave no traces. When planning exploration activities, the reindeer herding co-operative in the area must be contacted in good time. A telephone call upon entering the area is too late. The reindeer herding co-operative (usually the chief of district) must be contacted in time to find out whether reindeer graze, calve or rut in the area and when or whether reindeer herding work is carried out in the area, as well as approximately when. Communications practices can be agreed on with the chief of district: entering the area can be timed so that no disturbance is caused to reindeer herding work or at the times critical for reindeer.

        Other issues to be considered when planning exploration activities:

        Public meetings and other meetings with the herding co-operative are a good channel for providing and obtaining information.

        The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) requests a statement from the reindeer herding co-operative concerned when making a decision on an exploration permit in the reindeer herding area.

        Metsähallitus requires that an exploration operator contact the reindeer herding co-operative concerned when making decisions on lighter exploration activities by the landowner’s consent. It is possible to obtain such consent before the actual permit granted by the mining authority if an application for the area in accordance with the Mining Act is pending. Metsähallitus’ consent always concerns the entire area covered by the application.

        Metsähallitus does not grant a landowner’s consent to areas in the Sámi Homeland.

        Metsähallitus does not grant a landowner’s consent to protected areas, nature conservation programme sites or Natura 2000 areas (e.g. wilderness reserves).

        During the exploration activities, reindeer or reindeer herding work may be disturbed by off-road traffic, flying at low altitude and drilling. In late winter, for example, female reindeer are prone to miscarry if they panic and start running. Activities close to transport routes may disturb the transport of reindeer (noise and movements caused by machinery, excavation, drilling, etc. as well as extra tracks on the terrain that reindeer may follow). For example, the following issues related to reindeer herding should be considered in exploration:

        Exploration (especially flights) must be scheduled to take place in a season when it causes as little disturbance to the animals as possible → discussions with the reindeer herding co-operative are necessary.

        Round-up corrals and other structures must not be damaged: gates must be used to access an area inside and gates must be kept closed. If excavations and similar are made inside a round-up corral, particular care must be taken to mark and cover them.

        Access routes should be discussed and agreed on with the reindeer herders (and landowners). The shortest route is not always the best one. It may be better to take a longer route to avoid an area with reindeer, structures or reindeer herding work.

        When handling soil materials, an effort must be made not to create steep drops or banks that can cause a risk to motor vehicles. Soil extraction sites, exploratory excavations and deposit areas, etc. should therefore have shallow slopes. If this is not possible, excavations should be marked visibly:

        • Bunting and other types of string are a safety risk for reindeer, as they get used to these items and start passing over or under them. The string may become entangled in their antlers, and the reindeer may be caught by the string and starve to death or become strangled.
        • Wider plastic tape tends to become slack and break, and it may easily be covered by snow.
        • The best way to mark excavations is to fence them, for example with a round-pole fence or colourful plastic netting. Sturdy posts are needed for this, and the netting must be carefully attached.
        • Canes with reflectors also draw attention.

        It is a good idea to ask the reindeer herding co-operative’s opinion on such markings. The co-operative must also be informed of the locations of the excavations and the way in which they are marked.

        In terms of aftercare measures, it is important that any holes and other excavations are covered and landscaped, so that they do not pose a risk for reindeer herders operating an off-road vehicle. No pipes may be left sticking up from drilling holes that could be hit when driving. To ensure the safety of reindeer, no metal wire, string, bunting, etc., may be left in the field. These may become entangled in the antlers or around the neck of a reindeer. Other objects may also be snagged in strings/wires: branches, posts and other items by which the reindeer may be caught. No rubbish (glass, metal) that may injure the hooves of a reindeer may be left in the field. If the exploration activities cause damage (e.g. a female reindeer miscarries, a herd is dispersed, reindeer herding structures are damaged), compensation must be paid.

      • 5.4.2. Cases

    • 5.5. Termination of exploration activities

      If the exploration activities in the locality do not give reason for any further measures and a decision is made to terminate exploration, local stakeholders should be individually informed of this in good time. Another option is to organise a joint meeting to which all stakeholders and other interested parties are invited. An interview is set up with the local newspaper. Before leaving the locality, all obligations of the company with respect to the environment, invoices, wages and salaries, compensation, etc. are fulfilled. Stakeholders are provided with contact details for potential enquiries and feedback.