Terrafame Oy


Terrafame is a multimetal mine located in Sotkamo and producing principally nickel and zinc using a bioheap leaching process. Our goal is to conduct mining activities that are environmentally sustainable, safe and economically viable. As the company launched its activities at the Sotkamo mine on 15 August 2015, the figures  reported concern the period 15 August to 31 December 2015.


Toiminta-alue: Sotkamo

Yhteystiedot vastuullisuusasioissa:

Elina Salmela
+358 (0)40 569 9274

The company in figures in 2015

  • Tuotantomäärä: Nickel, 578 tonnes, and zinc, 1812 tonnes. A total of 2,390 tonnes (the figures only include the production by Terrafame)
  • Kokonaislouhinta: 8.5Mt (4.1 Mt of ore, 4.4Mt waste rock)
  • Raportoidut malmivarat: no change
  • Raportoidut mineraalivarannot: 1,117,000,000 tonnes
  • Toiminnan aloitusvuosi: 2015
  • Kaivoksen arvioitu jäljellä oleva elinikä: More than 50 years
  • Kaivosalueen pinta-ala: 42,000 hectares
  • Malminetsintäalueen pinta-ala: No exploration; see a separate exploration company
  • Omien työntekijöiden määrä: 529
  • Työntekijöiden pääasialliset asuinkunnat: 85.5% Kainuu, 14.5% the rest of Finland
  • Vakituisten urakoitsijoiden määrä: 350
  • Käyttökate EBITDA: EUR -91.7 million (5 June – 31 December 2015)
  • Maksettu yhteisövero: EUR 0 (on account of the fact that the company incurred a loss)


Yrityksen ympäristökäytannöt:
  • Location in a nature reserve: no
  • Environmental management system exists*: yes
  • Personnel and safety**: yes
  • An environmental impact assessment required (in accordance with the EIA Act): yes
  • Measurements of dust: yes
  • Measurements of noise: yes
  • Measurements of vibration: no (adopted in 2016)
  • Environmental impact assessment completed: yes
  • Deviations from the environmental permit (2014)***: no
  • Environmental collateral exists: yes
  • Closure plan for the mine exists: yes
  • Plan for the shutdown of the mine in unexpected situations****: yes
* Yes, but is uncertified (the ISO14001 certification expired on account of bankruptcy as the system was not transferred to the bankrupt’s estate. To be audited in 2016.) ** Uncertified (The OHSAS18001 certification to be completed in 2016) *** Three occasions in which the limit set for solid matter and pH was exceeded during the operations of Terrafame **** The bioheap leaching process cannot be extinguished without causing major damaged to the environment, including ensuing economical loss; consequently, the facility is prepared to ensure the operation of the heap for the duration of 72 hours. This will also prevent the basins from being flooded under exceptional conditions.

Keskeiset tunnusluvut:

  • Amount of extractive waste: 4,676,300 tonnes, of which waste rock represents 4.4Mt, and 0.28Mt of sediment yield during precipitation
  • Utilisation of waste rock: 100% of waste rock is used
  • Fuel consumption: 49.7 GWh, with the proportion of non-renewable fuels 100%
  • Other energy consumption: 100GWh (the proportion of renewable energy, 30%; fossil energy, 35; nuclear energy, 35)
  • Water consumption (during the operations of Terrafame, from 15 August onwards): 1,048,947m3 of water, of which 75.3% is recycled.
  • The number of dams in the mining area amount to 31, of which 26 have been classified. Seven dam constructions classified as Class 1 (gypsum sediment ponds and the Kortelampi dam), while 16 dams belong to Class 2.
  • Usage of chemicals dangerous to the environment: Sulphuric acid, 53,000 tonnes; lye, 12,300 tonnes; burnt lime, 30,100 tonnes; liquid nitrogen, 829.6 tonnes; and burnt lime, 791.6 tonnes. In connection with the mine, a factory producing metallic salts, whose use of chemicals is included in these figures. Of the chemicals, only explosives are used in actual mining, accounting approximately for 0.1% of the total use of chemicals.

Personnel and safety

Yrityksen henkilöstökäytännöt:
  • Employee initiative programme exists: yes
  • Goal and development dialogue programme covering the entire personnel: yes
  • Personnel training plan: yes
  • Equality plan: yes
  • Personnel representation in company management: no
  • Occupational and safety management system*: yes
  • All personnel working in the area are in possession of an occupational health card: yes
  • Company rescue unit: yes
* Uncertified (OHSAS 18001, to be certified in 2016)

Keskeiset tunnusluvut vuonna:


  • Average number of training days per year: 1
  • Absence due to sickness: 4.2 days/person, 5%
  • Lost-time injury frequency rate: 23.3 (LTIF1; this figure also includes the incidents of the bankruptcy estate)
  • Working time systems currently in use: 3-shift system, 12-hour working time system, flexitime system and consulting

Impact on the use of the neighbouring areas and the sources of livelihood

Vaikutukset paikallisiin elinkeinoihin: No mining is carried out in the reindeer management area. The municipality, inhabitants of neighbouring areas, land owners, professional fishermen, tourism entrepreneurs and environmental organisations are taken into consideration in the company’s stakeholder collaboration. Some local fishermen report that they have trouble selling their catch due to image degradation.

Vaikutukset lähialueen virkistyskäyttöön:

Due to sulphate load, higher than expected during the ownership of the previous operator of the mine, a leak from the gypsum sediment pond in 2012, and several occasions in which effluent, cleaned in accordance with the environmental permit, was discharged into waterways, the image of the cleanliness of waterways located immediately downstream of the mine has suffered damage. According to the recommendation of the regional health authority, the water of the five lakes and one river located in the mining concession or in its immediately vicinity within a radius of five to seven kilometres should only be used in sauna or household consumption. This restriction on use has given rise to considerable uncertainty among the people living in the vicinity of the mine, though the waterways located outside the restriction area can be used normally and without risk. The company provides people who have summer cottages along the waterways in the restriction area with water for washing and sauna bathing.

Vaikutukset maisema-arvoon:

After the mining operations are terminated, the area will be landscaped and, while the mine is still in operation, the company will comply with the terms of the environmental permit regarding the disposal of leached ore and waste rock. The area also attracts visitors: the industrial landscape of the area has been portrayed both in films and literature.

Interaction with stakeholders


  • The mine has arranged evening meetings, information meetings, family days and open-door days, and company representatives have toured the province providing information. Excluding the above-mentioned events, the company meets 2,500 to 4,000 local people on average annually at various meetings.
  • The company has a group text message arrangement in place for the people living in the vicinity of the mine for providing information in exceptional situations. Similarly, the company has a text message system for its own staff and contractors operating in the area. While the text message system that the mine has in place should not be confused with information that the authorities provide in exceptional situations, it can be used to support such information provision with the authorisation of authorities.
  • The company’s personnel magazine is distributed to contractors on a monthly basis; this magazine also includes information of interest to them. Regular meetings in which safety and other topical issues are discussed are arranged for key contractors. The company has supported local sports and leisure activities.
A channel is available for stakeholders to submit feedback, and practices are in place for processing it.

Tutkimus- ja yhteistyöhankkeet:

While Terrafame Group Oyj was not involved in any significant degree in research and collaborative projects in 2015 due to the brief period that it was in operation that year, it is actively searching for water treatment solutions to be implemented in pilot projects in order to find long-term solutions for the water situation at the mine.

Before the bankruptcy in 2014, the owner of the mine at the time had conducted, on an annual basis, a query/survey of the stakeholders’ attitudes and opinions regarding the mine. However, no such query was conducted last year.