The Finnish Network for Sustainable Mining was set up in May 2014 to ensure that mining practices in Finland are responsible and performed in a way that takes into consideration the needs of other people, livelihoods and nature.
The aim of the network is to reduce potential crises in the mining sector by improving stakeholder cooperation and raising sustainability standards in mining operations.
The network is comprised of representatives from environmental groups, mineral and ore exploration companies, other industries (such as tourism, reindeer herding, forestry and agriculture and metal refinery), funding agencies, the Sami people and local decision-makers from municipalities and regions.
The network is placed administratively under the auspices of the Finnish Mining Association, but it operates as its own entity.
So far, the network has provided a toolbox for local actions and a common model for CSR reporting. In addition, it is in the process of finalising a new sustainability standard for mining companies operating in Finland. The standard is based on the Canadian initiative Towards Sustainable Mining, and it has been adjusted to the Finnish context.
The standard contains eight protocols (on stakeholder involvement, conservation of biodiversity, tailings management, water management, CO2 reduction and energy efficiency, safety and health, crisis management, and mine closure), which have been divided into different levels following the logic of credit rating. Once the mining company has decided to comply with the sustainability standard, it will have to report on an annual basis on the implementation of each protocol. Every three years, an external auditor will have to verify whether the information provided by the company is valid.
The standard should be operational as from January 1st, 2016, when the first mining companies will start implementing it as a pilot project. Based on their feedback, the standard will be revised, if needed. The standard will be then translated into English. This procedure might take several months as most companies will not be able to adopt the whole package at once, but will have to move step by step with each protocol.
Mr Eero Yrjö-Koskinen
Finnish Network for Sustainable Mining