The Nordic countries are not only leaders in mining in Europe, but also the most attractive countries for exploration.
The favourable Nordic exploration market is explained by the following factors:
- The geology is attractive
- The Nordic countries are under-explored
- The legislation and conditions in general are favourable
- The infrastructure is well extended
The so called Fennoscandian Shield is a well known and geologically highly interesting area, which includes Norway, Sweden, Finland and north-west Russia. In Sweden, a number of mineral deposits of high class have been found: Falun Copper Mine, Sala Silver Mine, the Boliden field with its polymetallic ore and the iron ore in Kiruna and Malmberget. In Finland there is for example the nickel deposit in Talvivaara. These known deposits show that the conditions are favourable for valuable ore bodies to be found in the Nordic countries. Improved exploration methods and development of new models for how and where ore is formed increase the possibilities for future findings.
In the Fennoscandian Shield, the geological conditions for findings of new deposits are similar to the ones in for example Western Australia and parts of Canada. In these regions, considerably more capital has been invested in exploration per unit area than in Sweden. For that reason, many international exploration companies have increased their exploration activities in Sweden. This means that it should be easier to find new deposits in the Nordic countries than in these other regions.
Mining and exploration are since long accepted as important basic industries in Sweden. In the most interesting areas in Sweden (Norrbotten, Västerbotten and Bergslagen) the mining industry is a part of everyday life. Legislation and other regulations are favourable in an international comparison. The Swedish Minerals Act provides the assurance needed to take a mineral deposit all the way to a functioning mine. In a worldwide investigation of tax regulations made in the beginning of the 21st century, Sweden had the lowest tax over the entire lifespan of a mine. That is, Sweden is in this respect a low tax country.
Well functioning infrastructure
Other factors that are beneficial to Sweden include that the road network is well extended and that the country is sparsely populated. There is space both for more exploration and new mines. Within the country there is also a long range of competent geologists and other specialists, which are required to bring about a professionally conducted exploration effort. The Swedish salary levels have also become more favourable. The authorities, headed by the Mining Inspectorate (Bergsstaten), are working promptly and efficiently and the time it takes to receive all permits for exploration and mining are nowadays competitive in an international comparison.