The Year of Geology 2016

Digital material attracts mineral explorers in Finland

The budged of one million euros, a drilling programme for thousands of metres, and an overseas customer for the entire duration of the project. This is an example of a commission that Markku Iljina GeoConsulting Oy, a company located in Rovaniemi, can get. The company providing geological consultation services is specialised in targeting mineral exploration, and its customers include mineral exploration and mining companies.

Some companies may be interested in gold, while some are looking for rare metals, some looks for geologically interesting unexplored areas, and some want to continue work that has been started earlier. GeoConsulting’s customers have mainly been foreign.

Markku Iljina, managing director of the company that has operated seven years, is an experienced geologist, who takes care of all necessary things from landowner relations to contacting contractors.

“I can sincerely thank GTK’s material services – they are the best in Scandinavia.” Making material available for free is skilful marketing of Finland, because it allows people to do preparations even overseas, Iljina says.

GeoConsulting employs two geologists regularly in addition to Iljina, and carries out 3–4 larger projects each year. At the time of this interview, for example, they have two sampling sites in Pajala and Kiiruna in Sweden. At one of these sites, a Finnish contractor takes the samples. The contractor is assisted by a research assistant rented from GTK, who has special geochemical competence needed at the site.

New activity in the air

The commissions of GeoConsulting have clearly increased during the past year. According to Iljina, it’s a sign of an increase in mineral exploration operations after a slow period.

“Finland and Sweden are interesting countries for mineral explorers, and foreign capital and junior mining companies stream into them.” The availability of data materials is one factor; the other is the clarity of the administrative practices.

According to Iljina, we must be careful when pricing the data material to keep mineral exploration attractive and to leave a company’s budget enough money for acquiring new data.

Iljina’s own passion for mineral exploration has not diminished during his career of 40 years. “Once a mineral explorer, always a mineral explorer,” he says.

He reminds that exploring and discovering minerals is team work.

“Mineral exploration is a long process and cooperation of a number of professionals.”

The peak so far on Iljina’s career has been the discovery the platinum deposit in the area between Simo, Ranua, and Taivalkoski in the 1980s – those deposits resources are still significant, even on the international level.