The Year of Geology 2016

Bedrock’s resources are surveyed one metal at a time

What metals does Finland’s bedrock contain, and in what quantities? Finding answers for these questions is the job of GTK’s senior researcher Pasi Eilu. When mapping Finland’s mineral resources, the bedrock is surveyed one metal and one ore type at a time. The work with one metal lasts for approximately a year, but since gold, for example, occurs in a number of different ore types, comprehensive data is accumulated in stages.

Pasi Eilu and his colleagues use two methods to map mineral resources.

We collect data on the minerals that we already know about and then we survey the mineral resources that might be present based on the bedrock.

GTK has surveyed Finland’s bedrock’s undiscovered mineral resources since 2008. Currently, GTK is concentrating on lithium, for which there is a great demand in, for example, battery industry.  Cobalt, nickel, and graphite interest GTK for the same reason.

“What is interesting in lithium, is that currently Europe produces one per cent of the global need, but there are many small deposits in Central Ostrobothnia that could produce a quarter of the global production per annum,” Eilu says.

The largest producers of lithium are Australia and Chile. Currently all the lithium that is produced is sold.

Ten important ones surveyed

Currently the Finland’s mineral resources survey has produced data on ten metals. Minerals that the EU has listed as critical are of particular interest

The data of the report is public and free, and its purpose is to increase financial activity.

“The data is utilised by municipal and regional land use planners, political decision-makers, and the mining industry,” Pasi Eilu says.

GTK’s specialists analyse the bedrock data also in terms of its mining potential.

“Mineral resource evaluations always depend on various probabilities. We base our estimates of mining production on them. The more we know about a metal, ore type and the bedrock, the more accurate our estimate is,” Eilu summarises.