Terrafame Ltd. has submitted an application for an environmental permit concerning all its operations 31.8.2017 08:21

Terrafame Ltd. has submitted an application for an environmental permit to the Regional State Administrative Agency of Northern Finland. The application concerns the company’s mining and metals production operations in Sotkamo. The permit ensues from the decision confirmed by the Supreme Administrative Court in the spring of 2017, obligating the company to apply for an environmental permit by 31 August 2017.

“During the time of its operation, Terrafame has stabilised the mine’s environmental situation through determined efforts and has proven its ability to operate the mine responsibly. We are now applying for an environmental permit to allow us to operate in the long term and to secure environmental safety in the future as well,” says Veli-Matti Hilla, Chief Sustainability Officer of Terrafame.

Terrafame is applying for a new environmental and water permit for its multi-metal mine located in Sotkamo and for the metals recovery processes, including all supporting processes. The application covers the current operations and includes new areas to be built as well as a partial increase of production capacity.

In the permit application, Terrafame proposes that the discharge pipe for releasing purified water from the mining site remains at its current location and that the annual sulphate quota of the discharge pipe be 20,000 tonnes. In addition, the company is applying for an annual sulphate emission quota of 4,000 tonnes for the so-called old discharge routes. Based on the environmental impact assessment, it is justified to keep the discharge pipe in its current location and the annual quotas now being applied for do not cause permanent changes to water systems. The suggestions for the permit limits of the metals comply with current permits.

“After careful consideration, we are applying for slightly higher sulphate quotas than what we currently have. By doing this, we want to prepare ourselves for possible consecutive years with exceptionally heavy rainfall when it must be possible to discharge water from the site so that the amount of water does not pose a risk to the environment,” says Veli-Matti Hilla. “However, this does not mean that the maximum amount of sulphate would be discharged from the mining site annually. In years with normal rainfall, Terrafame’s sulphate emissions are less than half of the quota now being applied for. We keep the amount of sulphate discharged from the site as small as possible by using the well-functioning water treatment process as well as the bioleaching process which binds sulphate.”

The Regional State Administrative Agency of Northern Finland will now process the permit application and will request additional information on it if needed. The authority will also later announce the application for submission of statements and opinions.

Terrafame’s current environmental permits from 2014 and 2015, confirmed by the Supreme Administrative Court, will remain valid until the new environmental permit is enforceable and legally valid.

Click to see the accompanying letter of Terrafame’s environmental permit application (in Finnish only)


More information:

Chief Sustainability Officer Veli-Matti Hilla, Terrafame Ltd., veli-matti.hilla(at)terrafame.fi

Chief Communications Officer Katri Kauppila, Terrafame Ltd., katri.kauppila(at)terrafame.fi


Terrafame Ltd. is a Finnish multi-metal company producing nickel, zinc and cobalt at its mine and metals production plant located in Sotkamo. Our aim is to conduct environmentally sustainable, safe and profitable operations.

Article subjects: EnvironmentTerrafame