University of Lapland, Faculty of Law / Environmental Law

The work package of the Faculty of Law concentrates to study valid mining regulation in Finland by taking among others the previous and the new mining acts into account. After the time-consuming legislative process, the new Mining Act came into force in 1st July 2011. However, the old mining act (from the year 1965) is still being applied in particular cases according to the transitional provisions. The Mining Act, in effect, is just one part of the larger regulatory framework concerning the mining operations in Finland. Moreover, for instance, basic rights and environmental, property and industrial legislation regulate mining projects in practice. The project group does not only focus on the national regulations, but will also examine the relevant mining related regulation passed by the EU. The regulatory setting applicable to mining is thus quite complex and in need of systematization. Our research work aims to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the existing legislation and provide recommendations as to how to develop better mining regulation. Crucial objective of this work-package is to provide support for the overall search for an appropriately functioning regulative framework of mining in Finland so that both private and public environmental interests can – as far as possible – be taken into account, reconciled and protected.

Our research interest is also focused on the effectiveness of mining regulation in general. The more precise research questions are, for example, the following: 1) do the valid legal regulations provide for effective instruments to protect the nature and the environment; 2) is land use regulation concerning mines organized in a socially and environmentally sustainable way; 3) is the distribution of rights and responsibilities between different interest groups achieved in view of equity and justice considerations; and 4) what types of social relations the mining industry has towards local communities (in particular, when comparing these to nature based livelihoods); and what are the most suitable regulative instruments for improving this interaction between the different interest groups. Opening a new mine usually has different kinds of effects on local environment and community, as well as on the possibilities to carry on other livelihoods. In our research, we will evaluate valid legislative possibilities and boundaries for operating the mining industry, and will study how to improve the regulation and reconciliation of different interests by adopting smarter one. We will also analyze how the particular mining companies are gaining the so called social licenses (acceptability) to operate in the local communities. The regulative framework of public participation in decision making, land use planning and environmental impact assessment processes is a useful approach to evaluate these issues.

WP 4 is the parallel project carried out by the Faculty of Law at the University of Lapland. Contacts: (e-mail:

LL.D. Kai Kokko
Professor of environmental law

LL.M Anniina Oksanen
Researcher, doctoral student