Talvivaara mine

The Talvivaara mine is Terrafame's multi-metal mine located in Sotkamo. Terrafame Ltd submitted an application to the State Council to start uranium production at the mine in late 2017.

In spring 2018, the company submitted the application materials concerning the production of uranium to STUK, and STUK prepared a safety assessment and a report based on these materials. STUK submitted its report to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on 10 June 2019, stating that there are no radiation safety-related obstacles for starting the operations.

In February 2020, the Government granted the company a licence for the recovery of uranium. This licence became effective on 24 July 2021 when an appeal procedure was closed at the Supreme Administrative Court. However, STUK will still conduct an inspection at the mine before the production of uranium can be started. The results of this inspection will determine whether STUK will authorise the starting of the uranium extraction plant.

Environmental damage

In November 2012, a leak started in the gypsum sediment pond at the Talvivaara mine, which resulted in the release of uranium-containing water into the environment. Most of the leakage was stopped at the mine site, but some escaped into natural waters. As a result of the environmental accident, during the previous Radiation Act (592/1991) 2012-2018, water management at the Talvivaara mine was considered a radiation activity and STUK monitored the uranium content of water in and around the mine site. No significant natural radiation exposure due to environmental damage occurred, as emissions were limited and improvements were made to water management.

Since the installation of the central water treatment plant, the discharge pipeline and other measures to limit discharges, there have been no significant releases of natural radioactive substances into the environment of the mining area. The uranium content of the water discharged into the environment is limited by the environmental permit. On the basis of the current survey under the Radiation Act (859/2018), water management at the Talvivaara mine is not a radiation activity but an activity that exposes to natural radiation, as the estimated exposures are below the reference values.

Terrafame Oy is monitoring the environmental status of the Talvivaara mine in accordance with the monitoring programme of the environmental permit. STUK monitors the results of the environmental monitoring and, if necessary, carries out inspections and requests for clarifications.

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