A Finnish-Australian mining company, Latitude 66 Cobalt, has applied to conduct cobalt mining operations in a territory spanning 5700 square kilometres in northeastern Finland. The company aims to secure exclusive extraction rights to an area that covers Lapland, Kainnu, and Koillismaa.
Finland is known to have the largest cobalt reserves in Europe, an increasingly valuable resource due to its application in devices such as electronic car batteries. Lattitude 66 has lodged an application with the intent to spend two years photographing and surveying the area, after which they would apply for the right to begin drilling.
Under Finnish law, mining companies are able to lodge a claim over a territory which prevents other companies from prospecting the same land. Should the company find significant deposits of cobalt, they would likely apply to begin drilling immediately.
The application comes at a time when environmental concerns over the impact of mining are increasing significantly among the public, with Finland’s position as one of the top mining destinations in Europe drawing growing criticism.
The application was also made on the same day that the Finnish parliament began debating a new piece of legislation that would increase payouts to landowners affected by mining activity. If passed, it is likely that the mining companies would face significantly higher costs when conducting operations in Finland. The legislation is part of a wider push to reexamine Finland’s Mining Act in order to offset the impact of mining activities on citizens and the environment.