Finland grants uranium recovery permit

06 February 2020

The government of Finland has granted a uranium recovery permit to Terrafame for uranium production as a byproduct of zinc and nickel production at its Sotkamo mine in the north-east of the country. The process of preparing the uranium recovery plant ready for use will take about a year, Terrafame said today. However, as the government decision can be appealed through Finland's Supreme Administrative Court, the company estimates it will take about two years for the permit to have legal force.

Terrafame's uranium recovery plant (Image: Terrafame)

It applied for the permit under Finland's Nuclear Energy Act (990/1987) in October 2017, and it already has the necessary chemicals permit and environmental permit. The country's nuclear regulator, STUK, in December 2017 granted the company permission to recover a small quantity of uranium while experimenting with chemical processes it will use in an actual uranium recovery plant.

The mine's previous owner, Talvivaara Mining Company, had planned to produce uranium at the site and constructed a uranium extraction plant before being declared bankrupt in 2014. The company was subsequently purchased by multi-metals company Terrafame, which is 70%-owned by Finnish Minerals Group, a special-purpose company wholly owned by the State of Finland.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News