Towards Zero Impact Mining

Xplorer is a network which promotes sustainable mineral recycling. We promote mining which doesn’t produce waste and isn’t harmful to the environment. Metals will continue to be needed in the future, as we aim for a carbon-free world.

Why are mines so topical now?

Electrification is critical

Electrification is critical. By electrification we cut carbon emissions, resulting in new challenges elsewhere. Most critical raw materials come from mines and demand is growing. There is a lot work to be done in metal recycling.

Europe is looking for ecologically sustainable growth

Europe wants to be carbon neutral. It also wants to separate economic growth from raw material consumption.

Mines divide opinions

Finland is an interesting mining country, but people are worried about the environmental damage caused by mining. Will mines ever be able to operate ecologically and sustainably?

Why should one study mining?

New professionals are needed

Digitalization and circular economy concepts impact both industry and society quickly and profoundly. New skills are needed and technological know-how and natural science knowledge are key. It is incumbent on new professionals in this industry to create innovations and processes based on new knowledge derived from modern research. Industry specific skills, interdisciplinary and international cooperation often lead to new innovations, and in future these will be the focus of research studies. It is essential to understand value chains, thus cooperation with industry and research centers is required.

Have work and a career with meaning

If you want to have an impact on how mining is conducted, do it from the inside. Development manager, environmental manager, researcher, process engineer – people change the world! Mining, like any other field, needs diverse people and thinkers. Mining specialists are also needed at the negotiation table, when laws are being drafted, and decisions are being made vis-à-vis protection of nature reserves. You can have a say. Be part of a mineral revolution!

Build the future

One needs mining for a sustainable future. The future means better recycling, using new raw materials, new ways to have sustainable business and innovation talent.

Xplorer is part of the international competence centre under the auspices of UNESCO

Xplorer’s home is at LUT University, which in 2019 was invited as the Finnish flagship university for the competence centre. The centre works under the auspices of UNESCO, the World’s Education, Science and Culture Organization, and is headed by the Saint Petersburg Mining University. Category 2 centres and institutes under the auspices of UNESCO are a global network of institutions of excellence. They promote the implementation of UNESCO’s strategic priorities, programs and global development agendas through international and regional cooperation, research, knowledge production, policy advice and capacity development. Category 2 institutes are independent centres, but privileged partners of UNESCO and an integral part of the Organization’s Comprehensive Partnership Strategy.

Our goals

Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) guide our work.

genda 2030 is the United Nation’s action plan for sustainable development, which since 2016 has led the world’s work on sustainability. Its objective is to eradicate extreme poverty and to promote sustainable development. There are 17 goals and several targets.

The main goals for the competence centre for mining and the Xplorer network are goals four and nine. We promote sustainable mining by producing quality education and offering lifelong learning for all. We promote scientific cooperation and innovations.

Finland has reached most of the goals. Our challenges are related to consumption and production patterns, climate action and the state of seas and waterways and supporting other countries.

Towards sustainable mining

Sustainable development strives for balance, whereby natural resources are in keeping with the planet. The environment, people and the economy are taken into consideration when making decisions and taking action. The Finnish Network for Sustainable Mining as well as the mining industry work together to promote sustainable development in Finland. The Xplorer network goes even further to promote sustainable mining, and unites Finnish innovators with international projects.

The Finnish Network for Sustainable Mining is a pioneer

The Finnish Network for Sustainable Mining has established a series of criteria, which goes beyond the current legislative requirements, ensuring better protection for water and the environment while enhancing stakeholder cooperation. The network is essentially a cooperation forum for the mining industry and its stakeholders. Members of the network include mining companies, environmental organizations, the Finnish Sámi Parliament, the Reindeer Herders’ Association, and municipalities. The Network was initially established by Sitra – The Finnish Innovation Fund – after serious deficiencies at the Talvivaara mine. All metal mines in Finland have now committed to adhere to the criteria. Finland based its enhanced criteria on the Canadian Mining Association’s Towards Sustainable Mining regulation

Xplorer unites the innovators

Xplorer seeks to minimize the impact of the mining industry on the environment, thus striving for a net-zero impact. As such, our motto is “Towards Zero Impact Mining”. We want to develop technologies and processes which make it possible. We want to be part of the public dialogue in Finland to raise these important topics. Xplorer provides training: sustainability, digitalization and entrepreneurship are at the core of our expertise. Xplorer does research, with a focus on water and waste. Xplorer develops new processes and leads new innovative ways of thinking and acting. Xplorer maintains a dialogue with citizens and decision makers, and shares news about science and new knowledge.

Finnish industry is a forerunner

The Finnish metal industry is a forerunner in adapting and integrating new low-carbon technologies. Committing to the objectives of sustainability has brought significant results: the carbon footprint of nickel sulphate production at Terrafame mine is the lowest in the industry, and Metso Outotec is listed as one of the most responsible companies in the world. Low-carbon technologies save natural resources everywhere, pointing to real benefits from years of development and implementation. European companies which produce aluminum, nickel and zinc do so with a remarkably lower carbon footprint than China. The steel industry in the European Union has lowered its carbon emissions by 50% in 50 year.

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