Distinguished President, Minister,
Mining specialists, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Canada and Finland have long traditions of co-operation in various sectors of business. I think there is a natural reason for this since the two countries have a lot in common. Our nature is very much alike, weather can be freezing cold in the winter time, population density is low and distances are generally long – so we struggle with more or less similar challenges. This is why we have always needed same kind of solutions in order to be able to live in Northern circumstances. And this is why we need same kind of solution also in the future in clean technologies, in bio-economy and forestry, in Arctic and Northern regions and in sustainable mining among other things.
The interest in mining has brought us all here today. Canada is one of the largest mining nations in the world producing more than 60 minerals and metals. Finland is a lot smaller player in volumes but we do have long traditions in this field and Finnish companies have developed innovative, high-quality technical solutions that are of interest to Canadians as well.
Despite the difference in the scale of business, the conditions for mining however, are in many ways very similar in Canada and Finland. The bedrocks in both countries are alike and offer great potential for new discoveries. Mineral deposits and mines are located in the environmentally vulnerable Arctic region. Harsh climate conditions set special requirements for the applied technology and is demanding for employees. Logistics play a significant role in operations. Diverse stakeholders have conflicting interest.
In addition the mining industry is facing similar challenges all over the world: profitability, capital access and allocation, acceptance of mining by the local communities, mitigation of negative environmental impacts and availability of skilled labour. And all these combined with price and currency volatility.
In order to find solutions to these challenges, it is important that we combine our resources. We need the best knowledge and experience from all mining countries. Finland aims to increase international collaboration in research, education and governance as well as cooperation and trade between enterprises. I believe Canada is a natural partner for us in this regard.
Finnish economy is knowledge-based and strong on innovation. The government and the companies invest a good share to research and development, one of the highest in the world. As Finnish mines are technically demanding and minerals difficult to access, Finnish companies have been forced to develop high quality and innovative technological solutions for mining. The Finnish know-how covers the whole value chain from exploration to metal production. I believe Canadian companies have a lot to benefit from our experience.
Industrial operations all over the world are faced with more demanding requirements concerning environmental friendliness and energy efficiency. Accessing water and energy is an essential part of operations for mining and metals projects, and is becoming increasingly difficult. I believe that clean technologies are a solution for these challenges. In Finland we define cleantech as products, services and processes that promote sustainable use of raw materials and reduce impacts of the industrial processes on the environment. Mining is one the sectors where clean technologies can really make a difference.
We should not forget the aspect of competitiveness either. I believe that environmentally friendly and energy efficient solutions are also good business and can have a huge positive impact on mining industry’s competitiveness.
Finally I would like to touch upon sustainable mining where Canada and Finland share strong interest. The joint challenges and ambitions are a good starting point for co-operation in order to promote environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development in the mining industry.
Ladies and Gentleman,
The cooperation between Canada and Finland on mining has long traditions and is active. The aim is to further intensify and deepen business activities and broad base collaboration between Canadian and Finnish mining companies, research and educational institutes. The fact that Finns and Canadians get very well along with each other and the mindset and the way to communicate are very similar (maybe partly due to the fact that many Canadians have Finnish or Scandinavian ancestors) will certainly help reaching this goal.
I hope that this meeting will contribute to several new contacts and useful information about each other’s know-how and competences that will strengthen the business ties between our countries. Thank you.