Mining in Sweden – overview
The government of Sweden promotes investments and development of mining, rock and mineral industries through a body called the Geological Survey of Sweden (GSS), through providing geoscience information and low-cost, accessible databases of information that can be used for the purposes of mining and environmental permitting. Exploration and mining permits are granted by the Mining Inspectorate of Sweden, a decision making body within the GSS.
Tenements are obtained through a claim system where the first applicant of a mining right receives a priority over later applications. Applications are tried on a first-come first-serve basis, with no discretion in relation to the applicant or the applicant's ability to carry out exploration or mining activities.
Mining rights are divided into exploration permits and mining permits. Exploration permits give the holder the right to conduct geological surveying and other research necessary for establishing the location, shape, orientation and exploitability of a mineral deposit. Before exploration can begin, however, a work plan for the exploration activities has to be drawn up and approved by the Mining Inspectorate. The initial term of an exploration permit is three years, and it may be extended for up to a total term of 15 years in aggregate. An exploration permit does not authorise the exploitation of the deposit. It does, however, provide the holder with the ability to apply for a mining permit.
Mining permits are required for the establishment of a mine and the undertaking of mining activity. A mining permit entitles the holder to exploit the minerals found within the mining permit area. Mining permits have an initial term of 25 years which is automatically extended for ten years at a time if mining activities are still being conducted at the time of expiration of the permit. For mining permits issued after 1 May 2005, mining royalties are payable at a rate of 0.2% of the estimated value of the minerals covered by the concession that have been extracted within the concession area during the year.
All mining operations are subject to the requirements of Swedish environmental legislation and mining is only possible if the company holding the permit is awarded an environmental permit for its operations.