The new Mining Act (621/2011) came into force 1 July 2011, and it contains certain changes to gold panning carried out under the Mining Act:
One of the most important changes brought in by the new Mining Act is the transfer of the mining authority from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy to the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes). As from 1 July 2011, all gold panning permits and other licenses under the Mining Act are granted by Tukes, which has offices dealing with mining issues in Helsinki and Rovaniemi.
Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), Helsinki
P.O. Box 66 (Opastinsilta 12 B)
FI-00521 HELSINKI, FINLAND
(Pasila Office Centre)
Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), Rovaniemi
FI-96100 ROVANIEMI, FINLAND
(Regional State Administrative Agency building)
Enquiries: +358 10 6052 127
A second significant change concerning gold panning is the new gold panning permit; before the current Mining Act came into force, gold panning was carried out based on claim rights, while under the new Mining Act it is carried out subject to a gold panning permit.
Gold panning claims granted prior to 1 July 2011 remain as claims until they expire. Such old claim rights shall be converted to gold panning permits at the time of possible decisions to extend their validity.
A gold panning permit may be granted for a maximum term of four years. The validity of a gold panning permit may be extended for a maximum of three years at a time. The new Mining Act sets no upper limit for the term of a gold panning permit/claim right, as was the case with the old Act.
Extensions to gold panning claims granted prior to 1 July 2011 may be applied as normal. Extensions to gold panning claims granted prior to 1 July 2011 may be applied even if the ten-year term is about to expire.
The gold panning area shall be a continuous area of a maximum of five hectares.
In conjunction with a possible decision to extend the validity, gold panning claims granted prior to 1 July 2011 exceeding five hectares in area shall be either divided into several gold panning areas of under five hectares, or alternatively reduced to form a single gold panning area of no more than five hectares.
In the new Mining Act, the impediments to granting a gold panning permit differ from the impediments to a claim under the old Act; notably, the probation periods familiar from the time of the old Mining Act have been removed, and an expired gold panning claim/gold panning permit is no longer an impediment to a permit being granted. In other words, probation periods are no longer used as from 1 July 2011.
The new Mining Act brings some changes to the goldwasher's obligations. The obligations concern both gold panning permits and claims. Further details of the obligations under the new Mining Act are below.
Along with the new Mining Act, license fees were also reviewed. The new license fees are in the price list (in Finnish).
Under the new Act, the claim fee payable to the government and the claim compensation payable to the landowner (Metsähallitus) was replaced with annual gold panning fee payable to Metsähallitus. Under the new Act, an annual gold panning fee is no longer payable to the government.
Under the old Act, the collateral provided by goldwasher's was deposited with the landowner, Metsähallitus. Under the new Mining Act, the collateral is deposited with the mining authority, Tukes.
However, securities lodged with Metsähallitus shall not be transferred to Tukes in the middle of a claim rights term. If an extension is applied for a claim right granted prior to 1 July 2011, the security shall be transferred to Tukes only at the time of the decision on the term extension.