Close-up of stone

Deformation structures in approx. 2.1 billion years old layers of basalt and dolomite, Storön in the Kalix archipelago.

Photo: Benno Kathol, SGU

Why legislation on minerals?

The Swedish bedrock provides favourable geological conditions for finding mineral deposits of sufficient size and quality to be economically utilized. Mineral extraction is different from other business operations when it comes to the resources required in order to efficiently investigate and operate business ventures. Mineral deposits cannot be relocated elsewhere; if they are to be utilized, the deposits found must be extracted at the deposit site. Thus the view of legislator was that a reasonable level of predictability is necessary for companies who are involved in the prospecting of those minerals which cannot be observed with the naked eye but require specialized geological methods in order to be found.

Specific mineral legislation has been established in all countries that have similar geological conditions to Sweden. The oldest know mineral regulations in Sweden date back to the 14th Century. The reason for having a Minerals Act and a government mineral strategy is that there is a common interest in utilizing our mineral resources, and that this is done in a responsible manner with regard to the consequences for other activities and for the natural and cultural environment.

Apart from the permit requirements of the Minerals Act there are other regulations which govern mining operations, e.g. the Environmental Code and the Planning and Building Act. Together with all the laws and regulations which apply in parallel with the Minerals Act, the legislation constitutes a framework which regulates the exploitation of those minerals which are difficult to find and involve high-risk, high-cost prospecting activities.

Bedrock with great potential

The Swedish bedrock is unique and has great potential for finding and extracting the minerals on which our society depends.

The Swedish mining industry provides an important base for our export trade. Mineral extraction within Sweden also reduces our vulnerability in the event of international trade crises. In addition, the minerals sector is important for employment in certain regions of Sweden, and it is also vital to the development of our mining equipment industry.

Why do we need mines?

The history of Swedish mining dates back more than a thousand years. The availability of metals and minerals and the knowledge of how to utilize these have provided a considerable contribution to the Swedish society and welfare of today. The technical products of our modern society, including those which are energy efficient and environmentally more favourable, are completely dependent on the availability of metals and minerals. A mobile phone, for example, contains some 40 important metals and minerals, and electric cars contain many kilograms of rare earth metals. The minerals sector supplies industry with these important metals and minerals.

In the interest of all

Performing surveys and other investigations of the bedrock is called prospecting. Prospecting activities provide knowledge which may be useful to society or companies in the future. Therefore, in order to secure the continued availability of the information obtained, the results from prospecting activities must be provided to the Swedish state.

Mineral legislation has existed in Sweden for hundreds of years. Today, mining companies contribute directly to Swedish society through the payment of taxes and duties, both under rules common to all sectors of industry and under the provisions of the Minerals Act and Minerals Ordinance.

Last reviewed 2023-04-18