In accordance with its strategy, Tulikivi Corporation strives to ensure that the company is in possession of the best possible soapstone reserves. The company has been systematically examining soapstone reserves for over 30 years, for example by using the expert services of the Geological Survey of Finland. The aim of examination has been to evaluate current soapstone reserves in greater detail and to seek new soapstone reserves.
Tulikivi Corporation’s stone supplies and reserves total over 8 million m3. Examined and evaluated deposits are located at Nunnanlahti, Kuhmo, Paltamo and Suomussalmi. The company has in total eight valid mining patents: two at Suomussalmi, one at Kuhmo, one at Paltamo and four at Juuka. The total area of the mining patents is 340 ha. Soapstone is currently quarried and products are manufactured at Nunnanlahti and Suomussalmi.
In 2016, the examination of deposits focused on Nunnanlahti. Examination of potential deposits and further work on current deposits will continue in 2017.
In geographic terms quarrying is limited to small areas in comparison with, for example, clear cutting of forest resources. A total of approximately from 70 000 to 100,000 cubic metres of soapstone is annually quarried from the company’s quarries. Approximately from 15 000 to 20,000 cubic metres of quarried soapstone is delivered to three soapstone factories. Adjoining rock, which is not part of the deposits, is quarried annually just under from 50 000 to 70 000 cubic metres. Soil needs also to be moved when excavating quarries in order to access the deposits, from time to time. When a quarry is closed, the area will be made safe and the quarry’s stacking area will be landscaped. In accordance with Tulikivi’s environmental strategy, sparing use of natural resources is considered important. The overall yield of raw material is improved through development of the production technologies and product development as well as taking account of the properties of raw material. Tulikivi’s strategic objective is to ensure sufficient raw material reserves for decads to come.
Soapstone is extracted by sawing. The extraction does not require chemical treatment, and no chemicals are used in the quarrying. The saws used in the quarrying run on electricity and do not require cooling water. Only rapeseed oil is used for lubricating the blades. The rainwater entering the quarry is pumped into sedimentation pools through measurement pits. Water samples are taken three times a year in order to monitor the environmental impact of the quarrying operation. Watering is used to prevent the dust from spreading. The noise from the extraction is mainly sawing and machine noise. The noise levels emitted from quarrying are within the permitted limits. In the quarrying work, the explosion breaking of adjoining rock takes place once a week, on average.
The principal goals of Tulikivi’s operations are as follows: a safe and healthy working environment, the sparing use of natural resources and the management of quarrying and production processes that minimizes adverse environmental effects. Tulikivi takes environmental considerations into account in its procurement of raw materials, in production and in the end products. Tulikivi monitors the environmental effects of its operations in accordance with officially approved monitoring programmes. Tulikivi has permits for its entire production and for the storage and use of blasting materials, granted by the environmental and mining authorities.