Hundreds of applications have been filed for ore prospecting in Finland -- including some in national parks.
Yle has created a map showing Finnish nature conservation areas overlaid with mining ventures. Many of the prospecting claims in are in areas protected under the EU's Natura 2000 programme, but some cover the entire area of national parks.
Under Finnish law, applications to search for ore deposits can be made by just about anybody and nearly anywhere. Altogether more than 40,000 square kilometres are included in various potential mining ventures. This includes most of Finnish Lapland.
However, beginning actual mining activities requires a series of permits, which must be approved by state and local officials. They can be blocked due to local opposition or potential environmental dangers, for instance.
Landowners are paid 20 euros per hectare annually for the right to look for minerals on their property. If prospecting continues for more than four years, the fee goes up.
Rising prices for precious metals are boosting interest in Finland's potential mineral wealth. The number and extent of prospecting claims has risen steadily.