From the Raw Materials Initiative to National Mineral Policies: A case from Finland
Saku Vuori, Mari Kivinen, Asko Käpyaho
Geological Survey of Finland, Espoo, Finland
Launch of the Raw Materials Initiative (RMI) by the European Commission in 2008 was a trigger for formulation of national mineral policies in some EU member countries. Finland was the first of these countries to launch national minerals strategy in 2010 followed by a research strategy in minerals in 2015. We review the policy practice behind these national strategies and discuss the general procedures for guiding the national use of minerals and related research and development. The policy practice can be reduced to five main phases being 1) becoming conscious about an emerging societal challenge, 2) definition of the preferred change and formulation of the needed policies and strategies, 3) enforcement of the selected procedures via selected channels having the effect on economic growth and/or reduction of the negative environmental effects (decoupling principle), 4) surveying of the effectiveness of these procedures, and 5) adjustment of the ineffective policy procedures. RMI could be considered as an example of the phase one of the policy practice at both EU level and national levels. It also took a stance on second phase on suggesting preferable changes and needed policies at the EU level. On national level the RMI was more clearly the initiator of the national minerals policy processes. After the policy and strategy formulation there was a launch of several research schemes both at EU level research and innovation framework programs and national level including themes on minerals and their sustainable use (phase 3). Based on this we argue that the mineral policies in EU are currently in the third phase and moving towards phases 4 and 5. Successful assessment of the effectiveness of the existing procedures and possible adjustments of policy measures in these phases requires increasing knowledge transfer between researchers and policy makers from the current level of activity.