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Exploration at Boliden

Exploration is about identifying, prioritizing, investigating and analyzing mineral deposits in order to fulfil the conditions for mining. Thanks to long-term prospecting work mainly conducted close to our mines, we continue to develop our business and safeguard the supply of metals for a long time to come.

From exploration to mine

Exploration can be divided into four main phases: selecting an area, initial regional investigations, local investigations and test drilling. We use various geological theories and models and interpret the collected material using multidimensional software.

If the deposit meets profitability requirements on the basis of volume and metal content, more studies are conducted regarding geological, environmental, technological and financial aspects. Not before then can mining come into the question.

It may take between five and 10, and sometimes up to 20 years from the first geological survey before mining operations begin.

Our exploration strategy

We focus on exploration close to our mines in all of our mining areas. It is a strategy that has been successful not only because the geological conditions are right, but also because it reduces the lead time from discovery to production.

At the same time, we also invest in field exploration, i.e. the search for ore in new areas, and we evaluate Joint Venture acquisition of exploration projects from other companies.

Technologies and methods

We work constantly to improve our working methods and develop techniques to enhance our ability to seek and find mineral deposits at greater depths than before. One example is our proprietary technology for electromagnetic survey that allows us to detect ore deposits at depths of more than 1,000 meters. Another is an electromagnetic instrument developed to identify ore bodies outside of bore holes.

Our exploration methods

Swedish Minerals Act

Exploration and Mining is regulated by the Swedish Minerals Act. The Chief Mining Inspector is the head of the Mining Inspectorate, which is the supervisory authority dealing with matters relating to exploration, mining and extraction of minerals. Any search for minerals requires an exploration permit issued by the Chief Mining Inspector and an applicable work permit drawn up by the operator. 

The operator must also comply with the permit requirements and obligations that are regulated in the Environmental Code. The Mineral Act regulates both who gets the exclusive right to investigate the bedrock geology and who gets preferential rights to mining.

Additional permits may also be necessary as the Mineral Act applies in parallel with other legislation. If a viable mineral deposit is found, a long application process for various permits involving several decision-making bodies follows before any mining may commence. Among other things, the operator must apply for a mining concession from the Mining Inspectorate. In addition to this, the operator's, landowner's and interested parties' rights and responsibilities are subject to the provisions of the Mineral Act.

More about the Swedish Minerals Act


Boliden Head Office

Boliden Group
Klarabergsviadukten 90
P.O. Box 44, SE-101 20 Stockholm
Tel: + 46 8 610 15 00
Fax: + 46 8 654 80 90