Anglo American discovers huge nickel deposit in protected Finnish bog

Anglo American (LON:AAL) has discovered what could be Europe's largest nickel deposit in a bog in Finnish Lapland.

Helsingin Sanomat reports exploration drilling by the British-American mining giant has found samples of ore containing 4% nickel in the Viiankiaapa mire area north of Sodankylä. That compares to 0.4% nickel in the nearby Kevitsa deposit being developed by First Quantum Minerals (TSE:FM), which has spent about 300 million euros constructing a new copper-nickel mine.

The news site says Anglo American plans to double the number of drill holes to chart the width and depth of the deposit. The ore body is believed to extend to the surface and measure one kilometre long by half a kilometre wide.

Along with Kevitsa and the new Anglo American deposit, the area also hosts two gold mines and a prospective iron ore mine:

"When all mining projects in Lapland are combined, we are speaking about a billion euros' worth of investments, and thousands of jobs,” says Esko Lotvonen,  the County Governor of the Regional Council of Lapland.

The project is still in its very early stages. Anglo American must submit an environmental impact evaluation (YVA ) to the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) for Lapland, reports Helsingin Sanomat. The prospective mine lies within a network of protected areas known as Natura 2000. Allowing the mine to proceed would require an exemption from the Finnish parliament, which has never been granted before.