Green Mining | Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Mineral Exploration and Mining Operations in the Arctic Areas of Finland
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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Mineral Exploration and Mining Operations in the Arctic Areas of Finland

Name: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Mineral Exploration and Mining Operations in the Arctic Areas of Finland

Acronym: UAV-MEMO

Duration: 1.1.2015-31.12.2016  (ongoing project!)

Total costs (€)/Tekes support:  Total budget 377 151 € / 339 433 €, GTK’s budget 312 026 €/280 823 €, ULAP’s budget 65 125 € / 58 610 €.

Leading research organization partner: Geologian tutkimuskeskus

Contact persons:

  • Accountable project leader Vesa Nykänen, Geologian tutkimuskeskus, vesa.nykanen(at)
  • Project manager Heikki Salmirinne, Geologian tutkimuskeskus, heikki.salmirinne(at)
  • Accountable project leader Lotta Viikari, University of Lapland, lotta.viikari(at)
  • Researcher Mikko Huttunen, University of Lapland, mikko.huttunen(at)

www: No website for project. In general, see,

Research organization partners: University of Lapland (ULAP)

Company partners: No company partners. The following companies are partly funding the project: Agnice Eagle Finland Oy, Mawson Oy, Nordkalk Oy and AA Sakatti Mining Oy.

Number of reviewed publications, incl. submitted manuscripts: At least one pursued (UAV-MEMO Handbook, in Finnish, in the GTK series of publications). Possible dissemination as separate scientific articles.

Number of other publications and reports: Possible dissemination through other channels

Need and motivation of the project:
UAV technology is advancing rapidly but is still not used much among mineral exploration or mining industry. There is great business potential among these fields. The key questions are: 1) What are the appropriate applications for UAV within the mining industry? 2) What are the main technical limitations? 3) What are the legislation and regulation issues involved?

Main set targets:
Projects main aims are to find out the user needs, test various techniques and conduct international benchmarking. Outcome of the project is a best practices handbook, UAV-MEMO.


Key results

UAV-MEMO handbook is still under construction and will be published at the end of 2016 (or in the beginning of 2017). Practical tests have so far shown that UAVs can offer a feasible platform for at least certain exploration purposes, and that there are currently only few regulatory barriers to operating in Finland.

Commercialization measures and/or potential:
The main users of the results and the UAV-MEMO handbook are SMEs providing services for mining and exploration companies, companies conducting mineral exploration and mining and authorities monitoring environmental impact of mining. The initial results of the project show great potential for commercialization from a global perspective. Full scale commercialization will require UAV operators and/or mining companies to move more extensively into product and service development.