V-LINC analyses Present and Future Pathways for the Pyhäsalmi Mining Services Cluster, Finland

V-LINC analyses Present and Future Pathways for the Pyhäsalmi Mining Services Cluster, Finland

Published on: Monday, 29 January 2018

Pyhäsalmi Mine is the second deepest metal mine in Europe, the zinc and copper mine is owned by First Quantum Minerals, a Canadian mining corporation. However, as the mine is a significant economic driver not only in terms of the jobs it creates directly but through its impact on employment in the services sector - the impact of its closure when its resources are depleted in September 2019 will be significant. As the Pyhäsalmi Mine prepares to close it is important that industry players, business support organisations and policy makers understand how the mining and services ecosystem operates both within the Nihak region as well as its external relationships forged beyond, so that collaboratively, they can deliver employment and growth through supportive policy and re-training.

Image: Onsite at the Pyhäsalmi Mine in Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland.


A collaboration between Dr John Hobbs, Cork Institute of Technology with Panu Jalas, Kerttu Saalasti Institute, University of Oulu and complemented by Nihak Oy was developed to provide input for the Anticipated Structural Change planning due to the closure of the Pyhäsalmi Mine. The study aims to make recommendations aimed at securing and growing the mining services sector in Pyhäsalmi based on in-depth interviews with mining services firms from the region who are involved in the cluster – utilising the V-LINC methodology developed by Dr Eoin Byrne and Dr John Hobbs of the Cork Institute of Technology. The project is funded through the AIKO programme by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in Northern Ostrobothnia.


The V-LINC methodology has been applied to a sample of mining services firms based in Pyhäsalmi. Thirteen companies were chosen to participate in the analysis, all Micro-Enterprises. Thirteen face to face meetings were held with company personnel to gather information in regard to the strategic business relationships that the respondent firms engage in at present. Firms were also asked then to predict the new customers and markets they would foresee themselves dealing with in 2021. This future analysis provides some context for the policy and training requirements of firms at present - to help them achieve these goals. A selection of the reported linkages across Finland are shown below.

Image: Dr John Hobbs, CIT with Kimmo Pennanen, Project manager, CALLIO during a tour of the Pyhäsalmi mine.

Dr Hobbs is excited about the analysis in Pyhäsalmi he explains, “We've completed the V-LINC analysis with different industry sectors and networks across the globe, including, Agri-food, Biotech, Cosmetics, Maritime and Tourism. For the first time we will experience the mining industry. This is also the first time, the V-LINC analysis has been used to analyse future and anticipated structural change, which is extremely interesting and challenging. I’m looking forward to the results and outputs.”

Image: Dr John Hobbs with Dr Panu Jalas of the Kerttu Saalasti at the interviews with firms from the Pyhäsalmi Mining Services Cluster 17/01/2018.

Dr Panu Jalas of the Kerttu Saalasti Institute microenterprise research group believes that “when scientists meet, and create new ideas through projects, especially internationally – we can all learn collectively and share benefits. This is a very interesting project as it allows us to trial the V-LINC methodology in collaboration with our partners in Ireland Our partners In Ireland, the interviews with companies have been interesting and provide bottom-up opinions from the firms themselves.”

The results of the analysis will be published following a steering committee meeting in Finland in late February.

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