Information obtained by Helsingin Sanomat suggests the Finnish Government is set to take full responsibility for the rescue of the beleaguered nickel mine of Talvivaara.
The Government has negotiated with potential investors throughout the summer, but to no avail, and appears to have no choice but to have its wholly-owned special-purpose company, Terrafame Mining, restore the profitability of the mining operation alone.
Terrafame Mining was established in June as a subsidiary of Terrafame, a special-purpose company founded earlier to oversee the rescue operation.
The newspaper has also learnt that Lauri Ratia, a seasoned senior executive, is set to be appointed as the board chairman of Terrafame Mining. Ratia, for example, conducted the preliminary negotiations with Meyer Werft over the acquisition of Turku Shipyard on behalf of the Government.
The nearly 70-year-old senior industrialist boasts an impressive resume. He has served as a board member at Sponda, VR Group, Paroc and Edita, as a long-standing managing director at Lohja Rudus, and as the head of Nokia's operations in the United States.
Helsingin Sanomat was unable to reach Ratia for a comment on Tuesday.
Matti Hietanen, the current board chairman at Terrafame and a senior advisor at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, refrained from commenting on the information on Tuesday. “We've held talks with a number of people over the summer. We've yet to come to an agreement with any of them,” he stated.
Information obtained by the newspaper also suggests the Government is inching closer to appointing a managing director for Terrafame Mining. It is looking for an applicant with international experience.
The bailout plan will be presented to the Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy for consideration next week.
The Ministry of Employment and the Economy sought to rescue the nickel mine in March with Audley Capital Advisors. The UK-based capital advisory firm was to take an 85 per cent stake and Terrafame a 15 per cent stake in the company to be established to acquire of the mining operation from the bankruptcy estate of Talvivaara Sotkamo.
Audley Capital Advisors, however, failed to scrape together the necessary funds.
Eeva Palojärvi - HS
Aleksi Teivainen - HT
© HELSINGIN SANOMAT
Photo: Ia Samoil-Salomaa