For its 9th and last Peer Review Visit, the REMIX project headed towards the North to the city of Joensuu, Finland, in mid-March. The visit was hosted by Business Joensuu and the Regional Council of Lapland and included both a deep-dive into the mining and metallurgy industries at national and regional level, as well as visits to local metallurgy and mining actors. The new Smart Specialisation partnership on mining industry and global value chains, supported by a number of REMIX and MIREU regions, was also officially launched during the Peer Review Visit.
The first day of the visit kicked off with presentations that provided an insight into the mining and metallurgy industries in the regions of North Karelia and Lapland, as well as a more general overview of mining policies and active mining operations in Finland. In the afternoon, the participants jumped on a bus that took them to the Outokumpu Industrial Park, where they got an introduction to the history and current activities of the Outokumpu company and a factory tour of the Outotec Turula Factory. This visit provided the perfect occasion to present the OECD Mining Regions Case Study on the area of Outokumpu, which aims to provide recommendations to deliver better local and regional development policies in a mining and extractives context. The case study was presented by Chris McDonald from the OECD and Ilkka Nykänen from Business Joensuu.
The morning on the second day was dedicated to the peer review session, where topics such as mining heritage site revitalisation, research and development, and circular economy were presented and discussed. The discussions resulted in many interesting and valuable insights and learnings, e.g. on how to successfully promote and further the circular economy and how to enhance workforce development and skills.
In the afternoon, the S3 partnership on mining industry and global value chains was officially launched and presented to the participants. It is a partnership under the Smart Specialisation Platform for Modern Industrialisation and is led by MIREU and REMIX partner regions Lapland and North Karelia. The other participating regions are Castilla y León, Sterea Ellada, Västerbotten, Kainuu and Asturias. The session kicked off with an introduction to the methodology of the smart specialisation industrial modernisation partnerships, followed by presentations of all the participating regions. If you are interested in learning more about this S3 partnership, you can find its dedicated page here.
The last day was dedicated to two exciting visits in the region. The first stop was made at the Tulikivi soap stone factory, where the participants got an introduction to the history of Tulikivi and their famous soap stone ovens, which can be found in many homes not only in Finland but around the world, followed by a tour of the soap stone quarry and the Tulikivi factory. Afterwards, the bus took the participants to the second destination for the day, namely the Koli National Park. After a well-deserved lunch, it was time for the participants to explore a part of the park while learning about its geological history.
The last REMIX Peer Review Visit offered valuable insights for the participating stakeholders into topics such as circular economy, revitalisation of mining heritage sites, and research and development in the regions of North Karelia and Lapland. The many visits to regional mining and metallurgy actors also allowed the participants to create a holistic view of the mining and metallurgy industries in the region. The Peer Review Visit also provided a glimpse into the future collaboration between some of the REMIX and MIREU regions, which surely will benefit from the experiences and knowledge shared through this and all the previous Peer Review Visits. Finally, it laid the basis for the REMIX Final Conference, which took place in mid-May in Wroclaw, Poland, and which wrapped up this first phase of the REMIX project.