In early November 2017, Fennoscandian Exploration and Mining will be arranged for the 11th time. Once again, the venue is Levi, Finland, in the heart of one of Europes few, prospering mining regions. In short, FEM has established itself as a tradition.
So, what is a tradition? According to Wikipedia, a tradition is “a belief or behaviour passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes (like lawyers’ wigs or military officers’ spurs), but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings.” Looking at FEM, it certainly fits fairly well, although “impractical but socially meaningful clothes” is for most participants probably restricted to wearing suit and tie. But just doing something because it is a tradition is perhaps a weak cause for travelling to Levi again and staying there for several days. A tradition must have some content!
Today, as internet has become a tool easily available and used for arranging web based meetings of all sorts of magnitude and topics, there is still room for events to meet people in real life. It might even be more important than ever, actually. Presentations and short courses are of course needed. In FEM, they cover topics from the latest Fennoscandian exploration and mining development news to latest technical developments in the industry at world scale. Technical topics set the framework for current high profile issues and insight into important areas of knowledge under development, but perhaps even more so there is a need for all those informal and sometimes unplanned and surprising discussions that cover successful projects, mistakes, challenges, early and advanced ideas, among other things. Discussions like that, between old and new acquaintances, are so very valuable, and equally difficult to arrange on web meetings – it takes face to face human interaction. In English, suomen kielellä, på svenska, på norsk – or whatever language you prefer.
This is what Fennoscandian Exploration and Mining (FEM 2017) offers, an occasion to learn and exchange ideas. A tradition with content! The event has a strong Nordic twist, but this year is a bit special as Finland and Canada are celebrating 100 and 150 years of independence, respectively. It is an excellent reason to learn, connect and celebrate a little extra in Levi this year, perhaps by honouring the Wikipedia description of a tradition by wearing “impractical but socially meaningful clothes”.
Dr. Kaj Lax
Chair of the FEM 2017 Organizing Committee
Head of department, Mineral Resources
Geological Survey of Sweden