The staff restaurant at the Pyhäsalmi mine is not your average Amica restaurant. Located on the bottom floor of the largest base metal mine in Finland, restaurant Pyhäsalmi is one of the few underground restaurants in the world. Not everyone has access to this restaurant.

The Pyhäsalmi mine in Pyhäjärvi in Northern Ostrobothnia is Finland’s largest and Europe’s deepest operative base metal mine, specialising in copper and zinc. Restaurant Pyhäsalmi provides mine employees with staff catering in two shifts on weekdays.

“This is a high-safety area, which lays a framework for our operations. For example, we cannot prepare food underground. In addition, we must always wear protective shoes, protective goggles and a helmet when moving outside the restaurant. Each of us has completed the required safety training,” says Henry Laine, restaurant manager.  

Lunch is prepared in a separate kitchen overground. The trip to a depth of 1,410 metres takes three minutes by a lift or around 30 minutes by car via a 10-kilometre tunnel. The miners’ favourite dish is oven-baked sausage, which always attracts a full house.

The lift running to the restaurant is primarily intended for the transport of ore, which means that the restaurant can only be accessed at specific times. Access to the restaurant also requires safety training. In other words, access is limited to employees of the mining company and the restaurant.

 “Despite its location, the mine restaurant looks exactly like other Amica restaurants. Only the windows are missing,” Henry says with a laugh.

In addition to the mine kitchen, Henry works in the overground kitchen and the Lepikko guest house in the mine area. Lepikko serves as a restaurant and an accommodation facility for corporate guests. It was completed in 1870 and served as an inn of the Crown. Lepikko takes visitors on a journey into history: everything is as it used to be – even the menu.