Engineering & Mining Journal

OCT 2018

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 32 of 91

NORDIC MINING 2018 OCTOBER 2018 • E&MJ 31 nology will be developed and tested in a real mining environment to ensure that the Swedish mining industry can remain competitive and create jobs and growth, both locally in Norrbotten and nationally. This requires new control systems, new and improved mining equipment, as well as complex and efficient management systems that meet future demands for a sustainable industry. Reaching that goal will demand a new type of collaboration, a digital ecosystem in which the partners' digital systems and operations are linked. After 2030, LKAB must be ready to mine at greater depth in the Kiruna and Malmberget mines. For this, one of Swe- den's biggest industrial investments ever, decisions will have to be taken in the mid- 2020s. To be able to realize the technolo- gy shift and reduce climate impact, LKAB, ABB, Epiroc, Combitech and AB Volvo have joined forces to find solutions and set a new world standard for sustainable mining at great depth that would entail a major leap in technological development. "LKAB has a longstanding tradition of innovation and, to secure long-term com- petitiveness, we must find new methods and smarter solutions for continued min- ing of the world's best and purest iron ore deposits deeper in our underground mines. We are proud to enter into one of the big- gest collaborative ventures in Sweden to- day, a venture involving industry leaders that are contributing expertise and techni- cal resources. Together, we will develop a future mining industry that is sustainable, safe, carbon-dioxide-free, digitalized and autonomous," said Jan Moström, president and CEO, LKAB. Within the framework of the testbed, the best means of building an efficient autonomous production system that is carbon-dioxide-free and has the highest conceivable level of safety will be stud- ied. In the future autonomous and dig- italized mine, people and machines will work side by side. Implementation of the project will require very significant invest- ment on a national scale and the partners are therefore seeking collaboration with more suppliers, the Swedish state, re- search institutes and universities. Kaunis Iron Starts Fresh Kaunis Iron bought the Kaunisvaara mine in Pajala along with the associated pro- cessing plant and support facilities from the bankrupt Northland Resources. The deposit contains a high-grade iron ore that commands a premium price. Pro- duction began again in July 2018, with the hope of producing at least 2 million metric tons per year (mt/y). Working together with Carnegie Bank and about 80 Swedish contractors, Kau- nis Iron organized a private placement of more than 500 million SEK ($56 million) to reopen the mine. "We have been met with strong investor optimism," said An- ders Sundström, chairman, Kaunis Iron. "The response has been fantastic. [The private placement] gives us a safe base to start from. Even though we know exactly what product we have and how much we can produce, we cannot control the world market price of iron ore. It is the only un- certainty factor in all this. But we are very optimistic." In early October, Kaunis Iron loaded its first vessel with 72,000 mt of iron ore concentrate at the Narvik Harbor. The ore was destined for Tata Steel in Holland. Terraframe Bioleaches Base Metals A subsidiary of Finnish Minerals Group, Terraframe, is creating cleaner and cost-ef- ficient ways to produce metals and reduce the carbon footprint for the process. Bio- heap-leaching, their production technol- ogy, uses naturally occurring microbes to extract metals from sulphide minerals. Ore is first mined at the open-pit mine, then crushed, agglomerated, transported and then heaped onto bio-leach pads. Air is blown into stacks of ore and the stacks are irrigated with an acidic solution, cre- ating optimal conditions for microbial ac- tivity. Stacked ore is first leached for ap- proximately 15 months at a primary heap. Then it's reclaimed and conveyed onto a secondary heap for final leaching. The greenhouse gas emissions of the nickel production process are around 40%, sulphur dioxide emissions are 2% and en- ergy consumption is 20% lower than tradi- tional methods, according to the company. Finnish Minerals Group is a spe- cial-purpose company wholly-owned by the state of Finland. It is responsible for the state's holdings and development in the mining and battery sector as well as for promoting the development of a bat- tery cluster in Finland. In related news, the municipality of Sotkamo granted construction permits to Terraframe for two new buildings for bat- tery chemicals plant. Earthwork related to the plant project was started in July. Through the first half of 2018, Terraframe has mined 9.1 million mt of ore and leached 12,341 mt of nickel and 29,104 mt zinc from the heaps. Sotkamo Moves Closer to Production in Finland Sotkamo Silver is transitioning its Silver mine project near Sotkamo, Finland into production. The company, which owns mineral deposits that contain silver and gold in Finland as well as zinc and gold in Norway, recently signed a 4.5-year, EUR 60 million ($70 million) contract with Ta- pojärvi Oy to mine, and load and haul ore to the mineral processing plant. The work is scheduled to begin in October 2019. Kaunis Iron recently reopened the Kaunisvaara iron ore mine (above) in Pajala, Sweden.

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