Terrafame’s bio heap leach nickel mine in Sotkamo, Finland, has entered into an agreement with dealer Rotator Oy to renew the existing Hitachi mining equipment during 2022-2025. The agreement between Terrafame and Rotator includes two 369 t Hitachi EX3600-7 excavators and seven 181 t payload EH3500AC-3 mining trucks. In addition, the agreement includes an option to replace all the existing older equipment.
The oldest EX3600-6 excavator and EH3500ACII mining trucks have reached more than 60,000 operating hours. Rotator Oy has taken care of their maintenance at the mine from the beginning. The new machines will be assembled and delivered to Terrafame ready for commissioning at the mine. The first excavator and trucks with MTU Stage V-level engines will be completed in Japan during May-June 2022.
Rotator Oy and Terrafame have also entered into an extension agreement for the maintenance of Terrafame’s existing equipment for the next three years. This agreement also includes an option for a two-year extension. The statement said Hitachi designs mining machines with a ‘future proof’ modular concept, so that changing environmental values can be taken into account during the service of the equipment, allowing Hitachi to reduce the use of oils and fuels such as by extending service intervals. But Rotator Oy told IM that Terrafame chose the latest Hitachi equipment as it also gives them possibility to convert to trolley assist or autonomous operation at a later date if they decide to do so.
“We are pleased with the agreement with Rotator to renew the mining equipment. Multi-year cooperation and the competitive life cycle cost of the equipment were the decisive factors behind the decision. In addition, the ‘future proof’ concept used by Hitachi supports the long life cycle of the equipment and helps to manage the carbon footprint of production in the future. We believe that the long-lasting cooperation will make it easier to renew the equipment over several years, ”says Seppo Voutilainen, Director of Mining at Terrafame Oy. “Continued cooperation with the Terrafame mine is very important to us. The agreement is a great sign of confidence in Rotator Oy’s services and Hitachi products. Cooperation with Terrafame strengthens our position in the mining sector and helps us to develop our iron expertise even better, ”says Jari Valtanen, President and CEO of Rotator Oy.
Terrafame produces nickel, zinc, cobalt and copper at the operation and in 2018 a decision was made to invest in a battery chemicals plant. Once production starts in April 2021, the plant will use the metal recovery plant’s current main product – nickel cobalt sulphide – as its raw material. When the company starts to refine the intermediates currently sold as a raw material to metal refining companies, it will move forward in the value chain to become a manufacturer of specialty chemicals. The new plant is one of the world’s largest production units for nickel sulphate used in electric vehicle batteries.