Nordic Iron hires Paterson & Cooke to evaluate feasibility of backfill disposal of tailings

As part of Nordic Iron AB’s (NIO) goal to build a modern mine with the lowest possible environmental impact, the consulting company Paterson & Cooke has been hired to evaluate alternatives for better management of the tailings from its planned enrichment operations. “Our goal is to find methods of waste disposal that significantly reduces the environmental impact of mining operations. The method(s) must also be financially attractive,” says Nordic Iron Ore’s CEO Lennart Eliasson.

Paterson & Cooke are evaluating alternatives to the waste management programs on which previous studies are based. NIO already has an environmental permit for traditional handling with a sand reservoir above ground, but the chosen mining method with backfilling of the mining chambers opens up the possibility for further reducing the mine’s environmental impact.

If these preliminary studies show that this is potentially an attractive option, this alternative will be further developed rapidly to a feasibility study level. In this case, an application must be made to the Land and Environmental Court to obtain permission to deviate from the solution described in Nordic Iron Ore’s environmental permit to take into account this improvement. It is not anticipated that these changes will impact upon the development schedule to achieve production. Paterson & Cooke’s work is scheduled to be completed during the current quarter.

Nordic Iron Ore is a mining company aiming at reopening and developing iron ore production in the main Ludvika mines Blötberget and Håksberg which are located in Dalarnas County, southern Sweden, about 215 km northwest of Stockholm. Moreover the company intends to expand its mineral resources and upgrade them to iron ore reserves, mostly through prospecting and study of the Väsman-field, connecting the two main mines. Both Blötberget and the Håksberg field have been actively mined up until 1979, when the former owner SSAB closed the mines. These were not exhausted at this time, but operations were shut down due to low iron ore prices and lack of efficiency and profitability. The company has all the necessary permits in place for the mine in Blötberget and will be able to produce iron ore of extremely high quality. It has also stated that the mines will be built “using the latest high standards and levels of automation” already proven at efficient European mining operations.

Construction could commence as early as September 2021 with production starting July 2023. The project would develop in three phases: Phase 1 Blötberget with >1.6 Mt/y over a 10+ year mine life; Phase 2 Väsman with ~1.6 Mt/y over a 17+ year mine life and Phase 3 Håksberg with ~1.2 Mt/y. Total Measured + Indicated Resources are 79.8 Mt @ 39.6% Fe and production is planned to be 66-71% high grade concentrate/pellet feed suitable for DRI and hydrogen based steelmaking processes.