Tag Archives: Boliden

Boliden’s trolley journey continues to evolve with Kevitsa line launch

In its latest move to become the most climate friendly and respected metal provider in the world, Boliden has opened the trolley line at its Kevitsa mine in Finland.

The line, which encompasses a 1.3-km-long track, now has three Komatsu 227 t 830E-5 trucks running on it, according to Stefan Romedahl, President Business Area Mines, Boliden. “The following 10 trucks will be converted in the spring of 2023 when the in-pit trolley line will be commissioned,” he told IM.

This project aims to cut the mine’s carbon dioxide emissions, with estimates the volume of CO2 emitted could reduce by 9% over mine’s lifetime using this electrical infrastructure.

Boliden is not new to trolley operations. It started testing trucks on the Kevitsa line late last year, while its Aitik copper mine in northern Sweden ran electric-drive trucks on trolley as far back as 2018.

Following a two-year trolley assist pilot project on a 700-m-long line at Aitik – which saw Eitech and ABB supply electrical infrastructure; Pon Equipment and Caterpillar carry out truck modifications; and Chalmers University provide supporting research on system aspects of the electrification – the company, in late-2019, decided to further invest in trolley operations at Aitik. This was announced at the same time as the Kevitsa trolley plans.

Romedahl confirmed there are now 14 Caterpillar 313 t 795F ACs trucks running on a 1.7-km-long trolley line at Aitik, which will be extended as the depth of the mine increases.

Stefan Romedahl, President Business Area Mines, Boliden

While all the trucks at these two operations use diesel-powered propulsion after they come off the trolley infrastructure, Romedahl said the plan was to convert them to ‘zero emission’ solutions in the future, with a battery-trolley setup under consideration.

“Yes, this is the long-term strategy,” he said. “Boliden is working closely with our suppliers to achieve this in the upcoming years.”

With the world requiring many more mines to electrify industry, Romedahl was hopeful more of these would move towards fossil-free operation.

“At Boliden we have the vision to be the most climate friendly and respected metal provider in the world,” he said. “That is not something you can have as a vision without doing quite a lot in the field of sustainable company development. The trolley lines are one of many activities we do to reach that vision.

“For Boliden, it is crucial to perform in the direction of fossil freeness as soon as possible. The green transition can’t happen in 10 years; it needs to happen now.”

Mines and Money London looks at Resourcing Tomorrow

Beacon Events has rebranded the Mines and Money London event and come up with three comprehensive tracks that, it says, covers a spectrum of critical topics around the energy transition, ESG, sustainability, circular economy, technology, services and junior mining investment.

New for 2022, Resourcing Tomorrow, brought to you by Mines and Money, is a global forum for the coming together of decision makers, mining leaders, policymakers, investors, commodity buyers, technical experts, innovators and educators for three days of learning, deal-making and unparalleled networking, the event organisers say.

With an anticipated audience of 2,000 attendees, Resourcing Tomorrow runs from November 29 to December 1, 2022, at the Business Design Exhibition Centre in London.

The three tracks – Resourcing Tomorrow, Reimagining Mining and Mines and Money – will cover 120-plus talks, panel discussions and keynote presentations from 150-plus industry experts. This includes:

  • Jakob Stausholm, Chief Executive, Rio Tinto;
  • Mark Bristow, President & Chief Executive Officer, Barrick;
  • Roy Harvey, Chief Executive Officer, Alcoa;
  • Mikael Staffas, President & Chief Executive Officer, Boliden;
  • Stuart Tonkin, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Star Resources;
  • Rohitesh Dhawan, President and Chief Executive Officer, International Council of Mining and Minerals, ICMM
  • Katy Hebditch, Head of Engagement – Technical and Sustainability, Anglo American;
  • Ellen Lenny-Pessagno, Global Vice President for Government and Community Affairs, Albemarle; and
  • Elaine Dorward-King, Non-executive Director for Sibanye Stillwater, Kenmare Resources and NovaGold.

On the third day, the Mines and Money Outstanding Achievement Awards will take place at the Bloomsbury Big Top to celebrate the very best of the industry through awards from exploration to deal making, from innovation in technology to CEOs who have made a difference, these awards recognise and reward excellence.

International Mining is a media sponsor of the Resourcing Tomorrow event

Epiroc records ‘best quarter ever for electrification’

In a quarter of record revenues and adjusted operating margin, Epiroc’s battery-electric equipment orders and market demand for electrified mining solutions again came to the fore.

The company posted revenues of SEK11.9 billion ($1.2 billion) in the June quarter, 22% up on the same three-month period of a year ago. Its adjusted operating margin came in at 23.6%, compared with 22.6% a year earlier.

Epiroc’s aftermarket division continued to dominate the balance sheet, accounting for 73% of revenues, which itself was up on the 69% registered in the June quarter of 2021.

Included within this revenue is the company’s growing mid-life battery retrofit solution, which it launched last year to provide a second electrified life for its diesel-powered machines. Able to convert existing machines to battery-electric versions, CEO Helena Hedblom said the offering continued to find favour with existing mining customers.

“With brownfield operations, there are great opportunities to bring battery-electric solutions into the fleet with our retrofit option when, for example, existing diesel-powered machines go in for their mid-life upgrades,” she said.

To this point, the company has devised readily available battery-electric retrofit options for its diesel-powered Scooptram ST1030, Scooptram ST14 and Minetruck MT436 machines, but Hedblom said the company was working on offering this option across its entire diesel-powered fleet, with the machine retrofit rollout plan determined by the size of the installed base in the marketplace.

The company also won several major equipment contracts in the June quarter that included battery-electric solutions.

Its electric machines are set to feature on major projects such as Odyssey and Onaping Depth in Canada. Closer to home in Sweden, the Epiroc battery-electric fleet will grow at LKAB’s underground iron ore operations and Boliden is set to use several of zero-emission truck and loaders at numerous mine sites.

Epiroc labelled Q2 as its “best quarter ever for electrification”, and Hedblom was equally effusive about the company’s offering, saying it was built for both greenfield and brownfield mines.

“We have a strong position in the electrification market; both for equipment sales, retrofit and electrical infrastructure,” she said.

The company’s infrastructure proposition was strengthened during the quarter with the acquisition of JTMEC, an Australia-based company specialising in providing mines with electrical infrastructure.

This comes on top of the company’s recent purchase of Meglab, a Canada-based company with expertise in providing electrification infrastructure solutions to mines, meaning it has electrification infrastructure expertise in two major mining hubs.

One of the battery-electric orders received during the most recent three-month period was from Boliden for the Rävliden, Kristineberg and Renström mine sites in northern Sweden. Included within this order was an Scooptram ST18 Battery that, the company previously confirmed, will include the incorporation of Scooptram Automation, representing one of the first times these battery-backed machines will receive an automation upgrade.

While a solution for automating the battery charging or swapping process remains some way off, Hedblom sees the convergence of the two – electrification and automation – getting closer in the future.

“Electrification and automation go hand in hand, with companies that are high on electrification also typically being high on automation,” she said.

Epiroc to supply Boliden’s Kristineberg and Renström mines with battery-electric, autonomous solutions

Epiroc says it has won a large order from Boliden for mining equipment, including battery-electric and automation solutions, for use at some of the company’s underground mines in Sweden.

Boliden, one of Europe’s largest mining companies, has ordered battery-electric versions of the Boomer face drilling rig, Boltec rock bolting rig and Epiroc’s largest automated Scooptram loader, the ST18, with Batteries as a Service. The ordered equipment also includes, among other machines, the Easer raiseboring rig and Epiroc’s newest production and face drilling rigs, Simba and Boomer, in the E-series.

The machines will be used at the Rävliden Kristineberg and Renström mine sites in northern Sweden. Boliden is mining zinc, copper, lead, gold, silver and tellurium at the mines.

On the Scooptram ST18 Battery, specifically, Mattias Pettersson, Global Portfolio Manager Underground Loaders, confirmed that the battery-electric machine heading to Boliden’s operations would be upgraded to Scooptram Automation. This will coincide with several other BEV customers receiving automation upgrades around the same timeframe, according to Pettersson, adding that the battery charging process will not be automated in this instance.

At Rävliden Kristineberg, Boliden and Epiroc are also involved in a project to develop and demonstrate an electric trolley truck system on a test track, with ABB being the third project partner.

The order is valued at more than SEK100 million ($9.8 million) and was booked in the June quarter of 2022.

“Boliden is focused on making its operations as safe, sustainable, and productive as possible and to produce metals with a low carbon footprint, and we are proud to support them on this journey,” Epiroc’s President and CEO, Helena Hedblom, said.

The Simba production drilling rig and the battery-electric loader Scooptram ST18 will be equipped with the 6th Sense solutions Simba Automation and Scooptram Automation. This will enable operators to control the machines remotely from the comfort of a control room, according to Epiroc. All units will be equipped with Epiroc’s telematics system, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time.

Boliden on mining’s differentiation pathway

When Mikael Staffas joins a panel on stage at the EIT Raw Materials Summit in Berlin, Germany, to discuss building a world-leading raw materials industry for Europe next month, he will be able to reference more than a few examples of sector excellence from his own company.

The Sweden-based mining and metals company has been leading from the front for decades, leveraging new and innovative technology, employing a more diverse workforce and engaging local stakeholders and regulators in a manner viewed as progressive from peers across the globe.

Gaining recognition from your mining company peers is one thing but gaining it from the public and EU-based decision makers is something altogether different.

According to Staffas, CEO of the company, the latest summit, which takes place on May 23-25, is part of a series of actions and events slowly getting these two groups to understand the importance of raw materials and the companies that produce them.

“We are moving this industry away from a perception that we are part of the problem, to an environment where we are seen to be part of the solution,” he told IM.

Staffas says the raw materials industry has been viewed as fundamentally important to Europe for several years in terms of tackling the climate change challenge – which will be reinforced at the summit – but the “regionalisation of economies” that has been brought about by COVID and the more recent geopolitical situation means this importance has, once again, been reinforced.

Within this context, Staffas is due to discuss at the event the fundamental need for copper and nickel in the energy transition. He will also shine a light on the importance of lead and zinc in this evolving landscape.

Boliden, through its mines and smelters in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Ireland, is a producer of all four of these metals. It can also add gold, silver, sulphuric acid, cobalt and palladium to the list.

As the general population is beginning to understand the importance of these raw materials and metals to their future, Boliden is trying to differentiate its own offering from the rest of its peers.

Not satisfied with simply matching the industry’s carbon emission and net zero goals to 2030 and beyond, Boliden has laid the gauntlet down to the rest of its competitors by registering two new products: Low-Carbon Copper and Low-Carbon Zinc.

The formula for these two low-carbon products is based on the production of finished metal, from cradle to gate, that has emissions of less than 1.5 t of CO2 per tonne of copper, compared with the global average of around 4 t of CO2 per tonne. For zinc, the threshold is even lower – less than 1 t of CO2 emissions per tonne of zinc, compared with the industry average of 2.5 t.

To this point, the introduction of both products has resulted in a slim premium over other products on the market, but Staffas still deems the launches as successful.

“The point was to differentiate our products, with many people expected to receive this differentiation,” he said.

The customers represented just one set of recipients, but Staffas said these new products also play into the ‘licence to operate’ equation, as well as discussions with authorities and non-governmental organisations.

The intention was to also lay down a benchmark the rest of the industry could start to use or discuss, he added.

Boliden’s carbon dioxide calculations include emissions along the entire value chain up to the customer according to the Scope 1, 2 and 3 Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Life Cycle, following the ISO 14064-3 standard.

“While this might not be the only way to measure CO2, we think it is the best one,” Staffas said. “We are trying to force the industry to adopt a common way of measuring the CO2 footprint.”

This has led some of Boliden’s customers to enquire about how much embedded CO2 is in competitor zinc and copper products, ensuring the discussion spreads throughout the industry.

The obvious intention of devising such products is price, but Staffas said they also provide protection.

“When things get bad from an economical perspective, these products could really make a difference,” he said. “The customers might not pay extra for them, but if they scale down their purchases, our contracts should be the last to be cancelled.”

Staffas says Boliden is also aiming to add nickel and lead to its suite of low-carbon products in the future.

“Nickel is a special case for us as we don’t produce finished nickel; we produce a nickel matte,” he said. “We may team up with a refinery to make a joint product or do something else to ensure we can quantify the emissions according to our chosen protocols.

“Whichever way this development goes, we have to ensure we cover cradle-to-gate with these calculations otherwise it is not a true representation of the embedded carbon in that product.”

Electrification

While quantifying the carbon emissions of products is still relatively new in mining and smelting, Boliden has been using a carbon price in its internal technical studies and projections for close to a decade now.

It has been leveraging electrified sources of power for even longer. For instance, its Rönnskär copper smelter in Sweden has been using an electric oven since the 1990s.

More recently, the company has added trolley assist at Aitik and Kevitsa to this electrified base and employed ventilation on demand and heat exchangers at underground mines (the former) and smelters (the latter) to optimise its energy use.

It also has plans for underground trolley-battery haulage operation at its Rävliden (part of Kristineberg) project in Sweden through a project with Epiroc and ABB, while it is conducting a battery-electric vehicle loading trial at the Garpenberg mine, also in Sweden, with Sandvik. On the transport side, the company has recently teamed up with Scania to electrify part of its heavy-duty road transport in northern Sweden.

“It is one thing to review where we started; it is another to look at where we are going,” Staffas said on this topic. “We are planning to get better and better and go on to reduce our CO2 footprint further.”

On its way to achieving a goal of reducing its carbon dioxide intensity by 40% by 2030, the company is also looking at, among other levers, its use of explosives and cement: two key scope 3 inputs.

Staffas is confident Boliden can hit these ambitious goals by leveraging the innovation ecosystem within the Nordic region.

“For the CO2 journey we are now on, the Nordic mining cluster has and will continue to be very important,” he said. “We have big suppliers like Epiroc, Sandvik, Metso Outotec, ABB, Volvo and Scania on our doorstep. They have always worked closely with us, and we work closely with them on joint development projects.

“I think that is the main reason we are so far ahead of our competitors when it comes to our use of technology and innovation, and why we are confident in achieving our ambitious climate goals.”

Sleipner Finland boosts site safety and productivity with new simulators

Sleipner Finland Oy says it has taken the need for improving working safety and remote training to a new level with its E-series simulator products.

The company has launched both portable and static simulators to train excavator operators at mine and quarry sites, it said.

The two new simulators have been created for different solutions. The portable simulator is light and movable, while the static simulator is a training station installed at the working site. With the simulators, operators can be trained on the new E-series products, or they can be retrained to maintain a certain quality level for operating the E-series, the company said. And since the world has changed more towards working remotely, the simulators create the possibility for completely remote training.

Sleipner has now completed testing at two mines in Finland with around 20 operators. The feedback from the operators was very good, according to the company.

Teijo Höylä, Product Manager at Sleipner, said: “For example, we trained excavator operators at the Boliden Kevitsa mine. Many of the attendees had variable working experience with excavators. The new simulator saved our customer almost two full days of valuable production time. Also, I noticed that both experienced older operators and younger ‘PlayStation generation’ operators were able to learn on the simulator very quickly.”

Training with the simulator can reduce costs by 66% compared with traditional on-site training by saving fuel, maintenance and resources from productive work, according to Sleipner.

Karl Marlow, Training Manager & Product Support at Sleipner, said: “The mine supervisors were happy that we were not taking machines out of production. Also, there was not a classroom of operators waiting for their turn on the simulator, so they could return to their work until their turn.”

He added: “Normally we would do a classroom theory session with around five to 10 people pending on the mine production releasing operators. Then we could send some operators back to work and call them back for their turn on the simulator, as sometimes it can take up to an hour per operator.”

Benefits from the simulator training can be sorted into four groups: work safety, increased training efficiency, increased productivity, and lower maintenance and training costs, the company said.

Marlow added: “The benefits to the customer include no losses in production from taking two machines out for training, no risk of accidents or incidents as the training takes place in a classroom instead of the mine area, and less lost time by not having operators just sitting around.

“Also, the level of operating skills required can be zero, meaning untrained operators spend more time on the simulator rather than posing a risk in the mine or pit. The one simulator can cover both small excavators and larger ones. Also, all the tasks we cover in theory and practice can be done on the simulator.”

Sandvik and Boliden partner on 3D parts manufacturing project

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has partnered with Boliden on a small-scale trial of 3D manufactured parts that, the companies say, will help both companies assess the potential of 3D printing.

Additive manufacturing – or 3D printing as it is more commonly known – is maturing fast, and has progressed from printing plastic components to now being able to print ceramics and metals.

To discover the potential of the technology, Boliden has teamed up with Sandvik to run a trial that will see machine parts printed digitally and installed on underground drill rigs.

The trial with Sandvik involves a set of specially redesigned components printed digitally at a Sandvik-managed facility in Italy, with their performance being monitored on machines in Boliden’s underground mines – first in Sweden, then in Ireland.

In theory, the 3D metal parts could perform as well – or even better – than traditionally manufactured items, the OEM said, adding that the first components have been put into operation at the Garpenberg mine in Sweden, with performance still to be evaluated.

“Additive manufacturing shows a lot of potential, both in reducing carbon footprint within the supply chain, through reduced or eliminated need for transport and storage of parts and also shorter delivery times,” Ronne Hamerslag, Head of Supply Management at Boliden, said. “This trial will give us a deeper understanding on how we can move forward and develop our business in a competitive way.”

3D printing is an exciting prospect for OEMs too, as Sandvik’s Erik Lundén, President, Parts & Services at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions, explains: “Mining equipment can last up to 25 years – and needs to be supported throughout that time – even in the most remote of locations. We have many different SKUs (stock keeping units) and, from an inventory point of view, we can’t tie up the capital that keeping all these parts in stock would entail. 3D printing of parts locally offers us the prospect of not only getting parts to the customer much faster, but doing so far more sustainably.”

Although in theory any part could in future be 3D printed, it is likely to be maintenance and repair operating items that are the first to get the additive manufacturing treatment, such as the bushes, brackets, drill parts, etc. that customers need to change every 3,000-4,000 hours.

But printing of the parts is only one part of the puzzle that the trial with Boliden is trying to solve.

Another is working out the future business model for 3D printed parts. Who does the printing – the OEM, the miner, or a third-party printing company? What will the costs be? What about intellectual property rights, warranties and liabilities? All these elements – and more – need to be resolved in the development of a 3D printed future.

Hamerslag concluded: “If you ask me, it’s the most exciting thing that’s happening in the supply chain. Its efficiency, speed and climate friendliness mean that we have to investigate additive manufacturing closely. We are only at the proof-of-concept stage with Sandvik right now, but it’s already clear that it could become a game-changer for the spare parts business in mining – for both miners and equipment manufacturers.”

Epiroc shows off sustainability credentials in another record quarter

In a quarter characterised by high customer activity and a strong demand for aftermarket services, Epiroc had another reason to be positive with the validation of its 2030 sustainability goals by the influential Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Further records were broken in the December quarter – this time it was revenue (coming in at SEK11.1 billion (US$1.19 billion) and operating profit (coming in at SEK2.59 billion) – as the company continued to benefit from its in-house efficiency programs; value-added automated, electric and digitalised offering; and strong order pipeline.

At the same time, Epiroc’s sustainability credentials were shown off for the world to see between October 1 and December 31.

In addition to the SBTi validation, over this period, the company laid out plans at its Capital Markets Day for its third battery-electric retrofit project, the Minetruck MT436B; secured its first order for Scooptram ST1030 battery conversion kits from Evolution Mining’s Red Lake gold operations in Canada (on top of the delivery of new ST14 Battery LHDs); extended its range of flexible charging products for battery-electric mining equipment; and announced a project with Boliden and ABB to develop a next-generation battery trolley setup for the Kristineberg mine in Sweden.

The only thing that was missing from this packed three-month period was the launch of a brand-new battery-electric machine, yet this will come. Epiroc has plans to electrify its full fleet of underground load and haul equipment by 2025 – including battery-electric retrofit solutions for its existing diesel fleet – alongside electrifying its surface fleet by 2030.

In line with SBTi requirements, Epiroc is committing to halve its absolute CO2 emissions in its own operations – so called Scope 1 and Scope 2 – by 2030, with 2019 as base year. However, more than 99% of Epiroc’s total CO2 emissions are other indirect emissions, with about 83% of the total coming from when customers use the products. It has, therefore, committed to halve the absolute CO2 emissions from use of sold products – so called Scope 3 – by 2030.

“This is industry leading and well above SBTi’s minimum requirements,” Epiroc said of the Scope 3 target. “The transition from diesel-powered to battery-electric machines will make a significant impact.”

Does this mean Epiroc will turn off the diesel-powered taps at a certain point, saying it will only supply electric equipment to customers?

Mattias Olsson, Senior VP of Corporate Communications, says no such action is planned, explaining that these Scope 3 targets align broadly with its mining customer base’s own CO2 emission cut goals. The majors all have plans to decarbonise their operations, with the most ambitious looking to hit net zero in 2030-2035. Codelco, for example, plans to electrify all its underground operations by 2030.

Demand for this equipment is bound to be high, which is where Epiroc’s retrofit program could become crucial.

Designed to allow miners an ‘entry point’ into cutting emissions underground through its in-demand midlife rebuild program, Olsson said supply of these machines could accelerate the industry’s electrification uptake and provide quicker access to zero emissions equipment compared with the long lead times that come with new battery-electric machines.

In a market that is becoming increasingly crowded, such an option may differentiate Epiroc from the rest of its peers, in the process, helping it achieve its ambitious goals to help keep global warming at a maximum 1.5° C.

Metso Outotec to supply equipment for Boliden’s Green Zinc Odda project

Metso Outotec says it has been awarded a contract for the delivery of key technology to the Boliden Odda zinc smelter expansion in western Norway.

Approximately 90% of the €150 million ($170 million) contract has been booked in the company’s Metals Q4/2021 orders received and the rest in Minerals Q4/2021 orders received.

With the expansion, Boliden Odda is planning to increase its annual production capacity of zinc metal from 200,000 t to 350,000 t. Several by-products will also be produced.

The project is called “Green Zinc Odda”, and its energy consumption is based on fossil-free energy.

Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery includes roasting and off-gas cleaning solutions and a sulphuric acid plant, with the OEM also supplying hydrometallurgical equipment and technology for calcine leaching, solid liquid separation, solution purification, as well as process and plant engineering and site services. The deliveries are set to take place in 2022-2024.

Jari Ålgars, President, Metals business area at Metso Outotec, said: “The Green Zinc Odda project paves the way for more sustainable zinc production and is yet another important milestone in the many years of collaboration between Boliden and Metso Outotec.”

Boliden Garpenberg set for first Sandvik LH518B BEV trial in Europe

Boliden’s Garpenberg zinc operation in Sweden will become the first mine in Europe to trial the battery-electric Sandvik LH518B LHD, the OEM has confirmed.

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions and Boliden have agreed on a 12-month collaborative trial period for the new 18-t battery-electric loader.

Garpenberg is considered the world’s most productive underground zinc mine and Sweden’s oldest mining area still in operation. As a purely battery-powered loader, the Sandvik LH518B will support Boliden’s efforts to improve sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions underground. The trial is planned to start in late 2022.

The Sandvik LH518B is easy to implement in most underground operations, as it does not require any major changes to mine infrastructure, Sandvik said. The loader’s Sandvik AutoSwap and AutoConnect features facilitate seamless installation of a fresh battery in less than six minutes, enabling it to return to operation sooner than ‘fast-charge’ mining BEVs. The battery swap is performed by the loader itself, controlled by the operator in the cabin, without need for overhead cranes or forklifts.

As a third-generation BEV, the Sandvik LH518B has been designed from the ground up entirely around its battery system and electric driveline to fully leverage on the battery system possibilities.

Garpenberg joins a host of other mines across the globe trialling this battery-electric LHD. There are two trials set to take place in Australia – at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville mine and Gold Fields’ Hamlet North mine – plus units at New Gold’s New Afton in Canada, Kennecott Utah Copper’s underground development project at Bingham Canyon and Gold Fields’ South Deep operation in South Africa.