Tag Archives: Finland

Metso Outotec invests in Lappeenranta filtration technology centre

Metso Outotec is opening a new laser welding unit, customised for demanding production conditions, at its filtration technology centre in Lappeenranta, Finland.

The new laser welding unit will add to the centre’s manufacturing capacity and enable the production of higher-quality welded structures in a safer and more environmentally friendly manner, the company says. The value of the investment is approximately €1 million ($1.2 million).

Markku Teräsvasara, President of Metso Outotec’s Minerals business, says: “Investing in an efficient laser welding unit is one example of our desire to focus on being an industry leader also in filtration technology.

“In Lappeenranta, we produce several types of filters used in demanding industrial applications. We have systematically developed our capabilities in Lappeenranta over the years. Today, the technology centre for solid-liquid separation, which we opened in 2015, serves customers around the world.”

In addition to Lappeenranta, Metso Outotec provides filtration technology to customers worldwide from its Turku and Suzhou facilities in China, Jussi Venäläinen, Vice President of Metso Outotec’s Filtration Business Line says.

“Our filtration equipment is used, for example, in the mining, chemical and food industries,” he says. “All of them require reliable filtration to ensure high quality of their end products.”

Metso Outotec says its filtration technology centre in Lappeenranta plays an important role in the development of industry innovations. In addition to manufacturing, the centre operates a Dewatering Technology Center, which is focused on solid-liquid separation. It also has continuous cooperation with the Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology, among others.

Venäläinen added: “We have a long legacy of filtration expertise – our first filters were made as early as the 1930s in Sala, Sweden. Our selection of filtration technologies is the largest in the field, and their energy, emission and water efficiency is in a league of its own.

“Most of the filtration solutions are part of our Planet Positive range of products. Our filters are safe, easy to use, and quick to maintain, and their high level of automation enables continuous optimisation and remote support. We also provide comprehensive filter maintenance, including lifecycle services.”

Metso Outotec has carried out more than 14,000 filtration tests and delivered more than 5,000 filters for various applications worldwide. Most of the filters are sold under the Larox® product name along with Metso Outotec corporate branding.

In Finland, industrial filter production began in 1977 in Lappeenranta under Larox Oy. In 2009, it continued under Outotec (Filters) Oy, and, after the Metso Minerals and Outotec merger, the filtration technology centre became a part of Metso Outotec. The Lappeenranta site employs around 200 people.

Cummins’ PrevenTech Mining keeps Komatsu trucks, wheel loaders going at Boliden mines

Cummins says its solutions are helping maximise machine uptime on trucks and wheel loaders running its engines at Boliden’s mines in Sweden and Finland.

In the vast open-pit copper mines here, the temperatures can drop as low as -40°C, testing the sturdiest of machinery working day and night extracting and hauling ore.

“It wouldn’t be so tough on the equipment if the thermometer stayed in roughly the same place for any decent length of time, but up there on the edge of the Arctic Circle it’s not unusual for a bitingly cold day to be followed by a more temperate one that feels positively tropical by comparison,” Cummins says.

The unpredictable swing in temperatures makes it difficult to keep equipment in full working order, with parts freezing and thawing, but it’s a challenge taken on by Cummins, which has signed service and maintenance agreements with the Swedish and Finnish distributors of Komatsu specialist mining equipment.

Cost-per-hour agreements – the first of their kind for Cummins in Europe – cover a total of 17 QSK60 Tier 4 Final engine-powered vehicles in Finland, while, in Sweden, a support contract covers a further nine examples of Komatsu’s 2,700 hp 930-E dump truck and a pair of the world’s largest wheel loaders, the L2350.

European DBU leader, Alok Joshi, and Sander Thorstensen, Cummins Leader for the Nordic region, arranged the contracts with the Komatsu distributors Hesselberg (Sweden) and SRO (Finland).

“We are relatively new to the mining sector in Europe,” Thorstensen says, “but all the feedback we have received so far has been incredibly positive, helped by our outstanding new PrevenTech® Mining telematics technology.”

PrevenTech Mining is a real-time digital monitoring and reporting system that provides an early warning of potential equipment operating issues. It helps plan maintenance and service, ensuring machinery is offline as little as possible, boosting productivity for, in this case, Boliden.

Janne Valmari is managing the Komatsu operations for Cummins Sweden. He has appointed two dedicated service technicians for Boliden’s Aitik copper mine just south of Gällivare in northern Sweden, and four technicians to cover Boliden’s Kevitsa mining operations across the border in Finland.

Valmari said the stream of data from PrevenTech allows the Cummins technicians to identify and diagnose performance issues faster and with greater accuracy, so they can see, for example, if an engine has been idling too long or revved too high, and can plan in the right fixes.

“It puts the mine owner in complete control, with no expensive surprises and benefitting from a higher return on their investment in product,” Valmari says.

Thorstensen added: “With their goal of keeping production running non-stop round-the-clock, I am certain Boliden sees the Komatsu-Cummins relationship as a core element of its strategy, and we will continue to strengthen our ties with Boliden and the Nordic mining industry in general.”

This is an edited version of an article that appeared in The Cummins Magazine

Sandvik celebrates 50 years of the Toro load and haul heritage

Sandvik is celebrating the 50th birthday of its renowned Toro™ family of loaders and trucks for underground hard-rock mines.

This name has been recognised for decades, with the bull figure and the word Toro symbolising both a rich history and a promising future, Sandvik says.

The history of the bull at Sandvik dates to September 3, 1971, when the first Toro loader started its engine in Tampere, Finland. It was a Toro 100DH loader with a “massive” (at the time) 1.5-t carry capacity. Later on, the design and production facilities moved to Turku, which became the home base of the Toro family.

In 2020, after 15 years of dormancy, Sandvik reintroduced this old family name again.

“Today, the Toro family is characterised by design principles of safety, strength and intelligence,” Sandvik says.

“Safety is everything for those who work underground with heavy equipment, and it is the number one driver in the product design.

“In addition to safety of operators and maintenance personnel, the design needs to be sound from a sustainability perspective. Strength and power are at the very heart of the old Toro heritage and robust design, reliability and performance in the most demanding conditions are also the foundations for the current offering.

“The third element, being smart, evolves quickly. Sophisticated digital systems such as Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® offerings are fine examples of intelligence, but smart solutions are needed all over the equipment, including operator ergonomics, easy maintenance access and component layouts.”

On August 31, Sandvik introduced a new i-series 15 t loader, the Toro™ LH515i, which was launched in Canada.

The Toro family includes loaders and trucks in all size classes and for all market areas. The key technologies are diesel-powered loaders and trucks, cable-electric loaders, and, as a newcomer, a battery-assisted loader that, according to Sandvik, is making an entry on the marketplace very soon.

Otso Gold names Hartikainen as contract miner ahead of restart

Otso Gold Corp has executed a mining contract with E Hartikainen Oy, one of Finland’s largest mining and construction contractors.

The agreement is for the provision of all mining services at the Otso gold mine, in central Finland, for a term of three years.

As part of the agreement, machinery for mining has begun to be mobilised to site in advance of the start of mining next month.

Brian Wesson stated “The company is pleased to have partnered with Hartikainen at the Otso Gold Mine and looks forward to working together. The execution of the mining contract is an important milestone towards the start of production next month.”

Arto Hartikainen, Managing Director of Hartikainen, said: “We are very happy with Otso Gold Mine’s partnership and we are starting preparation work right away. Safety, quality and productivity will play a key role in the development of our services at the Otso Gold Mine’.

Back in March 2019, Nordic Gold (the previous owners of the mine) terminated its agreement with mining contractor Tallqvist Oy and decided to place the Laiva (now Otso) gold mine on care and maintenance, months after pouring first gold.

In July, following an $11.155  million financing, Otso Gold started its move to production, announcing plans to get back up and running at the 2 Mt/y nameplate operation in the September quarter.

HALMEK LITHIUM to work with Metso Outotec on lithium hydroxide plant

HALMEK LITHIUM has selected Metso Outotec’s patented lithium hydroxide process for production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide at its greenfield plant in the Tula region in Russia.

The order value, which is not disclosed, has been booked in the company’s Metals June quarter orders received.

Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery consists of the engineering and key equipment supply for the lithium hydroxide process, the basis of which will be the Metso Outotec OKTOP® autoclave plant. The environmentally sound production process is one of Metso Outotec’s more than 100 Planet Positive products, the company said.

Pavel Galchenko, VP, Halmek Lithium, said: “One of the most important tasks in the project was the selection of technology. Instead of the more traditional sulphuric acid processing to produce lithium hydroxide, we decided to choose the Metso Outotec lithium hydroxide process as it is the most promising and environmentally-sound process at the moment.

“The pilot tests conducted at the Metso Outotec Research Center in Pori, Finland, provided excellent results.”

Mikko Rantaharju, Vice President, Hydrometallurgy business line at Metso Outotec, said: “Metso Outotec has developed lithium hard rock-related technologies for some 20 years now. It started with the battery-grade lithium carbonate process and, when the market changed to favour lithium hydroxide, the process flowsheet was converted to directly produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate from spodumene.

“Both of the processes are patented and will be significant assets in our battery chemicals business, meeting the need to produce high-end lithium-ion battery chemistries for the growing market.”

HALMEK LITHIUM’s new hydrometallurgical plant, which will complement its existing lithium hydroxide plant, is currently under construction. As raw material, the new plant will use spodumene concentrate; it will feature a capacity of 20,000 t/y of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate, which is used in the production of batteries for electric vehicles. The first production line is planned to start up in 2023, and the second production line with a capacity of 20,000 t/y is expected to start production in 2026.

HYBRIT partners produce world’s first hydrogen-reduced sponge iron

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall say they have now produced the world’s first hydrogen-reduced sponge iron at a pilot scale.

The technological breakthrough in the HYBRIT initiative captures around 90% of emissions in conjunction with steelmaking and is a decisive step on the road to fossil-free steel, the partners say.

The feat from the HYBRIT pilot plant in Luleå, Sweden, showed it is possible to use fossil-free hydrogen gas to reduce iron ore instead of using coal and coke to remove the oxygen. Production has been continuous and of good quality, the companies said, with around 100 t made so far.

This is the first time ever that hydrogen made with fossil-free electricity has been used in the direct reduction of iron ore at a pilot scale, according to the HYBRIT partners. The goal, in principle, is to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the steelmaking process by using only fossil-free feedstock and fossil-free energy in all parts of the value chain.

Hydrogen-based reduction is a critical milestone, which paves the way for future fossil-free iron and steelmaking. SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall intend, through HYBRIT, to create the most efficient value chain from the mine to steel, with the aim of being first to market, in 2026, with fossil-free steel at an industrial scale, they say.

Last year, HYBRIT, a joint initiative of SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, began test operations to make hydrogen-reduced sponge iron in the pilot plant built with support from the Swedish Energy Agency. The technology is being constantly developed and the sponge iron that has been successfully made using hydrogen technology is the feedstock for the fossil-free steel of the future, they say.

Jan Moström, President and CEO at LKAB, said: “This is a major breakthrough both for us and for the entire iron and steel industry. LKAB is the future supplier of sponge iron and this is a critical step in the right direction. Progress with HYBRIT enables us to maintain the pace in our transition and, already in 2026, we will begin the switch to industrial-scale production with the first demonstration plant in Gällivare, Sweden. Once LKAB has converted its entire production to sponge iron, we will enable the transition of the steel industry and reduce global emissions by around 35 Mt a year, which corresponds to two thirds of Sweden’s entire emissions. This is the greatest action we can take together for the good of the climate.”

Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO at SSAB, added: “This technological breakthrough is a critical step on the road to fossil-free steel. The potential cannot be underestimated. It means that we can reach climate goals in Sweden and Finland and contribute to reducing emissions across Europe. At the same time, it creates new jobs and export successes. SSAB’s transition means we will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10% in Sweden and 7% in Finland. High-strength fossil-free steel will also allow us to help our customers to strengthen their competitiveness. As early as this year, we will deliver minor quantities of steel made using hydrogen-based reduction to customers, and in 2026 we will deliver fossil-free steel at a large scale.”

The hydrogen used in the direct reduction process is generated by electrolysis of water with fossil-free electricity, and can be used immediately or stored for later use, according to the partners. In May, HYBRIT began work on building a pilot-scale hydrogen storage facility adjacent to the direct reduction pilot plant in Luleå.

Anna Borg, President and CEO at Vattenfall, said: “Sweden’s and Vattenfall’s fossil-free electricity is a basic requirement for the low carbon footprint of hydrogen-reduced sponge iron. The breakthrough that we can announce today shows in a very real way how electrification contributes to enabling a fossil-free life within a generation.”

Metso Outotec completes Metals business reorganisation

Metso Outotec says it has completed the reorganisation of its Metals business as part of the turnaround program announced in the December quarter of 2020. As a result, the segment’s operational model has been adjusted to “better meet customer needs, as well as the scale and nature of the business today”.

When the negotiations related to the reorganisation started on December 9, 2020, the estimated need for reduction was a maximum of 160 permanent redundancies in the Metals operations globally, including up to 60 redundancies in Finland.

As a result of the negotiations, approximately 100 jobs will be reduced globally, including 15 in Finland. Most of the global reductions are through redundancies and the rest through other arrangements, such as retirements, non-renewal of fixed-term contracts, and voluntary resignations, the company said. In addition, over 50 employees who were in the scope of the Metals reorganisation will continue in Metso Outotec in other parts of the company.

Jari Ålgars, President, Metals business area at Metso Outotec, said: “The reorganisation of the Metals business aims for annual savings of €15 million ($18.1 million). During the negotiations, we carefully evaluated all opportunities with the target to find the best possible options to meet the needs of our customers and employees. The now completed reorganisation empowers the Metals business lines for efficient use of resources and faster decision making.”

Autonomous loading and hauling pays off at Agnico’s LaRonde, Kittila gold mines

Increased uptake of autonomous loading and hauling technology at the LaRonde (pictured) and Kittila gold mines has helped Agnico Eagle Mines post a record quarter of production for the last three months of 2020.

Payable gold production in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 501,445 oz at all-in sustaining costs of $985/oz, the company reported. This compared with 494,678 oz at an AISC of $1,039/oz in the prior-year period.

Homing in on LaRonde Complex (including the LaRonde mine and the LZ5 Mine), in Quebec, Canada, Agnico put the good performance at LaRonde – production of 105,729 oz during the quarter, down from 112,704 oz in the prior-year period when gold grades were 7.3% higher – down partially to the automation strategy that, the company said, had helped improve productivity and allow continuation of mucking activities during non-entry protocols related to seismicity.

In 2020, 13% of tonnes mucked from stopes at the LaRonde mine were carried out in automation mode and, in December 2020, a record 39% of the production mucking at the LaRonde mine was carried out from surface, which included 100% of the production mucking from the West mine area.

At LZ5, in 2020, 14% of tonnes mucked and hauled to surface were accomplished in automated mode with operators based on surface. This surpassed the 15% target the company had set. For 2021, it is expected 17% of the tonnage will be mucked and hauled remotely to surface and the production rate is expected to be sustained at around 3,000 t/d. “The LZ5 automation team will continue optimising the automated mining techniques,” Agnico said.

Agnico said the target for 2021 is to muck over 17% of the total tonnage for the LaRonde Complex from surface. The company said it is also carrying out work to perform production drilling using automation.

In a January presentation, Agnico stated that 10 LHDs and four trucks had been equipped with Sandvik’s AutoMine® system. Back in 2018, Sandvik announced that the LaRonde mine would become the first operation to use AutoMine with LTE communication network underground on a production scale.

To continue tailings deposition through the LaRonde Complex life of mine, Agnico is also constructing dry-stack tailings facilities, which are expected to be operational by the end of 2022. Dry stacking will help limit the footprint of the new tailings facility and improve the closure of the main tailings ponds, Agnico said.

Moving to Finland at the Kittila gold mine, the use of automation also paid off.

The company said Kittila continued delivering strong performance in the December quarter of 2020, with production above forecast by around 6,000 t. This also coincided with the commissioning of the expanded mill at Kittila, which is now ramping up towards the design capacity of 2 Mt/y.

The mine delivered a record full-year ore production of around 1.85 Mt in 2020, according to the company.

“This performance (in Q4) is driven by an improved fleet management and an increased usage of automation,” Agnico said.

Kittila has been testing autonomous hauling trucks and tele-remote equipment and is targeting to achieve 50% of production drilling and 15% of hauling remotely in 2021, it said.

On top of this, Agnico said the mill had consistently increased availability and the company was evaluating the implementation of advanced process control in 2021.

Robit to supply drilling consumables to Agnico Eagle’s Kittilä gold mine

Robit and Agnico Eagle have signed a long-term cooperation agreement for drilling consumables supply to the Kittilä gold mine, in Finland, with the deliveries to start on May 1, 2021.

The company previously supplied diamond button bits to Kittilä mine for production drilling, thus, the mine and conditions are familiar to Robit, it said.

Tommi Lehtonen, CEO of Robit Group, said: ”We are happy to start this cooperation, which is a result of a long-time work and is an important reference to the company. It is also an investment in the domestic market. We are excited of this collaboration, which, in addition to product supply, offers an opportunity to develop our products together with one of the leading mining companies.”

Jari Kolehmainen, Production Manager at Kittilä mine, Agnico Eagle Finland Oy, added: “We are delighted with this agreement and expect a long-term and close collaboration. Together we have an opportunity to develop drilling consumables, eg diamond button bits and Sense Systems products, to serve customer needs even better.”

Kittilä mine is the largest gold mine in Europe. It extracts annually about 1.6 Mt of ore, yielding about 7,000 kg of gold. At current production volumes, the mine’s known ore reserves are expected to produce gold until 2034.

Nornickel backs responsible sourcing and production practices with blockchain agreement

Norilsk Nickel says it is joining the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network (RSBN), an industry collaboration among members across the minerals supply chain using blockchain technology to support responsible sourcing and production practices from mine to market.

The move to join RSBN comes after Nornickel announced a broad strategy to use sophisticated digital technologies to create a customer-centric supply chain, which would include metal-backed tokens on the global Atomyze platform, a tokenisation platform that represents physical assets in digital form. Both the Atomyze and RSBN platforms were developed by leveraging Hyperledger technology, with IBM’s participation, the PGM and base metal miner said.

With Nornickel joining the RSBN, a series of its supply chains will be audited annually against key responsible sourcing requirements by RCS Global. The audits cover each stage of the company’s vertically integrated operations from mines in Russia to refineries in Finland and Russia.

Once audited against responsible sourcing requirements, each supply chain will be brought on to the RSBN and an “immutable audit data” trail will be captured on the platform, proving responsible nickel and cobalt production, its maintenance and its ethical provenance.

“Integration with RSBN is yet another step for Nornickel towards achieving greater business sustainability by creating a permanent record of minerals on the blockchain,” the company said.

At a later development stage, data such as upstream carbon intensity and other ESG attributes will be tracked, it added.

Built on IBM Blockchain technology and powered by the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric, the RSBN platform helps improve transparency in the mineral supply chain by providing a highly secure and immutable record that can be shared with specified members of the network, Nornickel says. Additionally, RCS Global Group assesses each participating entity both initially and annually against responsible sourcing requirements set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and those enshrined by key industry bodies, including the Responsible Minerals Initiative.

Anton Berlin, Nornickel’s Vice President, Sales and Distribution, said: “As one of the largest industry groups globally and the producer of the minerals essential for the transition to a carbon-free world, Nornickel is well aware of its responsibility to make the metals supply chains sustainable and highly transparent. We believe that the digital technologies of RSBN and Atomyze will create the path for Nornickel and its partners to participate in a circular value chain, tracing commodity flows in near real time as well as replacing cumbersome paperwork.”

RCS Global CEO, Dr Nicholas Garrett, added: “The RSBN has proven that responsible sourcing can be traced and documented using blockchain technology. Assuring Nornickel’s supply chains is another milestone engagement for RCS Global and Nornickel’s commitment to the RSBN and demonstrates momentum for blockchain backed responsible sourcing platform in the metals sector.”

Manish Chawla, Global Managing Director, Chemicals, Petroleum & Industrial Products, IBM, said: “Norilsk Nickel is an important addition to the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network and we look forward to their contributions to help advance the assurance for responsible sourcing and the group’s sustainability goals that have a direct impact on successful and accountable development for entire industries.”

RSBN is designed to be adopted across industries by original equipment manufacturers in automotive, electronics, aerospace and defence as well as their supply chain partners such as mining companies and battery manufacturers.