Tag Archives: Finland

Normet strengthens scaling and breaking market position with Rambooms, Marakon buys

Normet says it has agreed to acquire Rambooms Oy, a manufacturer and supplier of rock breaker boom systems, and Marakon Oy, a supplier of hydraulic hammers and excavator attachments for the construction and mining industries.

The Rambooms and Marakon businesses, with a manufacturing facility in Lahti, Finland, form the Marakon Group. The group has a wide customer base, and its products are found in most mining and construction markets, according to Normet. Marakon Group had 35 employees and net sales of €26 million ($27.8 million) in 2022.

Ed Santamaria, President and CEO at Normet, said: “Rambooms and Marakon are known for their high performing quality products. With the acquisition Normet strengthens its position in scaling and breaking as well as supports advancing towards higher levels of automation and electrification for the mining and construction industries. We look forward to welcoming the Marakon Group employees to Normet and supporting them in their future growth and development.”

Tomi Veijalainen, President of MRB-Holding Oy, added: “Throughout the past 40 years Marakon and Rambooms have grown together with both our business partners and employees. We feel trustful in the fact that this acquisition will allow for these shared success stories to continue. As this milestone marks a step towards new opportunities to advance and succeed, we are excited to follow the future accomplishments of both companies.”

The acquisition is expected to be closed this quarter, subject to the fulfilment of customary closing conditions.

Orica, Epiroc and Agnico Eagle carry out world-first development charging milestone at Kittilä

Orica and Epiroc, in partnership with Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, have successfully commenced live blasting with Avatel™ – the world’s first semi-automated wireless underground development charging solution at Agnico Eagle’s Kittilä mine in Finland.

The milestone brings to life an industry-driven concept that dramatically improves safety at the face, which is one of the highest risk activities in underground mining today, Orica and Epiroc say.

Avatel enables a single operator to prepare and wirelessly complete a full charging cycle from the safety of an enclosed cabin while offering the best available blast outcomes through the integration of Orica and Epiroc’s flagship digital, automation and blasting technologies.

The first successful blast was loaded and fired on November 22, 2022, comprising 61 Orica WebGen™ 200 Dev wireless primers and 295 kilograms of Orica’s Subtek™ bulk emulsion loaded to a development face at the Kittilä mine.

Orica Chief Technology Officer, Angus Melbourne, said: “Together with Epiroc and Agnico Eagle we are extremely proud of the team in creating a solution that keeps people out of harm’s way during what is considered one of the highest risk activities for underground miners around the globe.

“With Avatel, we can now effectively manage risk for the people who spend the most time every shift directly exposed to hazards at the development face while delivering all of the blast optimisation benefits that Orica’s flagship technologies bring. The combination of digital, automation and wireless blasting technologies and by partnering with customers and peers, we can continue to solve the industry’s biggest challenges across safety, productivity and sustainability, together.”

Sami Niiranen, President for Epiroc’s Underground division, said: “This is a true milestone achieved for our industry where Epiroc in partnership with Orica have led the way to safer underground operation. By building on our recognised solutions and advanced Rig Control System, Avatel paves the way to safe productivity for the mining industry.”

Jari Näsi, Development Manager – Kittilä Mine, Agnico Eagle, said: “We are proud to create history here at Kittilä where the first mechanised and wireless development blast was initiated. There is always some risk when working close to the face; being able to do this work safely and efficiently from the cabin is promising, and mechanising the process will give a better blasting result.”

The first commercial implementation of Avatel will take place at Newcrest’s Cadia Valley Operations from December 2022.

Robit, Veljekset Toivanen agree on drilling consumables pact for Sotkamo Silver mine

Robit Plc and Veljekset Toivanen Oy say they have signed a long-term cooperation agreement of supplying drilling consumables to the Sotkamo Silver mine in Kainuu, Finland.

The deliveries of Robit drilling consumables start along with the first mining project in January 2023. Veljekset Toivanen works as the prime contractor at Sotkamo Silver, and has a three-year-agreement in place with a two-year extension option. Robit also supplies its consumables to Endomines’ Pampalo gold mine for the opening of the Ilomantsi open-pit mine.

Arto Halonen (pictured left), Group CEO, Robit, said: “We are extremely pleased to start building a long-term cooperation with Veljekset Toivanen. This agreement strengthens Robit’s position as the leading drilling consumables supplier in Finland.”

Ari Keskitalo (pictured right), Mining Manager, Veljekset Toivanen, added: “Our previous cooperation with Robit run smoothly. Thus, the new agreement of drilling consumables supply to Sotkamo Silver mine creates a natural continuum. In addition, one of our company’s values is locality, so Robit as a domestic actor was an easy choice.”

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.”

Sandvik adds Turku plant to battery-electric vehicle manufacturing plan

Sandvik is expanding its plant in Turku, Finland, to incorporate the manufacture of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) for underground mining, it says.

Alongside the expansion, which is set to be completed in the second half of 2023, the whole of the plant for load and haul equipment is set to be enhanced and modernised.

Sandvik’s Turku Business Park project represents a significant investment of over €10 million ($9.7 million), with the investment in response to increasing demand for load and haul equipment for underground mining, together with the industry’s growing trend towards electrification and digitalisation.

The objective is to increase the capacity of Sandvik’s Turku plant and improve production efficiency. Improvements will be made to all aspects of the plant’s operations, including logistics, warehousing, production and assembly areas and quality control, Sandvik said.

The OEM will acquire an additional 7,000 sq.m of production and storage space by modifying space previously occupied by Tunturi, a manufacturer of bicycles and fitness equipment. The project will provide additional capacity for the production of BEV loaders and trucks, and includes investment in new welding robots and assembly lines.

Matti Seppälä, Project Manager at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “The upgraded production environment and reorganisation of operations will improve productivity, lead times and worker safety. Warehouse and recycling improvements will enhance the sustainability of our operations.”

Three completely new machine assembly lines will be built, two of which will be designated for the manufacture of BEVs – a first for the Turku plant, which has manufactured mining loaders and trucks since the early 1980s and employs around 700 people today.

The modifications that form part of the Turku Business Park project will enable flexible manufacturing of both conventional diesel and battery-electric mining equipment. The company’s plant in Camarillo, California, is currently the company’s main battery system hub for BEVs.

Mats Eriksson, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ Load and Haul division, added: “BEVs enable the electrification of mines, which increases productivity and improves working conditions, reducing emissions, heat and noise, although there will still remain a need for conventional diesel equipment for some time to come.”

To strengthen its development of mining BEVs, Sandvik recently acquired Akkurate, which specialises in battery technology, particularly remote battery diagnostic and prognostic platforms. Akkurate has now been integrated into Sandvik’s Load and Haul division, accelerating its expansion into battery-electric mining equipment and enhancing the current product offering.

Orica’s hardware and software platforms converging for Mining 4.0

Orica’s corporate vision of “mobilising Earth’s resources in a sustainable way” is being further realised through a host of developments from its Digital Solutions and Blasting Technologies divisions, IM reports.

Those involved in charging operations could soon benefit from the launch of Orica and Epiroc’s Avatel™ solution, which, in combination with the WebGen™ wireless initiation platform, offers the ability to remotely blast a development face.

At the same time, the company is busy with the sustainable production of emulsion, the integration of geological orebody information to optimise energy use for blasting, and the expansion of downstream mineral processing tools.

Avatel

Avatel is a combination of state-of-the-art hardware and software solutions designed to mechanise the blasting process.

It includes Orica’s HandiLoader™ emulsion process body, Epiroc’s M2C carrier integrating an RCS 5 control system with Orica’s LOADPlus™ control system, a WebGen 200 wireless initiation system and an automated WebGen magazine. Epiroc has also incorporated onboard dewatering and lifter debris clearing capability, while Orica’s SHOTPlus™ intelligent blast design software is leveraged to deliver superior blasting outcomes, Orica says.

Orica and Epiroc’s advanced technologies integrated into the Avatel system

These components help eliminate the need for personnel exposure at the development face throughout the charging stage of the mining cycle, keeping personnel out of the line of fire, by substituting inherently high hazard manual tasks with a mechanised development charging solution.

A prototype Avatel unit is set to commence operations at Agnico Eagle Mining’s Kittilä gold mine in Finland in the next few months. This follows “alpha trialling” of the complete prototype unit at Epiroc’s Nacka test mine in Stockholm, Sweden.

Adam Mooney, Vice President of Blasting Technology for Orica, said: “Our goal for Kittilä is to expose Avatel to a real mining environment, putting the unit through its paces in an active mine where safety, productivity and reliability are core requirements for success.

“We will gain a practical understanding of how Avatel will fit in with and benefit the entire mining cycle, while also taking the opportunity to measure the blasting improvements possible through the combined use of electronic initiation timing and the precise blast energy control available with Avatel.”

A separate unit, meanwhile, will head to Newcrest Mining’s Cadia copper-gold mine in New South Wales, Australia, later this year, for the first commercial deployment. This is currently undergoing pre-delivery commissioning at Epiroc’s customer centre in Burnie, Tasmania.

Cyclo

Not too far away in Papua New Guinea, Orica has successfully commissioned a Cyclo™ emulsion technology unit, which has been running at a customer site for around two months, according to Mooney. The unit in question has treated in excess of 100,000 litres of used oil, he said.

Cyclo combines the company’s emulsion technology with used oil processing technology to transform mine-site used oil for application in explosives. To provide the tight quality control and regular testing required to manufacture emulsions with such inputs, Orica has partnered with CreatEnergy to develop a standalone, on-site solution to treat used oil.

Orica initially scheduled Cyclo for market introduction in late 2022, but it scaled and sped up development and production plans to support customers’ operations and curtail material disruptions brought about by COVID-19.

The first automated containerised used oil recycling system was commissioned in Ghana late in 2021, with the Papua New Guinea unit being the latest deployment.

Cyclo – containerised, automated used oil recycling service at a customer site in Ghana, Africa

A Senegal Cyclo debut is on track for July given the unit is already in country and connected into the emulsion plant on site, Mooney explained.

The company also plans to bring to market a Cyclo unit suitable for Arctic conditions by the end of this year, with the solution already under construction.

Data to insights to intelligence

Aside from hardware and sustainable emulsion solutions, Orica has recently signed an agreement with Microsoft Azure predicated on creating data-rich and artificial intelligence-infused tools that enable productivity, safety and sustainability benefits on site, with Raj Mathiravedu, Vice President of Digital Solutions, saying such a tie-up enables the company to think of the blasting value chain in a much more holistic manner.

“Orica Digital Solutions’ purpose is to develop and deliver a suite of integrated workflow tools to enable the corporate vision of mobilising Earth’s resources in a sustainable way,” he said. “A key attribute to delivering this workflow is the journey that we need to incorporate from data to insights to intelligence.”

Mathiravedu says the company is looking to go beyond the traditional solutions pairing software and IoT devices for a discrete product to – with the help of Microsoft Azure capabilities – building “answer products” focused on improving workflows.

“These workflows can benefit from understanding how geology within the orebody intelligence space can help us determine the optimised energy required for blasting in a real-time production workflow,” he said. “We have started this journey and are already delivering value to our customers by integrating workflows from orebody to processing.”

One example of this is the company’s FRAGTrack™ suite of solutions, devised to provide blast fragmentation data with auto-analysis capability.

Delivered as part of the company’s BlastIQ Digital Optimisation Platform, FRAGTrack is able to capture real-time fragmentation measurement data for optimising drill and blast operations, improving downstream productivity and tracking of operational performance.

Originally developed for measurements on both face shovels and conveyors, the solution was expanded earlier this year with the launch of FRAGTrack Crusher for automated pre-crusher fragmentation measurements.

FRAGTrack Crusher installation at Stevenson Aggregates

There are several vendors offering fragmentation measurement tools throughout the industry, but Mathiravedu says Orica’s solution can carry out such analysis consistently and accurately – day or night – in extremely dusty and dynamic environments like mining.

“The FRAGTrack image processing technology can handle extremely dusty and lighting-affected conditions beyond any solutions in the industry,” Mathiravedu said. “It is also able to learn and adapt to specific operational environments like the dumping habits of different truck operators using artificial intelligence technology. Together with the integration with fleet management systems, it can provide a fully autonomous and integrated measurement solution.”

On conveyors, the FRAGTrack solution can reliably measure fines with increased accuracy compared with conventional systems that leverage curve-fit algorithms, according to Mathiravedu, with the advanced image and 3D processing techniques providing the ability to measure fragments down to 5 mm in size.

The combination of FRAGTrack Conveyor and Orica’s ORETrack™ solution can provide not only particle size distribution information, but also critical information on ore grade and hardness for the milling operations in real time.

“The FRAGTrack platform architecture has been designed to be scalable to incorporate different sensor inputs along with its high-performance GPU compute capabilities,” Mathiravedu said, explaining that there could be further analysis solutions down the line.

Metso Outotec integrates filtration expertise into new Larox FFP3716 Filter Plant Unit

Metso Outotec says it is launching a comprehensive Filtration Plant Units offering to maximise operational reliability in different types of dewatering applications where superior process performance combined with energy and water efficiency is required.

The offering consists of three major plant units around Metso Outotec’s Larox® PF and Larox® FFP, and Metso Outotec CC filter technologies, all designed for the dewatering of concentrates and tailings.

The latest addition to the offering is the Larox FFP3716 Filter Plant Unit, which represents the most advanced technology for the safe high volume processing of tailings, according to the company.

All Metso Outotec Filtration Plant Units are scalable and come as complete customisable solutions to meet even the most stringent customer requirements, the company explained.

Toni Kuisma, Product Manager, Filtration Plant Units at Metso Outotec, said: “We have been supporting our customers with filtration solutions for almost 100 years. Today, 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. The Filtration Plant Units combine all this knowledge to provide our customers with unrivalled dewatering performance.”

He continued: “We have also optimised the engineering and delivery process. The new plant unit concept provides the fastest time-to-volume for our customers. Special attention has also been paid to the units’ maintainability through, for example, advanced digitalisation. Their high level of automation enables easy optimisation and remote support.”

These units, which consist of advanced filters, screens, filter feed tanks, slurry pumps and conveyors, are pre-engineered for faster project execution. They are also coupled with process control system and various ancillary products and expert services, supported by the Metso Outotec Dewatering Technology Center (DTC) in Lappeenranta, Finland.

The integrated service offering provided by the company’s global network ranges from filter inspection and dewatering optimisation to spares and wears and remote support and Life Cycle Services.

Kati makes biofuel drilling switch at Keliber lithium project

Oy Kati Ab, a drilling contractor, has started to use biofuel in the drill rig operating at Keliber’s lithium exploration site in Central Ostrobothnia, Finland.

Tapani Niskakangas, Acting Managing Director at Kati, said: “Taking the environment into consideration and minimising the negative impacts is a guiding principle for us at Kati as well as Keliber. When we learned that Neste MY Non Road Diesel™ was available also in northern Finland this autumn, Keliber was the first company we proposed to introduce it, and we received a positive answer right away.”

According to calculations made at Kati, the switch from regular fuel oil to biofuel makes it possible to reduce emissions by at least 50%. It is estimated that, during 2020, drilling at the Keliber work site generated emissions of 78.04 t of CO2e, of which 95.2% was caused by fuel usage. If biofuel had been used, the estimated emissions would have been 37.90 t CO2e or 51% less. The emission reduction (40.14 t CO2e) is equivalent to a 286,714.3 km journey by car.

Keliber’s CEO, Hannu Hautala, regards the fuel switch as a good example of sustainable operation, which Keliber is committed to: “We are continuously looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact and improve our operations when new possibilities emerge. I am happy about this opportunity to switch to renewable energy at the drilling site.”

Kati started to use biofuel at the Keliber site during the second week of December. According to Niskakangas, the switch was easy: the machines run on biofuel as smoothly as they do on fossil fuels. And there is an added safety benefit as biofuels do not endanger water organisms or human health. This more than offsets the additional 25% price tag for biofuel over fossil fuels, which translates into an increase of about 2% in the total drilling cost.

Niskakangas said: “Keliber is the first of our customers to use biofuel. We are interested in expanding its use, but its popularity has a lot to do with logistics. Today, we transport the MY renewable fuel from Kemi harbour to our storage tank in Kalajoki.”

Kati has been working with Keliber on its lithium project for some 20 years. In recent years, Keliber has had continuous exploration and resource drilling operations, and the annual total drilling has varied from 10-20 km.

The planned Keliber operations include lithium mine sites and a concentrator plant in Kaustinen, Kokkola and Kruunupyy, and a lithium hydroxide plant in Kokkola.

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