Tag Archives: Sakatti

Anglo American and Finnish Minerals Group look to progress Finland’s battery strategy

Anglo American and Finnish Minerals Group have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together to explore opportunities to, they say, further support Finland’s battery strategy.

Finnish Minerals Group is a holding and development company that manages the Finnish Government’s mining industry shareholdings and supports the development of the Finnish battery value chain. Among other assets, it holds the Terrafame nickel heap leach mine.

Alison Atkinson, Projects & Development Director at Anglo American, said: “Finland is a highly attractive investment destination and has a strong heritage in both mining and innovation. We look forward to working with Finnish Minerals Group, whose mission is to responsibly maximise the value of Finnish minerals, to explore the wealth of opportunities that our agreement could offer.

“This agreement further strengthens our commitment to Finland as well as to our Sakatti project, a true polymetallic orebody very much aligned to Finland’s and the EU’s critical minerals priorities. Sakatti is designed as the next generation of FutureSmart Mining™, building on what we have learned in terms of minimal surface footprint and using technology and innovation to deliver ever better environmental and social outcomes, whilst producing essential raw materials needed to transition to a greener, low carbon energy future.”

Atkinson said last year during a sustainability performance update that Sakatti was set to be “a remotely operated, low carbon-underground mine with an electric mining fleet using technology and mining methods that will create zero waste and enable high degrees of water recycling, contributing to a sustainable supply of critical minerals”. The company also sees the potential to use sorting technologies for coarse particle rejection and material recovery opportunities at the project.

Jani Kiuru, Senior Vice President, Raw Materials at Finnish Minerals Group, said: “Exploring joint opportunities with Anglo American is a natural choice for us as they already know the Finnish operational environment. In addition, the company has a long history in mining and is a forerunner in sustainability. We believe this collaboration reinforces both parties by combining local and global knowhow in sustainability and technological development, thus maximising the value of Finnish minerals responsibly. We see there is a mutual understanding on the vast possibilities and importance of Finnish minerals for the green transition.”

As a Finnish state-owned company with a mandate to foster the Finnish mining and battery industry, Finnish Minerals Group is a natural potential partner for Anglo American in Finland, Anglo American says. The company’s main assets are: Terrafame, a subsidiary that produces nickel and cobalt sulphates; project Sokli, a phosphate and rare earths deposit; and a 20% interest in Keliber, a battery-grade lithium project aiming to start production in 2025. Additionally, Finnish Minerals Group is advancing several greenfield investments further downstream in the battery value chain.

Sakatti-FutureSmart Mining

Anglo American highlights next FutureSmart Mining advances at Woodsmith, Sakatti

Anglo American has provided its latest sustainability performance update, highlighting a number of technological advancements the company is looking to take at its in-development Woodsmith polyhalite mine in the UK and its exploration asset, Sakatti, in Finland.

Anglo American says it has an integrated approach to sustainability in project development, helping secure its ability to deliver responsible long-term growth in future-enabling metals and minerals.

The company is moving towards its goal of carbon neutral operations by 2040, evolving its pathways as it progresses, learns and as technologies develop.

At the end of 2022, its Scope 1 and 2 emissions were 21% below the peak levels of 2019 – a significant reduction that, Anglo American says, reflects its transition to 100% renewable electricity supply across its South America operations, with Australia to follow in 2025.

In southern Africa, it is working in partnership with EDF Renewables to build a 3-5 GW renewable energy ecosystem of wind and solar generation capacity, designed to tackle its largest remaining source of Scope 2 emissions and support energy reliability and grid resilience while catalysing broad socio-economic opportunities.

While Scope 3 emissions reduction is largely dependent on the decarbonisation of Anglo American’s value chains and the steel industry, in particular, it is progressing towards its ambition to halve these emissions by 2040.

Tom McCulley, CEO of Anglo American’s Crop Nutrients business, provided several references to Quellaveco, Anglo American’s most technologically-advanced mine that uses automation, a remote operations centre and high levels of digitalisation, when looking at its FutureSmart Mining™ plans at Woodsmith, a 5 Mt/y operation that could ramp up to 13 Mt/y.

McCulley, who also led development of Quellaveco, said Woodsmith will be developed as a benchmark for sustainable mining. This includes plans for the mine to be a low carbon, low water and low waste operation, with no tailings generation and with a minimum impact design.

“We hope this can show a way of how mining can be done in the future,” McCulley said of this approach at Woodsmith.

When it comes to Sakatti, Alison Atkinson, Projects & Development Director, said the development could end up being “our next greenfield project”.

The project is a rich multi-metal deposit with not only copper, nickel and cobalt resources, but also platinum, palladium, gold and silver.

“High concentrations of metal combined with consistency of the mineralisation between the boreholes make Sakatti a unique deposit,” Anglo American says of the project. Its resources are estimated to be sufficient for mining operations to last more than 20 years.

Atkinson said Sakatti is being designed as the next generation of FutureSmart Mining, building on what it has learned from Quellaveco and Woodsmith, particularly when it comes to ensuring there is minimal surface footprint and “using technology and innovations to deliver even better sustainability outcomes”.

She added: “Sakatti is set to be a remotely operated, low carbon-underground mine with an electric mining fleet using technology and mining methods that will create zero waste and enable high degrees of water recycling, contributing to a sustainable supply of critical minerals.”

The company also sees the potential to use sorting technologies for coarse particle rejection and material recovery opportunities.

IMDEX aims for directional drilling growth following Devico takeover

Following the acquisition of Devico, IMDEX says it is looking to grow the market for Directional Core Drilling (DCD) technology.

The technology is billed as delivering sustainable mining operations through more focused and efficient exploration with decreased costs and lower environmental impact, including reduced water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions when compared with conventional drilling.

Devico was acquired by IMDEX earlier this year.

IMDEX Chief Operating Officer, Shaun Southwell, said the transition to directional core drilling was inevitable as exploration costs increased in the search for mineral deposits that are deeper and in more remote and unexplored regions.

“Resource companies need to take every advantage available to them so having the capacity to hit more targets with less exploration drilling delivers real quantifiable savings,” he said. “Directional core drilling is one of the fastest growing markets as companies seek precision in their drilling programs.”

Time and cost savings from 20-50% are typical compared with conventional drilling, according to IMDEX.

The technology is well-suited in the search for geologically complex critical minerals, particularly with the capacity to drill multiple secondary drill holes from an initial mother hole and/or overcome natural deviation to hit intended targets.

IMDEX General Manager, Europe, Erlend Olso, said that while directional core drilling added some short-term costs, resource companies were recognising the greater overall savings.

“Using directional core drilling provides precision and efficiency in exploration; you can hit more targets with a lot less metres drilled,” Olso said. “Resource companies save money in the exploration phase but also know that they can hit the targets and prove up the resource in a better, faster way. There are a lot of added benefits.

“A lot of drilling companies realise they can get ahead by working with us.

“The more widespread the technology is becoming, the more the resource companies are looking for drilling companies who can work with us in the most efficient way.”

Olso said resource companies in Canada had been early adopters of the directional core drilling technology followed by Nordic countries, with South America over the past five to 10 years and more recently Africa.

Devico and IMDEX are planning to expand the directional core drilling market in Australia.

Anglo American Principal Geology and Resource Estimator, Janne Siikaluoma, credited Devico’s directional core drilling technology with delivering results that would not otherwise have been possible at its Sakatti copper, nickel and PGE deposit in Finland, 150km from the Arctic Circle.

“AA Sakatti Mining Oy has used Devico’s services in the Sakatti Cu-Ni-PGE project since 2017,” Siikaluoma said. “Devico’s services and, especially directional core drilling, has been an important factor to be able to conduct accurate diamond drilling programs in deep and complex deposits located in environmentally sensitive areas like Sakatti.

“The Sakatti winter season 2022-2023 metallurgical drilling program with several multi-branch DCD-guided holes was completed on time with high technical quality.

“This enabled AA Sakatti Mining Oy to collect the metallurgical samples from the Sakatti Cu-Ni-PGE deposit by means of core drilling which was the priority one objective and very important for the future progress of the Sakatti project.

“Additionally, the successful drilling program enabled us to achieve a constant 25 m drilling pattern in certain key areas of the deposit with the required 5m target precision (up to 800 m depth) which would have not been possible by any other practical means.”

Geological Survey of Finland talks up “unique” exploration database

Finland may have only 10 metal mines to its name, but there are plenty more on the horizon, according to Pekka Nurmi, Director of Science and Innovation for the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK).

Speaking on the first day of the inaugural Finland Mine Safari tour for analysts and investors in Helsinki on Monday, Nurmi said there had been some €3 billion ($3.5 billion) of investments in mine development in the last 10 years and there was another €3-5 billion due between 2016 and 2025.

Some of these investments will come at existing mines looking to expand like Agnico Eagle Mines’ Kittila gold mine, Outokumpu’s Kemi chromium asset and Boliden’s Kevitsa nickel-copper operation, but Nurmi sees plenty of new discoveries moving into the development phase too.

He reserved particular praise for Anglo American’s Sakatti copper-nickel-platinum group elements project, some 150 km north of the Arctic Circle, which hosts indicated and inferred resources of 44.4 Mt at 1.9% Cu, 0.96% Ni, 0.04% Co, 0.64 g/t Pt, 0.49 g/t Pd and 0.33 g/t Au.

“It appears to be the best discovery in Finland,” he told analysts, investors and journalists, explaining it was already around one-and-a-half-times the size of the historic Outokumpu copper mine. Outokumpu operated from 1913-1989, producing some 28.5 Mt of ore grading 3.8% Cu during that time.

In addition to development capital, Nurmi said some €60 million had been spent on exploration in Finland in 2017, up from €40 million in 2016.

Explorers have leveraged off the GTK’s exploration database, which includes a complete airborne survey package for the whole country at 200 m line spacing.

“It’s a unique data set,” Nurmi said.

And, surprisingly for a well-known exploration destination, many of the country’s new discoveries continue to come close to surface.

Nurmi said the country has some 4 m of cover on average, with parts of southern Finland already having exposed mineralisation.

The country has traditionally been a hotbed for gold, PGM and base metal exploration, but there are a number of interesting battery mineral prospects being lined up, including lithium, cobalt and graphite.

This include’s Keliber Oy’s lithium project (pictured), Savannah Resources’ Somero and Eräjärvi lithium assets, FinnCobalt’s Hautalampi cobalt-nickel-copper project in the historic town of Outokumpu and Beowulf Mining’s Pitkäjärvi and Aitolampi graphite properties, among others.