Growing Interest in Nordic Mineral Prospects
Our annual update explains how legal and fiscal stability are only two of several advantages attracting exploration and mining companies to the Nordic countries, and scans the latest advances from the regionís mine technology suppliers
By Simon Walker, European Editor
The international mining community perceives the Nordic countries in general to be an attractive destination for explo- ration for a number of reasons, not least of which is their political and economic sta- bility. Indeed, the most recent edition of the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of min- ing companies ranks both Finland and Sweden within the top 10 most attractive jurisdictions worldwide for mining-sector investment, with Greenland and Norway not far behind. In all probability, if Green- land and Norway had a better-developed existing mining industry, they too would be higher in the rankings.
Add to that the geological potential of the region, and it is easy to see the why it is proving to be an attractive destination for more and more companies’ exploration dol- lars. Not that exploration is any easier than in other parts of the world—far from it, in fact—but a variety of political and eco- nomic factors over many years has meant that this remains under-explored territory that still has the capability of revealing very attractive development opportunities.
Looking back 20 years, Sweden led the way with the deregulation of exploration and liberalized mining legislation that allowed a resurgence of private-sector in- terest in the country’s mineral wealth. By the late 1990s, the growing list of foreign majors actively exploring in Sweden includ- ed Anglo American, Barrick Gold, BHP, North Ltd., Outokumpu, Phelps Dodge and Rio Tinto, complementing a raft of interna- tional juniors as well as domestic private- sector companies.
Since then, Norway has also updated its mining laws, with a new Mineral Act that came into force at the start of 2010, while Finland aimed to have its revised mining legislation in effect by this July. In Greenland, meanwhile, the increased level of self-government achieved in mid-2009 shifted responsibility for mineral resource development from Denmark to the island’s government, with new legislation intro- duced there last year. In each case, the effect has been to increase the attractive- ness of the country’s mineral potential to outside investors, while maintaining strin- gent requirements for environmental pro- tection and adherence to the existing socio-economic framework.
The results speak for themselves. According to the Metals Economics Group in the 2010 edition of its Corporate Ex- ploration Strategies report, companies budgeted around $150 million for explo- ration in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Greenland last year, a figure that excludes the additional investment involved in the accelerating search for new iron-ore re- sources across the region.
Historical mining for iron ore, copper, zinc, lead and silver within the more acces- sible parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland proved that the potential of the Baltic Shield rocks to host economic deposits was no less than that of shield areas in other parts of the world. Development of iron-ore and base-metal resources further north that came later only reinforced this view, while the discovery of gold in various parts of northern Sweden and Finland added to the list of exploration targets.
Nonetheless, it is only fair to note that much of the Nordic mining industry is indeed historical, with mines such as Sala (silver), Falun and Grong (copper), Laisvall (lead) and Finland’s iron operations now long closed. On the other side of the coin, the Kiruna iron ore mine celebrated its centenary in the late 1980s and has a long future still ahead of it, while polymetallic ores have been won from Sweden’s Skellefte district since the 1920s with no sign of an end in sight. The key has been continued exploration, with new ore zones being identified sufficiently frequently to allow the industry to thrive.
With the possible exception of far southern Sweden, virtually the whole of the Nordic region offers attractive exploration potential. Today, companies are prospect- ing for iron ore, base metals, gold, nickel, molybdenum, platinum-group metals and diamonds, as well as a range of industrial minerals for use in fertilizer production, construction and specialist applications.
The Industry Bounces Back
The mining industry in the Nordic coun- tries was no less immune to the effects of the global economic downturn than were its counterparts elsewhere in the world. Demand slumped, costs rose and produc- ers battened down the hatches and waited for better times—which fortunately did not take long to materialize.
Using company results as a yardstick for the health of the industry, in 2009 iron ore giant LKAB reported net profits of SEK719 million on revenues of SEK11.9 billion from the sale of 18.7 million mt of products. Last year, it sold 26 million mt worth SEK28.5 billion ($4 billion) and generated SEK9.1 billion in profits. (All dollar figures in US$ unless otherwise indi- cated.)
Similarly Boliden, focused mainly on copper and zinc, reported net profits of SEK4 billion on revenues of SEK36.7 for 2010, compared with profits of SEK2.5 bil- lion on revenues of SEK27.6 billion in 2009. In both cases, the improvement came about through a combination of higher com- modity prices and greater sales tonnages.
Attracted by Northern Ore ...
The surge in demand for iron ore that has been so evident in recent years has led to renewed interest in resources in all four of the Nordic mining countries. In Greenland, the Isua banded-iron formation deposits attracted the attention of a number of majors before finally being taken up by London Mining. The company is now work- ing on a bankable feasibility study on a 15- million-mt/y open-pit operation, based on a JORC-compliant resource of some 950 million mt. Grading 36.5% iron, the de- posit is from 180 to 440 m thick, with the mine site surrounded on three sides by the island’s ice cap.
London Mining is completing an addi- tional 7,000–8,000 m of diamond drilling this year to improve its resource estimate. The initial design envisages the use of magnetic separation and flotation to pro- duce a 70.2% Fe blast-furnace feed con- centrate, with a pipeline carrying concen- trate slurry from the plant to a floating loading wharf. A scoping study on the pro- ject has indicated a $2-billion capex re- quirement, with the company predicting the start of construction late next year and commissioning in 2015. In March, London Mining raised $30 million from the Anglo Pacific group in return for a 1% royalty on the project’s output, and is using this to fund the feasibility study.
Already in production since 2009, Northern Iron’s Sydvaranger mine in the far north of Norway produces a 66% magnetite concentrate. During its former period of operation, from 1910 to 1997, the mine produced 200 million mt of products. The mine shipped 1.4 million mt of product last year from 3.3 million mt of ore mined.
Following a lightning-induced break- down in its primary mill in July, the com- pany is now predicting an output of 1.65- 1.7 million mt of magnetite concentrate this year. Last October, it began a $25-mil- lion debottlenecking project aimed at achieving its 2.8-million mt/y nameplate capacity, with new crushing capacity and improvements to the existing concentrator circuit. It is also planning to replace its existing 95-mt-capacity truck fleet with 190-mt units, as well as sourcing a greater proportion of softer ore in its mill feed, and has already completed studies for a further doubling of capacity. Earlier this year the company signed an offtake agreement with Tata Steel for the supply of up to 5.5 mil- lion mt of product over the next five years.
Farther south, Norway’s other iron ore producer, Rana Gruber, has been working deposits in the Dunderland valley near Mo i Rana since 1936. In 1999, the company opened its first underground operation at the Kvannevann mine, with an output of 1.6 million mt/y of ore. A new haulage level at the mine will allow production to be increased to 2.1 million mt/y, with the mine’s life extended until at least 2023. Part of Rana Gruber’s resource consists of manganese-rich magnetite, with the com- pany producing both magnetite and haematite concentrates.
Sweden’s iron ore industry, long domi- nated by LKAB, looks set for an influx of new producers if the projects currently under evaluation prove viable. LKAB itself is in expansion mode, aiming to increase its capacity from 27 million mt/y to 37 million mt/y of pellet products by 2015. Having already commissioned a new haulage level at its Malmberget mine near Gällivare, the company is spending SEK12.4 billion on a similar extension at Kiruna that will allow the mine to be deep- ened by a further cut.
LKAB opened a third mine, Gruvberget, in the middle of last year, and is now devel- oping two more—Mertainen and Leveä- niemi—from which it will source the addi- tional ore needed to meet its increased pel- let-production target.
However, LKAB is by no means alone in the area surrounding Kiruna, with a num- ber of other companies now evaluating iron ore resources there. In November, Kiruna Iron, a subsidiary of ASX-listed Scandi- navian Resources, acquired the Rakkuri project there from Anglo American and Rio Tinto, and is now continuing exploration in order to increase the size of the regional resource to around 500 million mt. The company paid $7 million for the project and for access to Anglo’s exploration data- base covering Sweden, which contains data collected over the past 10 years of work in the country.
Other companies that have been active in the Kiruna area include Avalon Minerals and Grängesberg Iron. Avalon acquired the Viscaria copper-iron mine from Phelps Dodge in 2008, and has since upgraded the resource there to 66 million mt con- taining 600,000 t of copper and 2.4 mil- lion mt of iron. Previously run by Outo- kumpu, between 1982 to 1997 Viscaria produced 12 million mt of ore grading 2.3% copper from a volcanogenic massive sulphide-type (VMS) deposit.
Avalon has been working on a feasibili- ty study, with the aim of starting mining in 2013, but in August was unsuccessful in completing a planned financing exercise to fund the project.
Further advanced, Northland Resources’ Kaunisvaara project, close to the northern border between Sweden and Finland, is now under construction, with both the Tapuli and Sahavaara mines permitted. Northland has a production target of 1.5 million mt of magnetite concentrate in 2013, rising to 5 million mt/y thereafter. Capex requirements for Kaunisvaara are $694 million, with the operation based on an initial seven- to eight- year resource.
The company is also evaluating the Pellivuoma resource, and is carrying out a feasibility study on the Hannukainen cop- per-gold-iron ore deposit across the border in Finland, where production could begin in 2014 or 2015.
... and Farther South
In June, Grängesberg Iron sold its explo- ration properties in the Kiruna area to Kiruna Iron for $2 million, and is now focusing on reopening its namesake opera- tion in the Bergslagen district of mid-cen- tral Sweden. In operation from the 16th century until 1989, Grängesberg produced 180 million mt of high-grade ore, with cur- rent resources estimated at more than 88 million mt. Grängesberg Iron is now carry- ing out a prefeasibility study on an opera- tion capable of supplying 2.5 million mt/y of products for export, and is believed to be planning an IPO to raise up to $30 million.
Also exploring for iron in Bergslagen, Nordic Iron Ore is focusing on the old Blötberget and Håksberg mines, which were abandoned around 1980 after a long productive history. Nordic Iron is also fol- lowing the IPO route, aiming to raise up to $25 million, with a prefeasibility study on reopening the mines now under way.
Bergslagen was a major European cen- ter for iron ore production long before the northern Swedish deposits were discov- ered. Relatively close to the Baltic Sea coast, the mines supplied ore to both domestic and export markets. Another for- mer Swedish Steel (SSAB) operation here, the Dannemora mine, is now being re- opened by Dannemora Minerals, with pro- duction planned to begin in 2012.
The company completed dewatering the mine to the 470 m level in early 2010, and since then has supplied several European steelmakers with trial samples of lump ore and sinter fines. First commercial production is scheduled for mid-next year, with the company planning to use Danne- mora as the first step in developing further resources in the district, starting with the Riddarhyttan deposit.
Using bio-heap leaching, Talvivaara produced 10,400 mt of nickel and 25,500 mt of zinc last year, with the process ramp- ing up toward its target annual output of 30,000 mt of nickel and 60,000 mt of zinc. The operation held 24.3 million mt of ore on its leach pads at the year-end, hav- ing mined 13.3 million mt during the year. The primary heap reclaim and secondary heap stacking systems were commissioned during 2010, while the company contin- ued with its process optimization program.
Talvivaara is also seeking permitting for a uranium-recovery operation, with Canada’s Cameco Corp. funding up to $60 million of the cost of an extraction plant. The company is predicting an out- put of up to 350 mt/y of uranium as yel- lowcake, with Cameco taking all of the output up to 2027.
Farther north in Finland, First Quantum Minerals is developing the Kevitsa nickel prospect it acquired when it bought Scandinavian Minerals in 2008. First Quantum gave the go-ahead for the mine in late 2009, with production at a rate of 10,000 t/y of nickel and 20,000 t/y of cop- per scheduled for 2012. In April, the com- pany provided an updated reserve estimate for the project, which now stands at 161 million mt of ore containing nickel, copper, cobalt, gold and PGMs.
First Quantum is now predicting a 32- year mine life, producing 5 million mt/y of ore from an open-pit operation. Capex for the mine is $400 million, with an expan- sion study to a throughput of 7.5–10 mil- lion mt/y now under way.
Other Nordic nickel projects include Belvedere Resources’ Hitura mine in Finland, and IGE Resources’ Rönnbäcken development project in northwestern Sweden. Belvedere bought Hitura, former- ly operated by Outokumpu, in 2007, but put the operation on care-and-mainte- nance in late 2008 at a time of low nickel prices. It reopened Hitura in July last year, having bought the operation again, this time from the administrators of its bank- rupt subsidiary, Finn Nickel.
IGE Resources is evaluating Rönn- bäcken through its subsidiary, Nickel Mountain Resources. The company is cur- rently at prefeasibility-study stage on the sulphide-ore project, looking at an open-pit operation that could produce up to 25,000 t/y of nickel. The study is due for comple- tion late next year, based on deposit re- sources totaling some 526 million mt of low-grade mineralization.
The upsurge in world steel production has obvious implications for companies pro- ducing other metals that find uses as alloy- ing applications. Nickel is one such, with chromite and molybdenum being others.
When Outokumpu decided to focus on the downstream end of its business, it retained ownership of just one mining operation: the Kemi chromite mine in northwest Finland, which forms an integral part of its Tornio ferrochrome-production facility. The Kemi deposit was worked as an open-pit from the late 1960s until 2005, since when production has come exclusively from underground.
The current 1.3 million mt/y ore output is treated to give 200,000 t/y of lump ore and 400,000 t of chromite concentrate, which is used as ferrochrome feed at Tornio. Smelter capacity there is now being doubled to 530,000 t/y of ferrochrome, with the company also investing in an out- put expansion at Kemi.
The mine has proven reserves of some 36-million-mt within an 87-million-mt resource, but recent work by the Geologica Survey of Finland has indicated the region- al chromite resource could well be much larger than had previously been estimated. According to Outokumpu, the intrusion that hosts the chromite may extend to a depth of 4 km, while the chromite-bearing layers could reach depths of 2–2.5 km.
In eastern Greenland, meanwhile, Quadra FNX acquired the Malmbjerg molybdenum project with its takeover of International Molybdenum in 2007. The deposit had been investigated by other companies in the past, including Amax Mining, and InterMoly was looking at an open-pit operation capable of producing up to 10,400 mt/y of molybdenum. Quadra FNX has since put the project on the back burner.
The impact of the expansion was, how- ever, already benefiting the company last year, with copper output rising from 54,600 mt in 2009 to nearly 76,000 mt in 2010. Aitik also produced more silver and gold, with Boliden planning to begin molybde- num production there as well. The Aitik expansion has been undertaken in conjunc- tion with a 16,000-mt increase in copper cathode-production capacity at the compa- ny’s Rönnskär smelter, to 250,000 t/y.
In January, Boliden announced a $580- million expansion at its Garpenberg mine in the Berglagen district, with ore produc- tion scheduled to rise from the current 1.4 million mt/y to 2.5 million mt/y by 2015. Boliden acquired Garpenberg in 1957, in an area that has hosted base- and pre- cious-metal mining since the 13th century; current reserves will allow operations to continue there until at least 2030. The investment will cover a new concentrator, new shafts and underground development, the company has said, with its aim being to cut production costs by up to one-quarter once the expansion is fully operational.
In the meantime, the company was able to run its Boliden Area concentrator at higher capacity last year than in 2009, thanks largely to the completion of the new Hötjärn tailings pond and the commission- ing of another new mine in the district, Maurliden Östra. Boliden has operated nearly 30 mines in the area since the first was opened in the 1920s, with four in operation today: Renström and Kristine- berg (underground), and Maurliden and Maurliden Östra (open-pits).
Boliden is also investing $70 million to restart its Kankberg mine as a gold and tel- lurium producer. Previously operated dur- ing the 1990s as a copper-zinc mine, Kankberg should produce 37,000 oz/y of gold and 41 t of tellurium, equivalent to around 10% of the world’s current telluri- um output. Reopening the mine will in- volve underground development together with a partial reconstruction of the existing Boliden Area concentrator and gold-recov- ery plant, with production scheduled to begin in mid-2012.
In continuous operation since 1857, Lundin Mining’s Zinkgruvan mine reached a milestone earlier this year with the first shipment of concentrate from its new cop- per-recovery plant. The discovery of an area of copper-rich ore next to the historical zinc-rich orebody led the company to build the new plant, which came on stream late last year, as well as to develop a new access ramp from surface. This in turn will benefit the existing zinc operation by pro- viding additional flexibility, according to Lundin. The company expects full 7,000- mt/y copper capacity to be achieved in 2013, the project having cost some $40 million to complete.
In Finland, Inmet Mining’s Pyhäsalmi is scheduled to mine 1.4 million mt of VMS ore this year and produce 13,300 mt of copper and 31,900 mt of zinc, plus 800,000 mt of pyrite it sells to the chemi- cals and fertilizer industries worldwide. The mine, which Outokumpu opened in 1962 as an open-pit operation, is now complete- ly underground at a depth of between 1,000 and 1,400 m. As Inmet points out, this presents its own challenges in terms of geotechnical stability, with work being undertaken on modeling to optimize the mining sequence. Pyhäsalmi is also a leader in the use of tele-remote mining sys- tems, with studies now under way on the use of automated longhole drilling and elec- tronic detonators for blasting to give better ore fragmentation and stope stability.
Of the few mines that have operated in Greenland to date, Black Angel was the most successful. Closed by Boliden in 1990 on the grounds of reserve exhaustion after a 17-year life, the mine was conspic- uous for its aerial-ropeway access to the workings, if nothing else.
However, substantial resources remain in the mine pillars while the retreating ice sheets have revealed additional lead-zinc mineralization, all of which is now being targeted by Angel Mining (formerly Angus & Ross). Recent developments include updating an earlier feasibility study on the project to include an on-site underground concentrator, and preparations for the rein- stallation of a cable-car system to access the old workings.
Although the Nordic countries have never been recognized as lying within a major gold province, the geological provenance of the Baltic Shield suggests much more remains to be discovered. Indeed, until the 1980s, virtually all of the region’s gold pro- duction had come as a byproduct from copper or zinc mining; Mineral Deposits of Europe, published in 1974 by the U.K. Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, hard- ly mentions gold production as being of interest there at that time. Boliden’s name- sake mine, which operated from 1926 to 1967, was a notable exception.
Saattopora, Outokumpu’s short-lived gold mine in northern Finland, brought new attention to the gold potential of the central Lapland greenstone belt, with the operation having produced 200,000 oz of gold and 5,200 t of copper between 1988 and 1995. Agnico-Eagle’s Kittilä mine, which lies in the same geological environ- ment, has a 4.9-million-oz proven and probable reserve, and is set to remain in production until beyond 2030.
With open-pit mining scheduled to last until 2013, the operation moved under- ground last year. Production of 150,000 oz is planned for this year, rising to 173,000 oz from 2012, while the company already has a 50% capacity expansion under eval- uation. Other options include sinking a shaft and continuing an appraisal of miner- alization outwith the current mine footprint.
The Björkdal gold mine in Sweden went through a number of ownership changes since it was opened in 1988, before being acquired by Gold Ore Resources from Minmet in 2007. The mine has now produced more than 1 mil- lion oz of gold, with a target output of around 44-46,000 oz this year.
Meanwhile, Dragon Mining’s Svartliden open-pit, in the west of the Skellefte dis- trict, has already notched up more than 250,000 oz since being commissioned in 2005. Surface mining will end next year, with a transition to underground following the completion of a new ramp system.
Dragon also operates the Orivesi and Jokisivu gold mines in Finland, and the Vammala production center, where ore from the mines is treated. Production is expect- ed to be 30,000 oz this year, drawn from the Sarvisuo and Kutema Deeps operations at Orivesi and from Kujankallio and Arpola at Jokisivu. Recent drilling at Juomasuo, on the Kuusamo prospect in northeastern Finland, has returned some high gold val- ues, the company reported.
Endomines commissioned its Pampalo gold mine in the Karelian gold belt of east- ern Finland at the beginning of this year, with the aim of producing 17,000– 19,000 oz during 2011. Nordic Mines began ore production at its Laiva operation in June, with the first gold pour scheduled for August.
Lappland Goldminers is using its Pahtavaara mine in northern Finland, acquired from Scan Mining in 2008, as a springboard for other Nordic gold opera- tions. Recent exploration has indicated the potential for underground mining to com- plement the existing open-pit operation there, at the adjoining Länsi area. Pahta- vaara produced nearly 24,000 oz last year. Other projects include Ermarksberget and Fäboliden, inland from the Skellefte dis- trict of Sweden, deposits that lie within a regional trend the company refers to as ‘The Gold Line.’
Orex Minerals is the latest company to try its hand at evaluating the Barsele gold prospect in the same area, having paid Northland Resources $15 million for it ear- lier this year. Exploration over the past 25 years has indicated a diorite-hosted gold zone and a gold-enriched VMS resource.
In northern Norway, Arctic Gold is eval- uating the potential to restart mining at the old Bidjovagge copper-gold mine, idle for the past 20 years, while the state coal min- ing company, Store Norske, has estab- lished a prospecting subsidiary to carry out gold exploration in Svalbard and on the Norwegian mainland.
And in southern Greenland, Angel Mining is producing gold again from the Nalunaq operation, bought from Crew Gold in 2009. The operation, which features an underground cyanide leaching unit, achieved its first pour in May, with a target output of 24,000 oz/y. It produced 308,000 oz when operated by Crew from 2004 to 2008.
Targeting Rare Earths
As described in the December 2010 edi- tion of E&MJ (pp. 46–53), the prospect of short supply of rare-earth elements (REEs) has fuelled a worldwide upsurge in explo- ration, with the Nordic countries being no exception. In Sweden, Tasman Metals re- cently unveiled an updated resource esti- mate for its Norra Karr nepheline syenite- hosted REE prospect, with a preliminary economic assessment scheduled for com- pletion by the year-end. Norra Karr has an inferred resource of 60.5 million mt aver- aging 0.54% total RE oxide, with what the company describes as “an unusually high” proportion of yttrium and dysprosium.
In Greenland, Hudson Resources is eval- uating the Sarfartoq carbonatite-hosted re- source that contains REEs, niobium and tantalum, while Greenland Minerals and Energy is working at Kvanefjeld, which con- tains REEs, uranium and zinc. A prefeasi- bility study on Kvanefjeld has indicated capex requirements of $2.3 billion to com- mission an operation with an output of 44,000 mt/y of rare-earth oxides and 3,900 mt/y of U3O8. On the west coast, mean- while, Avannaa Resources has identified two zones of REE mineralization at its Karrat Isfjord prospect in an area that was not pre- viously recognized as having REE potential.
Uranium is also the target for Aura Energy at its Häggån prospect in central Sweden, where it has an inferred resource totaling 810 million mt grading 162 g/t U3O8 plus vanadium, molybdenum, nickel and zinc, hosted in alum shales. Having spent some time looking at the area around the old Sala silver mine, Tumi Resources has expanded its targets to include both copper (at the old Tomtebo mine) and tungsten, while further north, Tertiary Minerals recently issued a JORC-compliant 2.7 million mt indicated resource estimate for its Storuman fluorspar prospect.
One of the salient features of the current wave of interest in Nordic mining and exploration is just how many of the pros- pects now being evaluated have already either been mined and abandoned, or have been the subject of repeated exploration programs. On the other hand, the existence of old mines has proved to be an indicator for the presence of mineralization nearby or in similar geological settings, paving the way for a new generation of mining.
The key to both aspects is the strength of commodity demand worldwide, with high prices (relative to the recent past, at least) driving the search for new deposits, and the re-appraisal of old ones. In this respect, the Nordic countries are continu- ing to benefit from investment in explo- ration, with their governments having gone out of their way to facilitate new mining projects—on a sustainable basis.
Political, economic and fiscal stability, coupled with business transparency and a truly inviting, well-researched geological endowment: all of the key features on any exploration manager’s wish-list.
Strength in Depth: A Firm Foundation for Nordic Equipment Suppliers
While domestic mining provided a starting point, today Nordic companies support the mining and mineral processing industries worldwide
By Simon Walker, European Editor
Despite their relatively small domestic market, equipment companies from the Nordic countries—predominantly Sweden and Finland—have carved out a major market share for themselves, exporting cutting-edge technology. What is more, much of it is custom-built for specific applications, with design features or options that fulfill individual customers’ requirements. Greater or lower capacity, more or less automation; each product is tailored to suit the circumstances.
To be fair, mines in the Nordic coun- tries provide a stern testing ground for new equipment and concepts, with the domestic producers traditionally having been more than happy to accommodate new technology at all levels. Add to this the ability of the equipment suppliers to trial their new machines overseas to eval- uate their capabilities under site-specific conditions, and it is little wonder their reputation is so well-regarded.
Normet Expands its Portfolio
At the beginning of September Normet, the Finland-based manufacturer of underground utility vehicles, completed the acquisition of the Swedish company, Essverg Berg. Essverk Berg specializes in the development, manufacturing and servicing of equipment for rock and tun- nel works, and also undertakes tunneling contracting and installation.
“The acquisition gives Normet a phys- ical presence in Sweden, and allows us to better serve our customers in Sweden and Norway,” said Aaro Cantell, Normet’s chairman. “Essverk will be the base for our operations in Sweden and Norway, and we will develop the combined busi- ness under the new name of Normet Scandinavia.”
“From a technology point of view, Essverk complements Normet’s product range with its expertise in truck-based and lifting equipment,” said Tom Melbye, president of Normet. “It will also act as our development and competence center for truck-based equipment, including Essverk’s existing product range, concrete spraying and new developments.”
Claiming global leadership in its market segment, Normet has its own sales and service companies in 20 countries world-wide. The company entered the underground equipment business in the early 1970s with a range of small dumpers, and since then has expanded its product line to include underground support vehicles such as scissors lifts, personnel and material carriers, scalers, explosives-charging vehicles and units for transporting and spraying concrete.
Last year, the company bought a 40% holding in TAM International, a leading supplier of specialist chemicals and sys- tems for waterproofing, leak sealing, repair and protection in underground construction. This has allowed Normet to add construction chemicals for concrete spraying, injection and grouting to its underground-mining product line.
Normet reports it is currently working on new concrete-spraying technology, launched with the Spraymec 8100 VC. This uses the company’s new Norsmart control system, which gives improved control of concrete spraying, accelerator dosing and boom movements, as well as offering spraying process diagnostics.
Supporting its policy of maintaining continuous development of both equip- ment and chemical products, in April Normet opened a new technology center in Iisalmi, Finland. This encompasses both a design office and prototype manufacturing where new equipment is tested before being put out for mine-site trials. The company is also updating its entire equip- ment range, with the first new-generation machines—such as the Utimec MF and LF transmixers and agitators, Multimec MF 100 logistics carriers, and Charmec MC and LC explosives chargers—already available. Improvements include compli- ance with new emissions regulations, as well as enhanced operator comfort and equipment serviceability, Normec says.
Metso Buys in the U.S.,
Wins Contracts Elsewhere
In August, Metso Minerals acquired the Phoenix, Arizona-based service company, Copperstate Industrial Services, in a move, the company says, that will strengthen its position as a services provider in the North American mining sector. The existing Copperstate team has been integrated into Metso’s Mining and Construction Technology services business, and is being expanded to rein- force the company’s maintenance, repair and retrofit business in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
In Europe, Metso has extended its existing relationship with Northland Resources with a five-year, €19-million mill-lining service and inspection contract for Northland’s Kaunisvaara iron-ore oper- ation in northern Sweden (see p. 30). The contract scope covers both the supply and installation of mill liners, and technical and maintenance support for the semi- autogenous mill at the Tapuli beneficia- tion plant.
The contract builds on the company’s earlier agreements with Northland, which encompassed a primary gyratory crusher, the SAG mill, four vertical grinding mills, and equipment for con- veying, classification, separation and fil- tration, with a total project value of some €200 million.
In June, Metso confirmed the award of a €200 million contract to supply a primary gyratory crusher, three cone crushers, two SAG mills, three screens and three ball mills for the Russian Copper Co.’s new Mikheevsky concentra- tor in the southern Urals Chelyabinskya region. The contract also includes on-site supervisory services for installation and commissioning, and on-site training for Russian Copper’s personnel, as well as six-and-a-half-years of life-cycle service support. This includes maintenance, planning and operational assistance, and process and product support services, as well as wear and spare parts and compo- nents for the comminution circuit. Metso will also maintain auxiliary equipment for the whole comminution circuit, from the gyratory crusher to the hydrocyclones. The plant is scheduled for commission- ing in late 2013.
Commenting on the contract award, Jerry Dubiansky, a Metso vice president, said: “What makes this project so unique and really exciting for Metso is that we will not only be supplying the equipment but also maintaining it, assisting in the operations and being able to continuous- ly monitor performance and efficiency. This arrangement offers maximum oper- ating availability and minimizes opera- tional risks, increasing the profitability of the project.”
Finally, in Panama, Inmet Mining has resized its 2008 order for grinding mills from Metso for the Cobre Panama pro- ject. According to Metso, the original grinding mill design has been changed to two 40-ft (12.2-m) SAG mills and four 26-ft (7.9-m) ball mills, with the grind- ing circuit having a nameplate 150,000 mt/d throughput. The equipment, with a value of €54 million, is scheduled for delivery by the end of 2013.
Veekmas’ underground motor graders offer low operating heights, a strong struc- ture, ROPS/FOPS cabins/canopies, good durability, long operating lives and a small turning radius, with power being supplied by low-emission Stage III/Tier 3-compliant engines through an all-wheel-drive system.
The new 90-kW (120-hp) FG7C is a lit- tle higher, longer and wider than the com- pany’s FG5C, being 2.45-m high with a 9.1-mt operating weight. Its highly strengthened main frame and chassis, together with wear-resistant components, allow it to operate successfully in low, nar- row, tightly curved mine tunnels, Veekmas reports. The grader’s frame articulating joint is situated under the front of the canopy or cabin, which eases turning and reduces the outer turning radius. In the cab, its instrumentation and controls are conveniently located and are readily visi- ble, with the machine being equipped with an individual lever-steering facility that is used when it is operating at working speed.
The use of low oil pressures and an advanced hydraulic system with an automatic, hydraulically operated blade-shock suspension system make the FG7C better able to absorb the impact damage normal- ly associated with hard-rock mining condi- tions. In addition, it has good maneuver- ability and operator visibility.
Veekmas’ other models are the 8.1-mt, 50-kW FG5C and the 16-mt, 150-kW FG15C. In August, the company delivered two low-profile FG5Cs to Atlas Copco in Ghana, as part of an equipment package for AngloGold Ashanti, which now has three units, while one of the first FG7Cs has gone to Normet for delivery to a cus- tomer in Kazakhstan.
Still under development, the FG3C will have an operating height of just 1.4 m, coupled with the same strong structure of the larger models, a FOPS-certified canopy and all-wheel drive.
Today, Monark exports drilling tools to around 45 countries, and is one of the leading producers of small-hole drill steel. It is currently investing in new facilities, with a 20% increase in capacity sched- uled for completion this year.
Its product range is targeted mainly at the mining, dimension-stone and con- struction industries, for use with hydraulic and pneumatic drilling units. Products include small-hole drill steel such as tapered rods, integral drill steel, plug-hole rods and shanks, used mainly on hand- held rock drills and jack legs. The compa- ny produces integral steels in lengths from 200 mm up to 11,200 mm, with bit diam- eters ranging from 13 mm up to 45 mm which, it claims, gives it the world’s widest range of integral drill-steel products.
ITT Drains Dannemora
As detailed in the Nordic mining article in this edition of E&MJ (see p. 30), Danne- mora Minerals is currently in the process of rehabilitating the old Dannemora iron ore mine in eastern Sweden. However, one of the major challenges for the com- pany was to dewater the old workings, which had gradually been filling since the mine was abandoned in 1992.
According to Swedish pump manufac- turer ITT, water had been accumulating at a rate of about 10 m per year, with the water having reached 323 m (1,060 ft) below ground level by the time Danne- mora awarded it the dewatering contract in 2007. For reference, the shaft bottom lies at a depth of 620 m (2,035 ft).
Working in conjunction with the spe- cialist mine development company Berg- teamet, ITT managed to install a tempo- rary pump station on the 300 m level of the mine, with pumping actually starting in May 2009, at which time the water level was just 11 m below the station. About 3 million m3 (800 million gallons) later, by February 2010, the water level was down to 465 m (1,525 ft), allowing Dannemora to begin its own underground rehabilitation work.
ITT designed the dewatering system and delivered the equipment, with Berg- teamet being responsible for its installa- tion underground. The pump station con- sists of four ITT Vogel MP 325-kW (425- hp) booster pumps, each connected to a Vogel TVS borehole pump suspended in a 170-m (558-ft)-long steel pipe, with the pipes and pumps hung from a specially designed bridge on the 300-m level. Before installation, the shaft was mapped down to the 460 m level using a camera- equipped remote-control underwater vehi- cle to ensure there were no obstructions in the way of the pump strings.
Assuming Dannemora can keep to its schedule, the mine will be completely dewatered by 2012, when inflows will be controlled by an ITT-supplied permanent pump station.
Electric Trucks Offer Big
According to GIA Industri, underground haulage is a critical issue to consider when going to deeper levels in a mine. Traditionally, mining companies and con- tractors have relied on a shaft or on diesel trucks for haulage on a ramp. However, shaft excavation is an expensive solution, while diesel trucks can lead to heat and ventilation problems, and are also slow on adverse gradients. Electric-drive trucks provide an alternative clean, cost-effective solution, the company says.
Working with ABB, GIA Industri has developed the Kiruna electric truck system with two models now available—the K635ED (35-mt capacity) and the 50-mt K1050ED. An ideal application, the com- pany suggests, is where a mine is being deepened with a 15% ramp being a viable alternative to the construction of new hoisting and ventilation shaft infrastruc- ture. GIA claims using a Kiruna truck to haul ore to an existing main level can pro- vide a number of benefits that add up to a lower per-ton cost of operation.
The electric truck is virtually twice as fast as its diesel counterpart on a 15% incline, and thus requires fewer operators and less-complicated logistics. It also has a lower environmental impact, with the truck being connected to its trolley line as much as possible.
The noise output is considerably less than that of a diesel truck, particularly in confined underground workings, a feature appreciated not only by the operator but also by other personnel working nearby. Electric power provides smooth and easy stopping and starting, with less operator strain, lower maintenance requirements and a longer vehicle lifetime.
GIA also points out that to manage the same payload with a diesel truck would require a 350- to 400-kW (470- to 536-hp) diesel engine, which needs more ventilation.
The Kiruna electric truck has four- wheel drive with an AC motor on each axle. The operating concept is to have the truck connected to its overhead trolley line as much as possible. When the truck has to leave the trolley line, its Tier III-compli- ant diesel engine starts automatically to operate an on-board generator, and all functions continue to work as normal—an operation done without stopping the truck, GIA explains.
Flowrox points out that, depending on the installation, the elevation of the thick- ener and the outlet piping, a thickener can be controlled with just a valve. However, if there is insufficient head in the thickener to deliver the desired flow rate to the end destination, the slurry will need to be pumped.
While there are many good slurry pumps that can pump highly thickened mineral slurries, some may do a better job. According to Flowrox, centrifugal pumps will certainly perform the duty but have some drawbacks, such as their need for expensive clean gland water and the need to operate a centrifugal pump on the cor- rect pump curve if the thickener is going to be controlled properly.
A peristaltic pump can solve many of these problems, the company explains, and can be very effective for controlling a thickener density and pumping the thick- ened slurry onward. While in the past peri- staltic pumps were often ignored for this application, today there are new designs that have a single roller to compress the rubber hose, with operating experience having shown that the hose lifetime can be up to three or four times longer than before because of the reduced friction and heat generated on the hose.
Peristaltic pumps are very accurate to control, giving a fixed displacement of liq- uid every revolution. Neither do they need an additional check valve to stop the flow when they are shut down although, in the case of very large thickeners, there may not be a large enough pump to perform the required flow rate since peristaltics do have limitations on their delivery capability.
There is another potential application for this type of pump in thickeners: pump- ing flocculants. Flocculants consist of long polymer chains that can be damaged if the material is handled by a pump that shears the fluid, leading to increased flocculant usage. Using a peristaltic pump will mini- mize flocculant requirements since they are low-shear devices, according to Flowrox.
Robit: Greater Penetration
into Eastern Markets
Headquartered in Tampere, Finland, Robit Rocktools makes high-quality drilling tools for the mining, quarrying and construction industries. Its main product lines are threaded button bits for rock drilling, and concentric ring-bit casing systems for overburden drilling. The company was established in 1985, and since then it has developed international markets in more than 60 countries worldwide.
In May, Robit completed the acquisition of a holding in South Korea’s longest-estab- lished rock-tools manufacturer, Young Poong CND. Company CEO Jussi Rautianien explained the acquisition process had been started in 2009, but had been delayed by the global economic down- turn and by Robit’s investment in upgrading its manufacturing plant in Tampere. “As the common goal was clear to both parties, we were able to finalize this deal,” Rautianien said. “Now we are truly excited and eager to move forward with our plans, and believe this partnership will form an excellent cor- nerstone for Robit’s future.
“Through cooperation with a local manufacturer, we will be able to expand our product range and to diversify our pro- duction. Having a factory and warehouse in Asia will enable us to serve our cus- tomers even better than before, since hav- ing a local presence in a new time zone allows us to offer our products at substan- tially shorter lead times, and at more com- petitive pricing, to our customers in the region,” he said.
For drifting and tunneling, Robit’s but- ton-bit range covers the R25, R28, R32 and R35 thread sizes in diameters from 33-mm to 76-mm. For bench and pro- duction drilling, it offers bits for C38 to CT68 thread configurations, in diameters from 55-mm to 152-mm, while its ream- ing bit range runs from 76-mm to 102- mm hole diameter.
According to Robit, all of its bits are manufactured of a Scandinavian Green Steel grade that is 100% recyclable. This type of steel has more uniform properties and improved fatigue strength, which are crucial in rock drilling, while the company has also invested heavily in optimizing the cobalt ratio and microstructure of the tungsten carbide used in the bit buttons. It has also designed different button shapes, from standard round to ballistic, for different rock formations.
Tamtron: Knowing the Load
Tamtron, the Finnish manufacturer of weighing equipment for mining, quarrying and construction vehicles, has designed a new version of its scales to improve con- siderably the weighing process for wheel loaders and dump trucks. The company says its new Pro+ scale offers many fea- tures that are unique and are being intro- duced for the first time.
According to Tamtron, effective data management reduces costs and saves time on site. Online data transfer via the internet or using a USB memory card is a cost-effective way of controlling weighing data at all times, as the real-time informa- tion is transferred to the office immediate- ly. In addition, data for invoicing are gath- ered directly at the weighing site, since the scales are officially verified and are legal for trade.
Angle compensation of up to 12.9° takes place automatically, which speeds up the working process on uneven sur- faces, such as when loading a crusher. The scale also compensates automatically for the boom speed, tilt and acceleration, all features that further increase the load- ing speed, accuracy and productivity, Tamtron says. With the Pro+, it is possible to load over 500 t/h, and more than 4,000 t in an eight-hour shift.
A further improvement is the newly designed, large display with a backlight and an ergonomic keyboard. Proper letters and symbols make the display easy to read. The scale can be equipped with an optional immobilizer, which means the machine can be turned on only by a per- sonal PIN code. Vehicles are thus con- trolled at all times.
Tamtron offers three scale systems for wheel loaders and dump trucks: the Pro+ 100, Pro+ 200 and Pro+ 300 Internet. The most advanced model, the 300 Internet, allows simultaneous secure data transfer to the office.
Based in Tampere, Tamtron has sub- sidiaries in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden, and distributors in more than 60 coun- tries. In addition to weighing equipment, the company supplies equipment and solutions for data transfer, tracking, navi- gation and RFID systems.
Tough Lights for
The Finnish company Nordic Lights, which markets its lighting products under the slo- gan, “Lights for Heavy Duty,” specializes in the design and manufacture of LED, HID and halogen work lights for the heavy-duty on- and off-road industries. The company says the mining sector is its core business, and it has developed lights for both under- ground and surface mining. Nordic lamps are found both as original parts on new machinery and as aftermarket upgrades.
In mining, reliable lighting is crucial for job security and efficiency. Reliable lights require less maintenance overall, as well as reducing unscheduled mainte- nance. Nordic Lights says its extensive testing procedures ensure darkness, vibra- tion, shock, dust and humidity will not affect visibility.
Three different light technologies pre- dominate the market today, the company says, with halogen lights still offering the more affordable lighting solution. The high- end alternative is xenon/HID (high-intensity discharge) technology, which offers several advantages over conventional halogen lights—higher color temperature (closer to daylight), reduced heat and, on average, 10 times longer lifetime. The illumination of an HID light is considerably brighter and greater compared with a halogen light— twice the illumination of a 70 W halogen for only half of the power consumption.
Today, there is a turning point for light- ing technology for heavy-duty appliances, with the evolution of high-power LEDs (light-emitting diodes) having made them a option for more demanding working envi- ronments. LED lights are maintenance-free, with the diodes offering a lifespan of up to 50,000 work hours. Nordic Lights claims the high-quality LEDs it uses are resistant to shock and vibration, and are very durable in the harshest conditions.
New products from Nordic Lights include the N460 and N44 LEDs. The N460 offers a high light output combined with extreme heavy-duty dampening for larger equipment. It has an aluminum body, an IP68 rating and is offered with four different light pattern options: high beam, low beam, wide flood and flood. The N44 work light has a compact alu- minum body, IP68 rating and features 12–24 V multi-voltage use. It is available with an optional heavy-duty anti-vibration mounting system, and also offers the four different light patterns.
Swedish Machinery for
the Mining World
Earlier this year, Atlas Copco hosted an event for mining, quarrying and construc- tion industry professionals at the head- quarters of its surface-drilling and under- ground rock-excavation divisions at Öre- bro, Sweden. More than 175 senior and middle managers from some 100 compa- nies around the world met at a quarry out- side the town to see demonstrations of a wide range of technological innovations in new products and services.
A special exhibition set up in the quar- ry showcased the company’s equipment, including underground drill rigs, loaders and trucks, surface drilling rigs and mobile crushers, casing drilling and grouting equipment for micropiling, exploration equipment, compressors, hand-held equip- ment, consumables, parts and service, and training simulators.
“We have made so many significant advances in this field over the last few years that we thought it was high time to present them to the world’s mining and construction companies here in our own back yard,” said Andreas Malmberg, president for Atlas Copco’s surface drilling equipment.
The company reports that one of the most significant advances has been with its rig control system (RCS), which is avail- able right across the product range. This enables drill rigs, loaders, trucks and other equipment to be integrated with their own- ers’ local communication networks, pro- viding higher productivity and lower total running costs, Atlas Copco claims.
Introduced last year, the company’s SmartRig ROC D65 down-the-hole drill rig uses the RCS to control all of its opera- tions, including everything from the drilling cycle to automatic tube handling and an optional hole navigation system. The sys- tem also facilitates the transfer of planning and performance data between the rig and the mine office, Atlas Copco says. Designed for drilling holes in the 110–203-mm (4-5/16 to 8-in.) range in open-pit mining and quarrying, the D65 has a maximum drill depth capacity of 54 m (177 ft). As well as vertical blast- holes, the rig can drill angled, pre-split and buffer holes, helping to reduce waste and enhancing pit-wall stability, the com- pany adds.
In September, Atlas Copco Secoroc launched its T-WiZ range of T-thread drilling components which, it claims, can give up to 30% longer service life. The new drill string comprises T-WiZ Speedrods and shank adapters, with the design offering greater thread stability than before. According to Atlas Copco, this is the toughest T-thread system cur- rently available, able to work effectively in both tough formations and fractured rock. The company also claims the thread is robust enough to prevent breakage in the blasthole.
T-WiZ is currently available in three rod sizes—38, 45 and 41 mm—with rods and shank adapters designed for extension or drifting drill strings.
Tough Slurry Pumps
For more than 50 years, Swedish compa- ny Grindex has supplied its pumps to a variety of challenging applications, includ- ing mining and tunneling, quarries, steel mills, power plants, the rental sector, con- struction, and other areas that need reli- able and highly dependable pumps. Built- in motor protection and an air valve mean its pumps can run unsupervised for long periods, and even run dry for a length of time. According to Grindex, it has sup- plied over 350,000 pumps to more than 100 countries.
The company claims its new genera- tion of Hard-Iron Bravo slurry pumps offers smarter transport of abrasive parti- cles. Grindex has updated its Bravo series of slurry pumps, with the new series now including 45-kW (60-hp) and 70-kW (94- hp) versions. Bravo submersible electric pumps are designed for use in mines, quarries, dredging and construction opera- tions, as well as in any other industry that requires the pumping of abrasive particles.
Grindex says its Bravo slurry pumps are renowned for their ability to pump and transport almost any abrasive particles, including stone, steel or bentonite. They are also suitable for use in industries that need to move slag products, coal and ore slurries, or when dredging and cleaning sediment ponds, among other things.
“Pumping in such tough conditions puts extreme demands on the entire pump, from wear parts to bearings and seals,” said Tore Hovland, the company’s chief mechanical engineer. “To meet these requirements, the hydraulic parts of the Bravo 400-900 are now made from one of the toughest materi- als on the market, Hard-Iron, a high- chromium cast iron that is at least four times harder than standard cast iron.”
The new pumps are fitted with four-pole low-speed motors from 4.7 kW up to 70 kW. These over-dimensioned motors enable large amounts of high solids-content slurry to be pumped quickly and effectively. The pumps are also fitted with an agitator beneath the pump intake, which functions as a propeller and creates a downward stream that stirs up the material ahead of pumping. The Bravo series now consists of eight pumps with capacities ranging from 30 to 130 liters per second.
“Our pumps have always been highly appreciated because they are reliable, portable, and able to withstand the tough- est conditions,” said Fredrik Nyrén, region- al sales manager and Bravo product man- ager. According to Grindex, the new-gener- ation Bravo pumps are designed in the same standardized way as their predeces- sors, which means that they have inter- changeable parts. For any operator running more than one unit, this cuts down on both storage and maintenance costs. In addi- tion, the company says, despite their stur- dy construction, installing the pumps is still a relatively smooth and easy process.
The company’s QuarCon (XRF) and OreSpex (LIF) cross-belt analyzers are used to monitor ore qualities on conveyor belts in quarry and mining, before the ore beneficiation plant. QuarCon measures the elemental content of the ore while OreSpex provides rapid ore mineral and rock identification for reducing waste-rock dilution and ore losses, and for improving ore-grade control. OreSpex can also be used for analyzing fine-ground dry ore and slurries, as can its Imacon (XRF) system.
The latest IMA product for grade con- trol using advanced analysis technology, the blasthole sampler-analyzer, can take representative samples, analyze them and display the results values at real time, while the company’s bucket scanner analyses the ore grade in an LHD bucket in underground mining applications.
IMA says its systems include advanced data-handling and reporting tools that help to control total plant economics in real time. Modern software architecture gives options for easy data transfer to and from the system over the internet, the company adds.
IMA’s drill-cutting sampling and ana- lyzing system can be supplied as a trailer- mounted mobile unit for use in conjunc- tion any make of drill rig, with the unit being moved from hole to hole as drilling progresses. Sample analysis is instant and fully automatic, with the results being used to provide grade-control information.
During production drilling, the compa- ny’s OreAlyzer PDSA (percussive drill sampler-analyzer) system produces ore-grade data and an accurate location by combining the metal content of the drill cuttings with the drill hole depth. IMA reports that the system’s accuracy has been verified in a nickel mine by comparing the results from adjacent diamond drill, reverse circulation and normal production blasthole drilling with the on-line OreAlyzer results. The test showed excellent correlation between these three sampling methods, it says.
Mine On-Line Service:
Services provided by Mine On-Line Service (MOLS) include geochemical analysis by on-line methods on till samples, drill cores, drill cuttings and crushed ore; core- logging services; a mining grade control application study service, using mobile drill-cutting sampler-analyzers and 3-D blastfield modeling; and heap-leaching optimization based on on-line ore analysis with patented technology.
In one example of the company’s serv- ices, since 2007 it has been analyzing and digitizing drill cores in the Nordic countries’ national drill-core storage facil- ities at Loppi in Finland, Malå (Sweden), and Lökken (Norway), using its Scan- mobile mobile geochemical analysis lab. Managed by the three countries’ Geo- logical Surveys, the national core banks house old and new drill cores that are available as a resource for exploration companies. The Scanmobile uses X-Ray fluorescence (XRF) elemental analysis and digital imaging technology for analyzing and documenting the drill cores.
The analysis methods used in the Scanmobile are non-destructive. It scans the exposed surface of the drill cores with its XRF analyzer and takes high-resolution digital images of the drill cores in the box. The core pictures are further analyzed to detect minerals and to evaluate the rock quality (RQD). The Scanmobile service includes the Remolog web-browser report- ing system and logging tool, which enables customers to view and even to log cores remotely, combining the geochemical analysis results with high-resolution core pictures in an easy-to-use format.
An additional advantage, according to MOLS, is the speed of analysis. “We can analyze several hundreds of meters of drill core per day with the Scanmobile, and have the results available on Remolog the follow- ing day, if needed,” said Ilpo Auranen, MOLS CEO. “It’s quick, and our customers can bypass the national core-storage log- ging facility’s often long booking line because the analysis is done in the core- storage area, not in the logging room.”
MOLS recently analyzed 8,000 m of iron-ore drill cores in 19 days for LKAB, using the Scanmobile. The unit was set up in a core shed at LKAB’s Svappavaara site, the drill cores were analyzed, and the results were sent to LKAB via Remolog.
The elements analyzed were iron, sili- ca, titanium and vanadium, using four 25- cm-long individual analyses per every meter of drill core, summed up to 1-m averages. Core box photos and RQD infor- mation were also included. According to LKAB, the work would have taken more than six months using conventional labo- ratory methods, with MOLS suggesting that its Scanmobile service will result in shorter mine-development times.
KWH says its multilayer pipe systems offer all of the benefits of HDPE, such as durability, flexibility, corrosion resistance and availability in long lengths, together with specialty polymers, to address its customers’ requirements. Its product family includes WehoSlurry (superior wear resistance), WehoChem (for trans- porting highly aggressive process chemi- cals) and WehoAntistatic (used for the safe transport of flammable substances). Because of the materials used and the production process, these products do not delaminate as lined pipes might do, the company explained.
In addition to pipes, KWH Pipe brings its engineering and installation capabili- ties to the table in order to provide its customers with an optimized, long-last- ing solution. Headquartered in Finland, the company has factories and sales offices in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia, providing mines with pipe for water transport, tailing lines and heap leaching, among other applications. Where a mine is remote, and material- transport costs high, it offers an innova- tive solution by producing pipes on site, using a mobile plant.
According to KWH, HDPE pipes offer excellent resistance against abrasion and corrosive chemicals. They are also light- weight, while their flexibility allows them to bend naturally and to absorb stress caused by soil or ground movement.
WehoSlurry pipe has been developed specifically for carrying slurry and solid abrasive material, with pipe lengths being joined either by using special mechanical flange connections or by conventional butt- welding. KWH offers a customization serv- ice for slurry pipelines, using a test rig and slurry samples to evaluate the optimum pipe parameters such as the wear charac- teristics, bend radii and jointing methods.
KWH supplied 37 km of pressure- tested pipe for Boliden’s Aitik expansion project, consisting of 25 km (15 miles) of water pipeline and 12 km for handling tailings. The water pipeline handles up to 10,500 m3/h (371,000 ft3/h) of process water. The company also reported that polyethylene pipe it supplied to the Tara zinc mine in Ireland in 1976 is still serv- iceable, demonstrating the longevity of the material.
ABS Joins Sulzer
In July, Malmö-based Cardo Flow Solutions, manufacturer of the ABS range of pumps, became part of the internation- al Sulzer group, providing Sulzer with an entry into the wastewater pump market.
According to ABS, its range of reliable, easy-to-handle and transportable dewater- ing pumps is characterized by robust design and low weight. Its sturdy self- priming or vacuum-assisted pumps offer high suction lifts and the ability to handle large volumes and high solids contents, and have a modular design with inter- changeable spare parts, making service and maintenance easy. The company notes that since time is often the most critical factor in situations that call for a dewatering solution, it uses sophisticated stocking systems with international hub locations and on-hand stocks of key dewa- tering equipment to ensure rapid availabil- ity of products and spare parts.
The company’s product range includes the J 5-604 & JC 24-84 submersible drainage-pump series, which are suitable for pumping both clean and dirty water. They are light and have a compact design, making them easy to transport, handle and install.
Meanwhile, the JS 12-84 and JT 15- 250 submersible sludge pumps can han- dle sludge and water mixed with solids. The JS 12-84 models are both slim and light, which makes them easy to move and handle. Once a JS pump is installed, it can run without the risk of overheating the motor or sludge clogging, according to ABS, while the JT 15-250 range has a robust cast-iron design that provides a sturdy pump for rough conditions. The pump runs at any water level without over- loading the motor.
ABS diaphragm pumps are designed to handle muddy water, sludge or water with a high solids content, and can be used for slow seepage applications or for total bot- tom clean-ups. The pump and motor are conveniently mounted together, while wheels and a handle makes the diaphragm pump easy to move around.
Simplifying Access from
Level to Level
In 2009, Alimak Hek supplied seven rack-and-pinion-driven elevators to Boliden’s Aitik copper mine as part of the company’s expansion program there. The elevators have been installed to facilitate the maintenance and inspection of differ- ent applications such as crushing, ore stockpiling, grinding, flotation and dewa- tering. The company says the working environment in northern Sweden creates severe demands on the elevators’ durabil- ity and reliability.
The Alimak elevators accommodate lift- ing heights between 14 m (46 ft) and 48 m (157 ft) and have payload capacities of 400–1,800 kg (881–3,900 lb). They are equipped with an ALC-II microprocessor- based control system, an emergency phone and an overload-sensing device.
All of the elevators are equipped with Alimak Hek’s on-line A3 remote monitoring system, which means the elevators can operate round-the-clock, fully monitored, with details of any faults being transmitted instantly so they can be repaired quickly with minimum downtime.
Alimak Hek says its rack-and-pinion elevators offer a good solution for both underground and surface-mining applica- tions such as pelletizing plants, smelters, concentrators and other ore-processing plants. Hundreds of these elevators have been delivered to mines worldwide, it adds, with the longest installation run- ning 640 m below ground at Freeport Copper & Gold’s Grasberg mine in Indonesia. This is also the highest-situat- ed Alimak elevator, at an altitude of 4,100 m, while the deepest unit supplied was for the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Canada, 2,000 m down.
Mining Engines from
Part of the Volvo group, one of the world’s largest diesel-engine manufacturers, Volvo Penta offers engines and compo- nents globally to OEMs. According to the company, technical quality, low cost of ownership and worldwide support are major reasons why customers choose Volvo Penta power.
Volvo Penta has comprehensive engine ranges suitable for mining applications that comply with major global legislation. Its engines range from 100 to 565 kW, and from 5 to 16 liter displacement. The latest Stage IIIB/Tier 4i engine range con- sists of four base units, the D5, D7, D13 and D16, with the company also offering engines complying with Stage II/Tier 2 and Stage IIIA/Tier 3 for markets not yet ready for Stage IIIB. It will have a range of Stage IV/Tier 4 engines available in 2014 that offer the same benefits as Stage IIIB with minimal additional operational and instal- lation demands.
Volvo Penta says the mining sector has very specific requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to provide trouble-free operation. Reliability is vital, since a break- down inside a mine can be dangerous to personnel and can incur enormous costs. The company therefore appreciates that the cost of an engine could be insignificant compared to lengthy downtime.
Its range is founded on Volvo’s medi- um- and heavy-duty engines. The latest advances in engine technology are used to ensure that its engines meet existing and future emission legislation, as well as pro- viding compact installation for OEMs and enabling end-users to achieve low owner- ship costs. In addition, the company says its products are supported in remote min- ing applications by one of the world’s largest networks of specially trained serv- ice and support dealers.
Volvo Penta engines incorporate SCR technology that combines increased power with 5%-10% improvements in fuel con- sumption compared with today’s engines, converting exhaust NOx into nitrogen gas and water vapor.
Sandvik Mining and Construction cur- rently offers Volvo Penta’s new range of engines in its LHDs and mobile crushers. Other mining-sector applications include diesel-driven pumps and compressors that require reliable engines that will operate for prolonged periods at high loads. Volvo Penta is also a major supplier of engines for power generation, delivering units to genset OEMs worldwide.
Examples of the company’s products include welders, power generators, high- pressure pumps, compressors and grin- ders. Its hydraulic welders provide profes- sional welding power, any time and any- where, and can replace traditional welding systems. Compact and lightweight, with its portable series weighing just 18 kg Dynaset’s welder units can supply welding currents from 180 to 400 A.
Its hydraulic-powered generators, meanwhile, cover outputs ranging from 3.5 to 70 kVA. They produce steady high- quality electricity, good enough for heavy- duty electric tools or even computers, yet have a low per-kVA cost, unlike old-fash- ioned generator units.
The company claims its patented hydraulic high-pressure pump is excep- tionally powerful, compact and versatile, capable of producing pressures of 15 to 300 bar and flow rate of 90 to 1600 liters per minute. They have good abrasion and chemical resistance, and can handle flu- ids containing up to 25% solids. Applications include DTH drilling, high- pressure dust suppression and inflating Swellex-type rock bolts.
A compact hydraulic compressor can replace an old-fashioned, clumsy towed compressor unit, Dynaset says. It has two different hydraulic compressor model lines: piston (output 400–1,000 l/min, 8–12 bar) or rotary vane block (400–7,500 l/min, 8 bar) types, while its hydraulic grinder unit is designed for uses such as such as sharpening tools and drill bits.
Virtual Training Provides
One of the world leaders in the supply of mineral processing and metallurgical technologies, Finland’s Outotec has a number of major milestones under its belt. Half of the world’s pyrometallurgical pri- mary copper is produced using its flash- smelting technology, it says, while one- third of the world’s hydrometallurgical copper is produced by Outotec SX-EW. In addition, one-third of the world’s sul- phuric-acid capacity runs on Outotec tech- nology, and most of the world’s iron-ore pellets are produced using the company’s travelling-grate process.
The company’s areas of expertise in mineral processing include grinding, flota- tion, filtration, physical separation, thick- ening and clarification, and the provision of analyzers and process automation. Its metallurgical processing skills encompass sintering and pelletizing, smelting and refining, direct and smelting reduction, calcination, roasting and off-gas handling, leaching and solution purification, solvent extraction, electro-refining, electrowinning and process control systems.
Another important aspect of Outotec’s service covers the training of plant person- nel. The company says its Virtual Ex- perience Training system provides its cus- tomers with a quick and effective way of training their operators before production starts, or later, as needed. Benefits, it adds, include shorter start-up times, bet- ter utilization of the ore, minimized pro- duction losses, higher availability and greater process stability.
The Virtual Experience Training course provides participants with hands-on expe- rience on the process operation, using realistic feedback to control actions. The training consists of basic and advanced modules, with the former concentrating on the theory of mineral processing, basic process circuit operation and trou- bleshooting, while the advanced module is targeted at optimizing the process circuit.
In a recent example, Outotec provided the Portuguese mining company, Almina, with training for its plant personnel ahead of the reopening of the Aljustrel base-met- als mine. Since Almina acquired the mothballed operation, Outotec had assist- ed it with a number of process modifica- tions in the existing concentrator, but since most of the operators there were inexperienced, Almina wanted training for them to ensure that the process would get off to the best possible start.
Of the 10 flotation-plant operators who undertook the week-long course, only three had any previous plant-operating experience, Outotec notes, with all of the training materials being translated into Portuguese to ensure the course was effective as possible.
In the area of process-control equip- ment, Outotec now offers its Courier 5i and 6i SL analyzers in a 20-ft container, pro- viding shorter delivery times, faster instal- lation and commissioning, and easy on-site training. The shelter protects the analyzer equipment from dust and dirt, extending its lifespan, as well as providing better working conditions for the operators.
Belvedere Resources took delivery of a containerized Courier slurry analyzer and Proscon 2100 automation system for its Hitura nickel mine in Finland last year, with the unit small enough to fit into the limited space available in the existing concentrator building. The new system replaced an ear- lier Courier that dated from the 1980s, one of more than 1,000 that Outotec reports having supplied worldwide over the years.
Sandvik’s newest conveyor component for the materials-handling and mining industry, the HM150 is a formed roller designed to operate in high-tonnage, high- speed applications on belt widths of 1,400–3,000 mm. Formed rollers operate longer, more quietly and consume less energy than traditional high-speed rollers, the company explains, with increased roller life, reliability and energy-efficiency creating new opportunities to reduce down-time and maximize belt speeds.
A new labyrinth seal effectively keeps the bearing grease in place, giving a much longer bearing life, the manufacturing process means that dynamic balancing of the roller shell is not needed, and meas- urements have shown noise reductions of 10–20 dBA compared with conventional heavy-duty rollers, according to Sandvik.
In the underground-equipment sector, Sandvik recently introduced its DD421 drilling jumbo, fitted with two 25-kW drills and designed for developing headings of between 8 and 60 m2 in cross-section. Replacing the former DD420 machine, the DD421 offers a new high-performance drilling system, improved maintainability and operator comfort with a new carrier design, and a new hydraulic control sys- tem, with adjustable drill settings to optimize its drilling performance, the compa- ny says. The improvements made to the drills have led to a 17% increase in bit life and 40% longer drilling time per shank, field trials have revealed.
Referring to the benefits that can be achieved by using instrumentation on face-drilling rigs, Sandvik says its DD- and DT-series drill rigs can be equipped with instrumentation to provide the operator with accurate boom positions and angles, and to provide feedback about the actual drilling done underground. Achieving a successful drill pattern has a huge effect on all other phases of the drill-and-blast cycle, the company explains, with a cor- rectly drilled pattern helping to reduce costs for blasting, loading, hauling, scal- ing, rock reinforcement and shotcreting, as well as preventing lost rounds.
Its TCAD and TMS instrumentation options can now be fitted on non-instru- mented rigs. TCAD (computer-assisted drilling) is a complete navigation and aim- ing tool designed for accurately executing pre-designed drilling plans with Sandvik drill rigs, while the TMS measurement sys- tem is aimed to harsh conditions, especial- ly for machines with only a safety canopy, to provide the operator with accurate infor- mation on hole angles and lengths.
RMG Adds Another Database
Earlier this year, the Stockholm-based Raw Materials Group (RMG) launched a new database covering the world’s produc- tion and trade in iron ore. The iron-ore database focuses on information essential to steel producers, mining analysts, sup- pliers to the mining industry, traders, ship- pers, and others involved in the steel and mining industries, according to RMG, which is one of the world’s leading sources of mineral commodity information.
Raw Materials Data Iron Ore covers the production of saleable products by mine, divided into fines/lump/concentrate/ pellets/ with grades, run-of-mine produc- tion by mine with grades, unique and extensive ownership trees, and import and export data by country. Other information includes prices, ports, current projects, contact details for the companies involved, and corporate financial data. With the introduction of this database, the company now provides information on all of the steel-making raw materials: coke, iron ore and ferro-alloys.
However, as RMG points out, it is in- volved in the iron-ore sector in other ways as well, since it is currently engaged in market studies and price forecasts for all of the iron-ore projects in the Nordic coun- tries, including Greenland.
RMG entered a new business sector this year by starting an electronic-scrap project in Ghana, working together with Boliden, the telecoms company Ericsson, and the consultancy Swedish Geological. The project aims at reducing the CO2 foot- print of the electronics industry by recy- cling copper and other metals more effi- ciently, and by using less energy in the loop than when producing new-mined copper.
The company has also achieved a major breakthrough in China with the sign- ing of a strategic partner agreement with Beijing Antaike Information Development Co., the Beijing-based metal information provider. Combining Antaike’s extensive knowledge of the Chinese mining and metal industries with RMG’s databases covering all of the world’s mines is enabling the two companies to be able to supply a truly global picture of the mining industry, according to RMG.
The two companies’ China Metal Forum non-ferrous metals conference, which took place in Stockholm last month, coincided with the launch of a global mar- ket study of the zinc industry, with a spe- cial focus on China. “This agreement gives RMG a pre-eminent partner focused on the mining powerhouse of the world— China—and confirms RMG’s global pres- ence and strong position in the booming mining industry,” said Professor Magnus Ericsson, RMG’s founder.
In the Nordic countries, Cavotec pro- vides the mining industry with a compre- hensive range of power connectors, cus- tom-made power units, mining flexible cables and accessories that improve pro- ductivity and the safety of operations. For instance, it has some 40 years’ of experi- ence in developing motorized cable and hose reels with capacities from 1 kV to 20 kV, and control cables with conductors and fiber optics.
Cavotec’s heavy-duty power connectors include its Push-and-Pull Connections System for applications where the connec- tor is disconnected frequently. Its Multi- Way Technology optimizes contact between the male and female pins, with two stan- dard pilot pins being the last to connect and first to disconnect for electrical inter- lock, thus enhancing operational safety. Its electrical connectors range in capacity from 690 V to 25 kV.
The company reports its mining and tunneling unit continued to register strong growth in the second quarter of 2011. “We are seeing sustained call for our automation and power-supply systems that enable operators to limit their environ- mental impact and improve productivity,” the company said. In May, Cavotec won an order from Normet for MC-3300 RRC units that will be used for the remote con- trol of explosives charging in a tunneling project, with an option for additional units.
Oy Kati: Northern
With its offices in Kalajoki, Finland, Oy Kati is a specialist mineral-exploration contract- ing company. With more than 30 years of experience of working in extreme condi- tions, its main area of expertise is in dia- mond drilling and related measurements. The company has focused mainly on proj- ects in Scandinavia, as well as in Greenland and in the deserts of the Sahara.
Kati has a fleet of 15 core-drilling rigs, of which the most recently acquired, a Sandvik DE150, has a depth capability of 2,000 m using NQ or BQ equipment. Most of its rigs are track-mounted to enable them to traverse the northern terrain, with two light-weight rigs for fly-in sites using helicopter transport. The company points out it can also use polymer technology in order to help improve core recoveries, while its capabilities include drilling side- deviated holes from a single set-up, there- by saving drilling costs for more interest- ing sections as well as saving time.
Kati also specializes in hole logging, extracting information on parameters such as the in-situ rock stresses or the actual path of a borehole. Data can be obtained on hole inclinations and paths, the start- ing azimuth and the core orientation, with water-pressure testing being used to check on the rock integrity. The company’s most recent acquisition has been an SPT GyroTracer, with which it has transferred high-precision north-seeking gyro technol- ogy from the oil and gas industry to min- eral exploration. In 2009, Kati was com- missioned by First Quantum Minerals to carry out checks on old boreholes at its Kevitsa nickel property in northern Finland, using its GyroSmart logging sys- tem alone to determine the inclination of the old holes for use in orebody definition.
Accredited to ISO 14001 standards for environmental management since 2004, Kati emphasizes its environmental creden- tials, using light-weight tracked drills for minimum imprint and biodegradable con- sumables such as drilling fluids. Each drilling unit is also equipped with oil-spill limitation and cleaning equipment, the company says.
High-strength Steel Cuts
Swedish steel company SSAB has reported seeing increased interest in its ‘Hardox In My Body’ business concept. In addition to the delivery of high-strength steel, the con- cept includes providing customers with technology and marketing support. In return, customers must complete SSAB’s certification process.
According to SSAB, Hardox is one of the world’s strongest and most sought- after abrasion-resistant steels. The compa- ny launched the business concept 10 years ago, and notes that it is now receiv- ing rapidly growing interest all over the world, as well as adding new markets. “Customers have recognized the benefits of being able to use the Hardox brand in their marketing, while also gaining access to our knowledge of materials,” said Mats Sjöström, Hardox project manager, SSAB.
Underlying this interest is an abrasion- resistant steel that opens the door to stronger and lighter designs, SSAB explains. “Usually, the weight of truck and trailer body structures can be cut by at least 1.5 tons if you make them in Hardox,” said Area Tech- nical Manager Robert Lind. “The Hardox properties quite simply open a number of opportunities to optimize the design. And the end result is a stronger, more durable product with better operating economy.”
In countries where there is big invest- ment in infrastructure development, there are huge demands on transporting the materials needed. “For buyers of truck bodies and other parts where wear is high, Hardox is a quality guarantee for which they are prepared to pay extra,” Lind said.
When an excavator has to be moved, each of its tracks is reversed on to a Sleipner unit, thus lifting them off the ground at the back of the machine. A mine truck is then driven in front of it, its boom and bucket are placed in the truck dump body, and the front of its tracks are then lifted up by using the boom’s hydraulics. The truck provides the motive power for the move which, according to the com- pany, is achieved four- to five-times faster than when tramming an excavator on its tracks. There are also considerable savings in wear on the tracks and undercarriage, and less vibration to the machine as a whole, helping to prolong its life. The Sleipner dollies are equipped with auto- matic safety brakes that operate on slopes of up to 20% as well as keeping the units in place when parked on uneven ground.
Since introducing the concept in 1996, Sleipner has expanded its range to nine models that can handle excavators and front shovels up to the 400 t class. The company has also expanded its distribution network. A regional manager has been appointed in the U.S. to cover most of Latin America and a distributorship has been signed to cover the U.S. and Mexico. Further sales region expansions are being negotiated in various parts of the world, Sleipner said.