Boliden invests 2.5 billion kronor

Boliden's board has approved a significant investment of around 2.5 billion kronor in the Boliden area. This investment will introduce a groundbreaking solution for utilizing enrichment sand as backfill material in the mines, effectively extending production for at least ten years.

Peter Bergman gazes out over Södermalm where the new facility is to be built.

Peter Bergman gazes out over Södermalm where the new facility is to be built.

Foto: Lars Westerlund

Boliden2024-03-20 14:30

– This news is fantastic, says Peter Bergman, general manager of the Boliden area. 

– Previously, guaranteed operations only extended until 2029. Now, we have the certainty that production in the enrichment plant can continue for at least ten additional years.

The primary challenge in the Boliden area has been the limited capacity of the Hötjärn storage facility for enrichment sand. To address this, Boliden will construct a brand new dewatering and paste plant. 

This plant will be located south of the enrichment plant in Södermalm (also known as Koreadammen) and will use cement to stabilize the enrichment sand. This area was previously used for tailings storage, which were successfully recycled in the enrichment plant a few years ago.

The planned layout for the new dewatering and paste plant.

With the new plant, instead of storing the sand in the limited Hötjärn facility, Boliden will process it for use as backfill material in the Kankberg, Renström, and Maurliden mines. This method proves particularly beneficial in Maurliden, where open pits can be more effectively managed with the paste backfill method.

Since 2020, we've been working diligently to find the optimal solution for the plant," says Peter Bergman, standing in front of Hötjärnmagasinet. "This means we have a clear vision for its design."

The plant will also process residual products from the Rönnskär electronic waste enrichment process, transforming them into backfill material as well.

– The material will be stored in silos here in Boliden and automatically loaded onto our ore trucks, explains Peter. 

– These trucks will then transport the processed material back to the mines after delivering ore.

The bottom of the open pit in Maurliden, which is now to be finished.

A similar dewatering and paste plant has been operating successfully in Boliden's Garpenberg mine since 2014, demonstrating its effectiveness and improved environmental performance. 

The new plant in Boliden is expected to be completed by 2026, with construction starting this week. Additionally, mixing stations will be built at the three aforementioned mines. Boliden plans to invest 500 million kronor this year, with the remaining funds allocated over the project timeline.

"The material will be stored in silos here in Boliden and can automatically be loaded onto our ore trucks that take it as return transport after unloading the ore from the mines," says Peter Bergman.

– Since 2020, we've been diligently working to identify the optimal solution for this plant, says Peter. 

– This focus means we have a clear vision for its design. We're excited to embark on this project!

The permit application for the new plant is expected to be submitted shortly.

The new facility will be located in Södermalm.
In the Kankberg mine, the enrichment sand is to be used as backfill material