Sweden's 3 Flagship Mining Operations
As far as profound global mining precincts are concerned, some of the first countries that spring to mind consist of resource powerhouse nations such as Australia, Ghana, Brazil, South Africa & Chile to name a few.
Sweden generally isn’t a country thrown into conversation as a central region of thriving mining investment, exploration, development and operational activity.
This however does not mean that mining isn’t there and has not been there for centuries. Mining in Sweden dates back as far as 1080AC, with the Falun Copper Mine being the first and most discussed mining operation from this time onwards.
The Falun Mine played a central part in the worlds technology development as it supplied near two thirds of Europe’s copper requirements upto the 1700’s.
Fast forward to the 2000’s and things have developed significantly as the European nation of 9.3million residents has solidified it’s positioning as a major supplier of commodities such as copper, iron ore, gold, graphite, nickel, silver, molybdenum and zirconium.
The nation is still relatively unexplored in regards to its mineral resources but we are starting to see Sweden gain more attention from overseas exploration and development focused companies as they endeavor to locate a financially feasible deposit to exploit and present to the mining world.
Some amazing projects of which have evolved into burly operations of significance to Sweden are outlined below.
Kiruna (Iron Ore) - Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB)
Kiruna is the largest underground iron ore mine in the world, located in Norrbotten County in Sweden’s north.
First production commenced at the mine in 1898 where conventional surface mining was used up until around the 1960’s.
Kiruna has since been mined utilising underground Sub-level caving mining methods with the deepest point of the mine being 1540m below sea level.
Kiruna has produced around 950 million tonnes of iron ore since its inception and is operated by Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB).
The ore mined from Kiruna is processed on site, producing high quality blast furnace and direct reduction magnetite pellets then exported to customers worldwide.
The 18,000 community in Kiruna is now embarking on a radical urban relocation project as a result of the ground underneath the city becoming increasingly unstable as a result of the extensive century long mining activity.
The plan is to move the city and its residents around 3 kilometres eastward, away from the mine and any potential danger associated to sinkhole and ground movement activity.
For more information regarding Kiruna and LKAB visit: http://www.lkab.com/en/
Björkdal (Gold) - Mandalay Resources
Björkdal is a gold mining complex located in Västerbotten County in Sweden’s North.
The operation is currently owned and operated by Australian miner - Mandalay Resources and produces around 166,000 ounces of gold per year.
Mandalay acquired Björkdal from Elgin Mining in 2014 but was originally discovered by Terra Mining in 1983.
Operations commenced under the guidance of Terra Mining in 1988 and continued via Terra & William Resources until 1999 when Björkdal ceased operations due to low gold prices.
As the price for gold rose, operations recommenced in 2001 with the site holding ownership from a series of companies including International Gold Exploration, Minmet, Gold-Ore & Elgin until Mandalay acquired to operation in 2014.
Björkdal utilise both underground and surface mining methods with 60% of production associated to the sites underground operations.
Processing is run via a conventional flotation circuit, producing various concentrate products of which are sold to numerous smelters in Europe.
For more information regarding Björkdal and Mandalay Resources visit:
Aitik (Copper/Gold/Silver) - Boliden
Aitik is Sweden’s largest copper mine, located in Norrbotten County in Sweden’s North.
Aitek was first discovered in the 1930’s but due to mining equipment and methods available at the time, operations on the deposit only became financially viable in the 1960’s.
Operations commenced at Aitek in 1968 with a production rate of 2mtpa being recorded for its first year.
Aitik is owned by mining company Boliden and consists of a large open pit operation of which is now 3km long, 1.1km wide and 450m deep.
Aitek currently produces around 39MTPA of copper, gold and silver ore per year and is widely known for being resident to some of the largest mining machinery in the world.
The operation currently employs around 600+ people onsite with ore mined from it’s operations supplying feed to its 5 smelting operations located across Europe.
Boliden is a major mining company in Europe and employs around 4900 people across mining, smelting and marketing channels spanning Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Denmark, UK, Norway and Germany.
For more information regarding Aitik & Boliden visit: http://www.boliden.com/About/
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