METALS AND MINERALS
Boliden Rönnskär - world leader in metal recycling
Boliden Rönnskär in Skelleftehamn is one of the world's most efficient copper smelters and also the world leader in electronics recycling, with the ambition to constantly develop. The latest major projects are a new efficient leaching plant and a unique repository for process waste.
Rönnskär is Boliden's largest production unit and the largest private employer in the region with around 860 employees. As one of the world's most efficient copper smelters, it produces mainly copper but also gold, silver, lead and zinc clinker from raw materials from Boliden's own mines and external suppliers. The smelter is also a world leader in the recycling of electronics such as printed circuit boards, from which it extracts mainly copper, gold and silver.
More recycling means less waste
Now the company is raising the bar further with a new leaching plant that can extract metal from residual materials, reducing the amount of waste that needs to be landfilled. Linn Andersson, site manager at Boliden Rönnskär, tells us more.
- The focus in the near future is on extracting more metal from our materials and getting them into products. The most important part of this is the new efficient coating system, which enables us to recycle 80% of the metal.
Residual material from the smelter's treatment facilities enters the leach plant as leachables from copper, lead and other metals that can be recycled and ultimately become products such as lead ingots, copper cathodes, silver granules and gold ingots. The material that cannot be made into products will be deposited in a deep repository.
- The underground repository will be unique, there is nothing like it in the world. The closest it comes is the final storage for nuclear fuel. At a depth of 330 metres, there will be a long road leading to 200-metre-long and 15-17-metre-high storage rooms that resemble rock halls or halls. The space will cover storage needs for at least forty years.
A solution for future generations
Linn Anderson says that responsibility and care for the environment for the future is a very important issue for Boliden Rönnskär.
- We want to work in a credible and responsible way, and the deep repository is the safest solution available to take care of the residues that we cannot make products from, such as arsenic, mercury and cadmium. Building repositories for 10-15 years is not sustainable; we are building to store the material forever and sealing the repository in such a way that it does not need to be monitored. It's a solution that future generations won't have to take responsibility for, and that feels great.
Both the leach plant and the underground repository will become operational in 2021. Linn Andersson is looking forward to continuing to develop Boliden Rönnskär in a municipality that is experiencing strong growth.
- Skellefteå is a very interesting place right now, with a strong belief in the future. We want to create a modern world together, and at Rönnskär we produce metals that the modern world needs. I believe that many players will help to attract expertise here and that is a great advantage for all of us.