Metals and minerals
Welcome to Skellefteå, the home of Euro Mine Expo
It is no coincidence that Skellefteå is the site of the Euro Mine Expo. For almost 100 years, ore deposits have ensured jobs for generations of people and contributed to today's societal development.
New industries have also emerged around the mining industry, several companies of which have reached world-leading positions.
And now when the manufacture of electric motor vehicle batteries is breaking new ground, the need for a century-old basic industry producing sustainable metals is greater than ever.
On the night of December 10, 1924, a team of workers found gold at Fågelmyran, a mire three miles northwest of Skellefteå. It came to change an entire village for generations.
The Boliden ore turned out to contain 496 grams of gold per tonne and was Europe's richest ore deposit, it also became the foundation of the entire Boliden Group. In March 1926, the first barrel of ore was hoisted up and the same year marked the start of the village of Boliden, where there had previously only been roadless forests and marshland. Boliden was planned to be a model village through social engineering and became a prosperous mining community.
An industry at the forefront
Today, the entire municipality of Skellefteå and the nearby inland municipalities are strongly characterised by the ore deposits and the mines, smelteries, dressing plants and recycling plants that have emerged.
“The mining industry has been one of this region's main lifebloods since the deposit was found on Fågelmyran. It was no coincidence that test drilling was carried out there, nor is it a coincidence that an industry has emerged that is at the forefront when it comes to sustainable extraction thanks to local expertise”, says Anja Palm, Business Manager at Skellefteå Municipality. She continues:
“The mining industry is something of an example that has concentrated on its core business with specialists and niche companies emerging around it. For the development of the business community, it has been enormously important to have strong suppliers locally.
The largest player in the Skellefteå area is Boliden, which has nearly 6,000 employees in the Group and around 400 professional roles.
There is a clear correlation here between productivity and environmental promotion. The future will entail increased use of battery power in the mines for trucks, drilling rigs and rock reinforcement machinery. Boliden has undergone a digital transformation and positioned itself as one of the world's foremost when it comes to automation. Collective control systems and demand-controlled ventilation systems are other examples of automation technology introduced by Boliden.
Climate friendly and safe technology
For example, a remote loading system is used in Boliden Garpenberg to make the working environment safer and further improve production capacity. The system is one of only a few similar systems in the world and Boliden is looking into the possibility of using this solution in other mines as well.
An automatic drilling system is also being tested at the Garpenberg and Kankberg mines that allows the operator to focus on a troublesome area of drilling while another boom automatically drills in another area. Boliden has also implemented mobile control rooms at the dressing plants where the processes are largely carried out using remote-controlled technology.
The introduction of new technology is largely about making the mines even safer for employees and Boliden, for example, was the first in the world to use wireless networks in its mines for voice calls and 3D positioning.
Boliden has set a goal to implement a full-scale system for electric propulsion via current collectors in the Rävliden mine, which is a satellite ore body and expansion of the Kristineberg mine.
Together with the ABB technology company and Epiroc, a manufacturer of mining and infrastructure equipment, Boliden will jointly develop an electric truck system for underground mines.
Entrepreneurs on the world arena
The Björkdal mine is located not far from Boliden and is owned by Mandalay Resources – it is one of northern Europe's largest mines for the extraction of gold. In fact, it is the mine in Västerbotten that produces the most per year in terms of tonnes.
They call themselves the world's cleanest gold mine here. This is partly due to the special conditions of the rock itself but also thanks to the important environmental work that the Björkdal mine carries out.
Boliden-based Bergteamet is also a good example of how local excellence in mining has grown into a successful company that now operates internationally as a specialised drilling contractor. Since its formation in 1999, Bergteamet has a history of safe, efficient and innovative deliveries to the mining industry, including within excavation work and underground infrastructure.
The Skelleftehamn company Jama Mining Machines has a history going back to the 40s. Many years of cooperation with the northern mining companies have made Jama a world-leading manufacturer of special products for the international mining industry. For example, in 2020, Jama presented the world's first battery-powered fossil-free scaling rig for underground rock.
Production mainly concerns machines for ore mining and tunnelling but also safety products for the mine such as rescue capsules.
Innovations for the future
Alimak is another global player from Skellefteå. For over 70 years, Alimak has been responsible for pioneering solutions in the design and manufacture of solutions for vertical transport in the industrial and construction sectors. Alimak industrial hoists can be installed above or below ground. Typical applications in mines are in loading pellets, crushers, mine headframes, processing plants, chimneys, smelters, mine shafts and processing plants.
Skellefteå has a long tradition when it comes to utilising raw materials and the future looks as exciting as the first 100 years.
Transition metals, innovations and minerals that shape the future can be found here.
FACTS/EURO MINE EXPO
With its long history and strong innovative successes, the Skellefteå region also stands out on an international level when it comes to mining. It was therefore no coincidence that it was precisely here that the need arose for the mining industry to congregate.
It started on a small scale in Malå, thanks to the initiative of Georange, today a partner of organiser Nolia. The need to meet turned out to be so much greater, so Nolia took the baton further and in 2008, the first conference was held in Skellefteå.
Today, the expo has more than doubled in size and over 2,000 participants are expected in 2022. In recent years, Skellefteå has come to mean even more for green transition, where new industries are developed. It produces transition metals that link the mining industry with the battery industry. Euro Mine Expo 2022 is held every second year and we could not be more excited about this years version.