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Widening largest open pit copper mine in Europe

By [email protected] - 8th April 2008 - 08:01

New Boliden - the owner of Europeâs largest open pit copper mine Aitik in Gällivare, Sweden - discovered that the lands surrounding the mine also contain many valuable materials. So they simply decided to widen the entire open pit mine - to twice its current size - to enable access to these materials. Only problem: their current buildings are still on the ground they want to widen the mine to.
Widening the largest open pit copper mine in Europe So at the cost of 5.2 billion SEK (538 million euro) New Boliden are picking up their crushers, concentrators and offices and rebuilding them several kilometers down the road. The investments mean, among other things, that a new modern concentrator will be built doubling production capacity from 18 to 36 million tons of ore. Expanding productionThe investment program will run from 2007 to 2011. The expansion is the result of a study of the available alternatives to Aitikâs so-called basic plan, under which Aitikâs maximum production would be 19.7 million tons per year and the mine would be mined out by 2016. A study however identified that Aitikâs mineral resource, including ore reserves, totals approximately one billion tons. Enough material to the mine keep going for many more years and even allowing a doubling of the capacity. Taking on different partsPEAB and Skanska - two of Swedenâs largest contractors - have both taken on different parts of this gigantic project. PEAB will build a new concentrator, pump stations and several roads and open areas. Skanska will provide concrete structures for crushers and conveyors, two ore stockpiles, a truck workshop as well as road and construction work. Construction start was January 2008 and the work is scheduled to be completed in November 2009. From GPS to Machine ControlFor all the earth moving involved with this project many of the dozers and excavators of both contractors have been equipped with Topcon\'s Machine Control system. There are three excavators on site (2 Komatsuâs, 1 Volvo) with Topcon\'s 3DXi systems. And two bulldozers; Caterpillar D8 and D9. One of which uses the System 5 control box, the other is equipped with 3DMC. Besides this, Topcon has also delivered twenty Topcon GPS systems including rovers. And a Topcon base has been installed for the project. The companies rent the GPS base for the entire project so they are not dependant on other companies for their positioning needs. This way Topcon is helping the contractors find their position at all times, and enhancing their productivity by automating many processes.

Author: Dimitri Lambermont

Bio.: Technical Writer, Topcon Europe Positioning B.V.

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