Forging ahead for arctic iron
A company from Down Under is reviving an old iron ore operation in the northernmost reaches of Europe, to produce the real stuff of infrastructure development.
The Sydvaranger Mine in the Finnmark region of Norway, 400 km above the Arctic Circle and close to the Russian border, was shut down in 1996. It recently reopened after undergoing a major facelift by new Australian owner Northern Iron, and Atlas Copco has been enlisted to help increase and maintain the mine’s productivity.
“We’ve been working very hard to get this on the road, and there’s been no shortage of challenges,” says the newly-opened mine’s chief executive officer, John Sanderson. “But everything is falling into place. We are moving forward – the mine is up and running, and we are now into our first year of full production.”
Northern Iron’s improvements are expected to allow iron ore to be produced at the rate of 7 million tons per year.
Atlas Copco is a major supplier for the new project, providing drill rigs, rock drilling tools, compressors, lighting towers, hydraulic breakers and other auxiliary equipment. The company’s comprehensive service and maintenance program ensures that all those machines function smoothly.
The three deposits at Sydvaranger – Hyttemalmen, Kjellmannsåsen and Bjørnevatn – contain notoriously hard-to-drill, iron-hard quartz-banded magnetite ore. Nevertheless, Sanderson says the operation is well-equipped and equally well-manned.
There’s never any downtime when it comes to Atlas Copco’s three-part service and maintenance contract at the Sydvaranger mine. Anders Berglund, Business Line Manager, Parts and Services, says, “Our contract includes round-the-clock coverage, 365 days a year, for everything from equipment maintenance to extensive operator training. We have 18 people on-site, and more will be needed as we move ahead.”
For Atlas Copco, it’s just another day in the life of increasing customers’ productivity and sustainability.
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