Sweden. Boliden Mineral AB
|Date of agreement:||22 Apr 2020|
|Customer:||Boliden Mineral AB|
|Amount in EUR:||EUR 100 million|
|NACE sector / loan type:||Mining and quarrying|
Financing from NIB Environmental Bond proceeds
NEB-eligible share: 17%
NEB category: Resources and waste management systems
Amount disbursed: EUR 17 million
Note: For loans in other currencies than EUR, the equivalent in EUR is based on the exchange rate effective for the disbursement. Read more about the NIB Environmental Bonds
The loan has been provided to Boliden Mineral AB to finance two sub-projects in the company’s ongoing investment programme: the expansion of operations at the Kevitsa mine in Finland and the construction of a leaching plant at the Rönnskär smelter in Sweden.
Metal concentrates at the Kevitsa mine in northern Finland include copper, nickel, gold, platinum and palladium. Boliden is investing in expanding the operations at the mine to increase production capacity from 7.8 Mtons in 2018 to 9.5 Mtons in 2020. In addition, Boliden has ordered 17 new mining trucks that can be converted from diesel to run on electricity. The project includes connecting the site to an electricity supply, building access roads, arranging water supply and making provisions for wastewater treatment.
At the Rönnskär copper smelter in northern Sweden, a new leaching plant is being constructed. The plant will extract metal from residual material. Waste that is generated by the smelter operations will be upgraded and treated, transforming it into an annual additional output of lead sulphate and copper/zinc sulphate. The remaining waste material will be deposited at a newly constructed deep rock cavern deposit at the site. The leaching plant is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2020.
Boliden is a Swedish mining and smelting company that mainly produces copper, zinc, nickel, lead, gold and silver. The company is headquartered in Stockholm and has operations in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Ireland. Boliden employs approximately 6,000 people.
Fulfilment of NIB's mandate
Kevitsa mine expansion
The investment is part of the ongoing expansion of mining operations at Kevitsa, and aims to improve productivity. The output of the mine is expected to increase by more than 20%. As the mine also plays an important role in the regional economy and accounts for 15% of the employment in the municipality of Sodankylä, implications for employment and labour productivity are potentially significant. Copper and nickel are expected to play a key role in the transition to a low-carbon economy, as technologies that are used to phase out fossil fuels rely on these materials.
The project aims to increase mining intensity by expanding the mine’s open pit. A growth in mineral processing capacity also implies that more chemicals will be used. Expanding the overall dimensions of the mine will also increase the volume of wastewater and the need for drainage. The volumes of waste rock and tailings resulting from mineral processing will also increase, along with the space required for depositing waste material.
Rönnskär leaching plant
The investment is in line with the company’s strategy to extract as much metal as possible from existing raw material, and will contribute to the smelter’s resource efficiency and competitiveness.
Leaching will be done on existing, deposited waste that is generated by the smelter operations and by new falling hazardous waste. The upgrade and treatment of waste material (consisting of flue gas material) will increase the extraction of metals from mined ore, while also reducing the amount of hazardous waste generated. It is expected that up to 50,000 tons of waste will be leached and treated annually. The waste will be transformed into an annual additional production of 25 kilotons of lead sulphate and 25 kilotons of copper/zinc sulphate. The main chemicals used in the process are sulphuric acid from Boliden’s own operations and green liquor and lye from nearby pulp mills.
Indicators for the expected impact of the investment:
Kevitsa mine expansion:
– Production volume after expansion Mt per annum
– Contract workers
Rönnskär leaching plant:
– Amount of lead sulphate produced per annum
– Amount of copper and zinc sulphate produced per annum
– Percentage of stockpiled dust transported to the deep deposit
This is a project with a potentially extensive environmental and/or social impact (category A, read more)
Kevitsa mine expansion
The expansion of the Kevitsa mine is a large scale extraction project, and thus a “Category A” project. The necessary permit was granted in 2014 and covers mining, crushing and grinding, processing of ore to produce nickel and copper concentrates, water supply, wastewater treatment and waste depositing.
The project involves the scaling-up of mining intensity by raising the annual throughput rate to 9.5 million tonnes. The volumes of waste rock and tailings resulting from mineral deposits will increase, along with the space required for depositing waste materials. The volume of water required for the process is, however, expected to remain unchanged. Traffic at the site is expected to increase, as more transport will be required. The concentrates will be transported by road to a port in the Bay of Bothnia or to a rail terminal located between Kemijärvi and Rovaniemi.
Rönnskär leaching plant
The new leaching plant at Boliden’s Rönnskär smelter is categorised as “A” due to the handling of hazardous waste. The plant will be located within the existing industrial area of the Rönnskär smelter. The project has received the necessary permits. The plant will be enclosed to prevent any potential spills, and waste will be handled under covered conditions to prevent dusting. It is assessed that the leaching process will have a minimal effect on the surrounding environment. The cleaning up of historical deposits is expected to have a positive effect on the levels of contaminants in the air and groundwater. There are no protected areas in the vicinity of the smelter. NIB’s environmental analysts are conducting due diligence and site visits.