July 5, 2021
Expansion at the Kittilä mine reached an important milestone on June 14, when the first rocks were dumped onto the new underground rock line. The rock line start-up, part of an extensive investment project at the mine, was preceded by many months of preparation, including planning, testing, and inspections. The multidisciplinary team involved in the project included experts from the Kittilä mine, the engineering company that designed the project, contractors, and equipment suppliers.
Some future end users of the equipment also participated in the project, which Commissioning Manager Antti Tammela finds beneficial: “They have a natural interest in the equipment since they will be the ones responsible for using and maintaining it. It’s great to be able to increase knowledge and retain it within the company.”
“We have been getting acquainted with the equipment for over two years, and we started to plan its commissioning in October–November of last year,” says Tammela. “The first tests were run in December. After that, we proceeded incrementally with tasks such as installation inspections and various electrical and automation tests,” he explains.
Phase 1 of the rock line’s commissioning will continue for another few months. Once the hoist shaft is ready, the rest of the installations for the rock line will be completed. After that, commissioning will progress to phase 2, and eventually actual production will begin.
Congratulations to all those involved for a smooth and successful project!
THE ROCK LINE
The shaft project involved excavating some 85,000 m2 of rock for various functions in the underground mine. Two ore passes, a primary crushing plant, two ore silos, and the necessary conveyors and measuring pockets were also constructed and installed.
Operation of the Rock Line
- The underground chamber accommodating the rock line is 82 meters long, 10 meters wide, and 22 meters high at its highest point.
- Ore is transported by truck from the production areas to the ore passes, transferred to the feeders, and carried onward to the jaw crusher.
- The ore is then transferred to the silos via the tramp metal removal station and sorted by type.
- From the silos, it is loaded by apron feeders onto a conveyor that transfers the ore to another tramp metal removal station.
- Finally, the ore is loaded into measuring pockets and passed into skips from there.
13.7.2021 Edit: corrected section concerning ore sorting. Ore cannot be sorted by type in the rockline.