Boliden opens Sarkanenä Sustainability Park

To strengthen biodiversity & create public accessible nature experiences Boliden inaugurated the Sarkanenä Sustainability Park close to its Aitik mine

The company's aim is for additional sustainability parks to be introduced in connection with active or decommissioned sites."Mines inevitably have an impact on the environment and the local community in which mining takes place. However, by restoring the land or setting aside other land and initiating efforts to promote biodiversity, we can strengthen the overall natural values and contribute to long-term solutions for both ourselves and others," says Åsa Jackson, Executive Vice President People and Sustainability at Boliden. “Once a mine is exhausted, reclamation work is carried out to restore the area to become a natural part of the landscape again. The restoration of a mining area is already determined at the mine planning stage.” 

Boliden's sustainability parks are areas within its land holdings consisting of forest land, decommissioned sites or land adjacent to active sites that can be opened to the public. The sustainability parks reflect the conditions at the site in question and will demonstrate the site's history and Boliden's association with it, historically, today and in the future.

A meeting place protected from weather will be available at all parks, along with nature experiences in the form of trails, playful elements, activities and more to learn about biodiversity. The information provided is also based on ecological, economic, socio-cultural and legal aspects, such as the natural values associated with the site and how these can be recreated and strengthened. Sarkanenä Sustainability Park is located about 10 km south of Gällivare along the road to Nattavaara and includes, in addition to other features, a hiking trail stretching about two kilometres, with an 'experience' trail.

The world's most efficient open-pit copper mine

Aitik, just south of Gällivare in Lapland, northern Sweden, is Sweden's largest open-pit copper mine. Ore is mined here around the clock from chalcopyrite that contains copper, gold and silver. The work in Aitik is done by some of the biggest machines in the world. They include rock dumpers weighing 570 tonnes when loaded, whose wheels alone are four metres across and excavators whose buckets can hold 45 cubic metres of rock. These machines are operated by nearly as many women as men, which makes Aitik one of the most gender-neutral mines in the world. With around 900 employees, the Aitik mine is the largest private employer in Gällivare Municipality.

During 2018 and 2019 a project for electrification of rock trucks was conducted at Aitik. Four CAT 795-trucks were adapted with current collectors, similar to those on railway carts, and a 700 m long test lane was built. The results were so promising that a decision was made in late 2019 to expand the project with a total of three kilometres of electrical lanes, and equipping ten more trucks with current collectors.

Boliden's vision is to be the most climate-friendly and respected metal supplier in the world. Its mines are among the safest in the world. Because automation allows the company to make workplaces that are already safe even safer for its employees, its mines are becoming increasingly digitised. Boliden is currently conducting a unique initiative to develop automation in mines. It is taking place in a cross-functional programme with employees from the entire group together with partners such as Volvo, Ericsson, Atlas Copco, Sandvik and ABB. The goal is to keep production running non-stop round the clock, but the greatest gain, Boliden insists, is improved safety.

Aitik at a glance:

  • Established: 1968
  • Operating profit: SEK 3,076 m (2022)
  • Average number of employees: 932 (2022)
  • Type of mine: open pit
  • Mine depth: 450 metres

Production: Copper; Gold; Silver


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