PROMETIA Tech Tour 2024: Exploring Finland’s Raw Materials and Sustainable Mining Innovations

PROMETIA Tech Tour 2024: Exploring Finland’s Raw Materials and Sustainable Mining Innovations

The PROMETIA Tech Tour 2024 took place in Finland this June, beginning its exciting journey in the west at Boliden’s Zinc plant in Kokkola. The tour continued eastward, visiting the Talvivaara mine in Kajaani, and concluded at the GTK Mintec pilot plant and lab in Outokumpu.

This year’s Tech Tour cohort included 22 selected researchers and PhD students nominated by PROMETIA members, and was accompanied by PROMETIA President Patrick d’Hugues from BRGM and Executive Committee member Fidel Grandia Borràs from Amphos 21. The visit was co-organised by our member, the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), known in Finnish as Geologian tutkimuskeskus (GTK). Special thanks to Jason Yang for his contribution to the organisation of this visit.

Day 1: Diving into Kokkola’s Industrial Landscape
The tour kicked off with a day full of learning and exploration in Kokkola. Highlights of the first day included engaging presentations from industry experts:

  • Juha Järvi from Jervois Finland Oy provided insights into cobalt production.
  • Marianna Hietaniemi from Umicore Finland shared her expertise.
  • Sami Heikkinen from Keliber Oy offered an in-depth look into the company’s operations.
  • Justin Salminen from Boliden Kokkola Oy rounded out the day’s presentations.

These sessions were complemented by a guided bus tour led by Sami Heikkinen and Justin Salminen, offering an in-depth look at the Kokkola Industrial Park (KIP). The day concluded with a networking lunch at the Tower Bistro-restaurant at Port Tower, where participants exchanged ideas and reflections on the day’s learnings.

Day 2: Exploring Talvivaara Mine
On the second day, the cohort visited the Talvivaara Mine, owned by Terrafame Ltd. This visit offered valuable insights into Terrafame’s operations, focusing on the world’s first bioheapleach project for nickel, centered on the Kuusilampi and Kolmisoppi polymetallic deposits. These deposits form one of Europe’s largest sulphide nickel resources, producing nickel, copper, zinc, and cobalt. The visit included detailed discussions with Jouni Pakarinen and Antti Arpalahti, who shared their expertise and facilitated numerous exchanges, providing a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities in managing this unique polymetallic mine.

Day 3: A Comprehensive Industrial Experience
The final day was action-packed with visits to Turula Engineering Oy, Outokumpu Old Mine & Mining Museum, and GTK Mintec Pilot Plant and Lab:

  • Turula Engineering Oy: The group toured the production facilities, including welding, machining, surface treatment, and product installation. Juha Kukkonen, Production Manager, and Pekka Hirvonen, Manufacturing Development Engineer, guided the tour.
  • Outokumpu Old Mine & Mining Museum: This visit provided a historical perspective on Finland’s mining industry with a guided tour of the museum tunnels and exhibitions.
  • At the GTK Mintec Pilot Plant and Lab, participants explored the process mineralogy lab, process lab, and pilot plant. Emmi Heikkilä provided insights into the mineral processing lab, Pirjo Seppälä and Alona Nad guided the tour of the pilot plant, and Hannu Makkonen explained the mineralogy analysis lab.

Reflecting on an Unforgettable Journey
The Tech Tour concluded with a sense of fulfillment and inspiration, leaving participants with new knowledge, insights, and connections. Feedback from participants highlighted the tour’s success:

This unique trip allowed me to meet young talents working in geology, mining and recycling sectors. During the journey, I was able to discover the history, heritage and Finnish know-how in the mining sector and its related activities. It was a great place for very enriching exchanges of experiences, both personally and professionally.”
Sami Meddeb, Eramet

Beyond the technical and industrial insights, one of the most rewarding aspects of the tour was the opportunity to meet and network with fellow young researchers. The shared passion and commitment to advancing sustainable practices in our respective fields were truly motivating. These interactions have not only provided fresh perspectives and ideas that we are eager to incorporate into our work but have also led to making new valuable friendships.

Overall, the PROMETIA Tech Tour 2024 was an outstanding experience that combined educational value with practical insights and networking opportunities. We are deeply grateful for the chance to participate and look forward to applying the knowledge gained.”
Hannah Weber & Fabian Kadisch, TU Delft

The PROMETIA Tech Tour 2024 was again a very special experience that combined educational value with practical insights and networking opportunities. Participants gained a comprehensive understanding of Finland’s raw materials sector, explored innovative processes, and engaged in meaningful exchanges with industry experts. The tour fostered a sense of community among the participants, inspiring them to apply the knowledge gained and collaborate on future projects. The success of the Tech Tour underscores the importance of such initiatives in advancing the field of sustainable mining, metallurgy, and recycling.

As the cohort reflects on this unforgettable journey, they look forward to continuing their work with renewed enthusiasm and fresh perspectives. The PROMETIA Tech Tour 2024 not only enhanced their professional knowledge but also strengthened their commitment to advancing sustainable practices in their respective fields.

For more infos about the different profiles of our participants we invite you to check out ur ongoing LinkedIn campaign here.

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