Boliden Mineral AB
Metals are an ever-present and vital component of society. Boliden extracts minerals and produces high quality metals in a cost-efficient way. The work throughout the value chain – from exploration to customer delivery – is characterised by care for people, the environment and society.
Four mining areas, five smelters, and 88 years’ experience
Boliden has been involved in exploration, mining operations and metal production since the 1920s and over the years, the company has established a competitive position in the fields of exploration, mining operations, concentration, smelting and recycling operations. Boliden’s metals are extracted from mines in Aitik, the Boliden Area, Garpenberg and Tara and refi ned at smelters in Rönnskär, Harjavalta, Kokkola and Odda. Rönnskär is a world-leader in the recycling of electronic scrap and the Bergsöe smelter is one of the biggest lead recycling facilities in Europe.
The purpose of the exploration work is to identify new deposits that can add mineral resources and reserves to Boliden’s holdings on a scale sufficient to guarantee Boliden’s long-term mining operations. Boliden explores both in the vicinity of existing mining areas (known as minesite exploration) in order to extend the mines’ productive lifespans, and in new areas (known as field exploration) in order to find completely new deposits. The mines’ technology departments carry out extensive technical and financial analyses and calculate the extent and nature of the deposit before any decision to commence mining operations is taken. Boliden’s exploration work focuses on ores that contain zinc, copper and precious metals.
Boliden’s four mining areas produce ores containing zinc, copper, lead, gold and silver. Boliden extracts the ore from both underground mines and open-pit mines. The ore is crushed and transported to a concentrator where it is processed to produce concentrate. The concentrate is then sold to smelters, where it is refined into finished metals. Most of the zinc concentrate and virtually all of the copper concentrate produced is refined into metals in Boliden’s own smelters.
The smelters produce both pure metals, customised alloys, and a number of subsidiary products. The raw material comprises metal concentrates from mines and secondary materials such as metal and electronic scrap, metal ashes and scrap car batteries. The materials are purchased both from Boliden’s own mines and external ones, and from metal and electronic scrap suppliers.
The majority of Boliden’s metals are sold to industrial customers in northern Europe, while a smaller percentage is sold to trading companies that sell the metals on – often to other parts of the world. Steelworks, which use zinc to galvanise steel, protecting it against corrosion, are the main customers for Boliden’s zinc. Approximately two thirds of all of the zinc produced goes, via the steelworks, for use in infrastructure and the construction industry. The automotive industry is also a significant end-user of zinc. Wire rod and copper rod manufacturers make up the majority of Boliden’s copper customers. A large percentage of all copper used goes, via manufacturers of copper components, to the construction industry and manufacturers of electrical and electronic products. Battery manufacturers, who account for approximately 80 per cent of all lead usage, make up the majority of Boliden’s lead customers. Boliden’s precious metals – gold and silver – go to the jewellery and electronics industries and to financial investors.