Dragon Mining Sweden AB
THE STORY BEHIND THE SVARTLIDEN MINE — How It All Began
The First Discovery
Seventy kilometers west of Lycksele, in the Swedish municipality of Storuman, lies the small community of Pauträsk: a rural village in the middle of the wilderness, long considered a depopulation area. But things took a new turn in 1994, when three amateur geologists from Lycksele went looking for mineral blocks in the area. One of the blocks they found contained something that looked promising. It turned out to be gold.
Dragon Mining became involved in the Svartliden gold mine by a merger with Viking Gold in December 1999, and earned an 80% interest by exploring the deposit and competing Feasibility Study. After more than a decade in the Nordic Region Dragon Mining also operates the Orivesi and Jokisivu gold mines and the Vammala Production Centre in southern Finland. The exploration focus of the Company is not only to increase resources at the existing mines but also to expand the resources of the Kuusamo gold project in the north eastern Finland and bring another mine into production.
Dragon is well placed to become one of Europes’ leading gold mining companies.
Mining and environmental permits
As soon as sufficient information had been gathered, the lengthy process of building a mine began, including filing applications, permits, land purchases, EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) and other supplements. The drill analysis results were presented to the Chief Mine Inspector, followed by the application for an exploitation concession and a presentation before the Environmental Court in June, 2002. The Environmental Court’s ruling was approved in August 2003. At the beginning of March 2005 the processing plant was ready to start production. The company submitted an application for a new environmental permit in June 2010 for underground operations.
THE SVARTLIDEN MINE— Today
Dragon Mining Sweden AB
The goldmine is operated by Dragon Mining Sweden AB, 80% owned by Dragon Mining LTD. The Svartliden Mine is like other Swedish Mines, safe and efficient. The operations yearly aim is to achieve zero workplace accidents.
The company has approximately 55 employees, but also employs an additional 60 people through contractors. Gold production in 2011 was 31 748 tr oz (987kg). 2011 sales were over SEK 300 million.
The Open Pit
Gold ore is currently mined from an open pit that is designed to be over 1 kilometer long, 200 meters wide and 110 meters deep. The open pit has been in production since late 2004, with a total of 2 million tons of ore and 13 million tons of waste rock mined. Currently, the open pit is operating 7 days a week, blasting and transporting some 75,000 tons of rock every week.
Ore from the mine passes through a 3-stage crushing plant, before being fed into the processing plant where the ore is ground in a ball mill to a size of 120 microns and leached with cyanide to extract the gold. The gold is then adsorbed onto activated carbon. The activated carbon is fed to an elution process in which gold is adsorbed on to steel wool cathodes. The cathodes are heated in an oven with air to remove the steel and the gold is then cast into doré bars. The leaching process is continuous and processing plant has an utilization of 97,7%.
Dragon Mining strives to have as little environmental impact as possible. Operational emissions and impact is controlled through sampling and measuring, such as water sampling at several different points in the surrounding waterways. These measurements are reported continuously to the County Administration Board. Once mining operations have ceased, a restoration program will be implemented.
Impact on the Community
Opening the Svartliden mine has meant an upswing for the regional labor market. The mine has created direct jobs for approximately 115 people in the area. It has also indirectly created a number of job opportunities for local independent contractors. The economic growth stimulated by the Svartliden mine has considerably improved the conditions for local transport companies, construction companies, service companies, and stores.
THE SVARTLIDEN MINE — In the Future
Underground mining will begin in the middle of 2011. A Swedish excavation contractor has been awarded the excavation and mining work, which includes over 3.000 m of drifting and mining of 450.000 ton of ore in 1st underground phase. A local earth moving company will muck and haul ore and waste rock. The planned monthly mining capacity is 30.000 ton.