Operations of a Low Grade Nickel Sulphide Mine, Nikkel og Olivin, Northern Norway

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1996
At the Nikkel og Olivin nickel mine near Narvik, Norway, Outokumpu has been the operator since 1993. The mine was opened in 1989 and in 1992 Outokumpu commenced operations to secure concentrate deliveries to Harjavalta's nickel smelter in Finland. Annual production is about 740 000 tonnes of nickel ore grading 0.5 per cent Ni, about 25 000 tonnes of nickel concentrate and about 2800 tonnes of nickel metal. All production comes from underground operations which makes Nikkel og Olivin AS perhaps the lowest grade underground nickel mine in the world today. Production is currently from one of two orebodies, which is known as the Western orebody. The Eastern orebody was worked out by 1995. During Outokumpu's operational period the Western orebody has been delineated and taken to production. The underground exploration and definition drilling involved about 15 000 in of diamond drilling, which was carried out during a nine-month period. Following this a feasibility study was undertaken and production commenced. Improvements were made to the mining methods. Previously the mine utilised open pit equipment underground and this resulted in an enormous amount of additional tunnelling. Grade control and ore delineation were previously based on sparse diamond drilling and all geological information was processed manually. The improvements included the use of underground sludge drilling to increase the amount of geological information, the of a new computer system for grade control and mine planning, new automated underground longhole drilling equipment and the of underground mining equipment which reduced the size of the drives. These changes produced a marked increase in the efficiency of the underground Mine.
Full Article Download:
(766 kb)