Panel Builder System Integrator

January 13, 2021

Just two years after Kaunis Iron started production of iron ore in Kaunisvaara, the company is planning a new open pit mine. An important part of that plan is SmartROC D65 rigs – and an arrangement where the rigs are regularly serviced on site by Epiroc personnel.

The November sky is clear in Kaunisvaara, and the morning sun has lit up the north side of the mine. Half-way down into the mine, two SmartROC D65 drill rigs are working, and in front of them are two rows with sticks. They have been stuck into the ground, each in its own drill hole with yellow plastic tubing, which makes the hole easier to load. The sticks are marked with different colors; yellow means that cuttings have been taken, and blue means the hole is loaded.

A number of holes remain to be drilled before the blasting scheduled for tomorrow, but the work is proceeding as planned. During a break, drill operator Lars Mäkitalo shares some insight.

"One of the rigs is a SmartROC D65 XLF, and it has an extra long feed. We are drilling a 13.5-deep hole, and because the feed is as long as it is, one extension of the drill rod is sufficient. Otherwise, two extensions are needed, so we save a lot of time."

Lars Mäkitalo continues: “When drilling, we use a COP M6 hammer from Epiroc, and it works better than all the other hammers we have tried. It hits faster, drills quicker and is easier to handle.”

We are in Kaunisvaara, just outside of Pajala in the northernmost region of Sweden, just ten kilometers from the Finnish border. There is a long tradition of mining and metalworking in the region, and in 2012 a mine was opened here under the management of Northland Resources. The activities were shut down after just two years, but were resumed in the summer of 2018, this time by the newly established Kaunis Iron. In a short time, the company has become quite profitable through its production of magnetite, a kind of iron ore. One explanation is the rising prices of raw materials; another is efficient operations.

Source

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