After an eventful day at the Epiroc facility, we got the opportunity to visit the Zinkgruvan Mine, owned by Lundin Mining. The Zinkgruvan Mine is an underground mine that has been in operation for over 160 years ! Even more interesting, we were the first Canadian mining school to visit it!
The day started off with an informational presentation by the GM of the mine, Agne Ahlenius where we learnt about the history of the Zinkgruvan deposit as well as the mining method, and mineral processing currently employed at the mine.
After the introduction, the communications and CSR manager MS. Monika Andersson, gave the group an introduction to the Swedish mining industry as a whole and talked about the interesting opportunities and challenges the region presents.
The group was then split into 2 , one that went underground and the other that went to the mill.
The mill tour started with the group being introduced to the hoisting and conveyor systems employed by the mine, followed by a tour around the comminution circuit , including the awesome autogenous mill. We then got the chance to see the control room ad marvel at the complexity of the operation, after this we looked at the flotation circuit in use and the concentrate dewatering processes for the valuable zinc and lead concentrates.
We finally got a run through of the thickening process used to create the paste backfill and cement blending process, after which we were shown a sample of the cured backfill at the metallurgists lab.
The underground tour was really fascinating as this was one of the first time's some of the students have been underground before! The tour was informative, from learning about the current exploration work to the current mining methods in different areas like long-hole stoping, transverse mining, and cut & fill, the experience was invaluable. Lundin Mining was very generous in hosting us as they drove us around underground, showing us production faces, refuge stations, and general information about the standard operating procedure at the mines. It was a great learning experience for all of us!
Fun fact: As we took the underground tour, our tour guide was actually from Canada who went to the University of Toronto and knew some of the UBC students from before. What are the chances of that in Sweden!
After this, a lunch was provided where had the opportunity to share our personal experiences on the tours! What a great way to start off the mine tours for the trip! A big thank you to Lundin Mining for hosting us!
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!