MiNiNG · FoCus FInlAnd 2012 A NEW SOurCE OF THE MOST PrECiOuS OF METAlS iS BEiNg EXPlOiTED THrOugH FiNNiSH-SWEDiSH CO-OPErATiON iN A BElT OF ANCiENT BEDrOCk kNOWN AS THE kArEliAN gOlD liNE. TEXT fran Weaver PHOTOS vISItfInland.coM / anttI SaraJa and eIJa Irene HIltunen Gold in the eastern hills "We already have plans to open three smaller satellite mines along the Karelian Gold Line after 2013. Ore will be transported from these mines by truck to our processing facilities at Pampalo," he explains. "We aim to work in this location for decades similar ore formations in other regions of the world have been exploited for more than a century." liquid slurry made of milled ore, water, and chemicals. This is done to separate a gold-rich concentrate, which can be skimmed off the surface of the aerated slurry. The mine's unused ore tailings are being piled up in an adjoining area of 25 hectares which will eventually be landscaped and reforested. Many teMptInG proSpectS Endomines are also actively involved in current prospecting for exploitable deposits of gold and other valuable minerals in other parts of Finland. Ekberg believes there is a promising future ahead for mining in a country which is already among the leaders in Europe's mining and mining technology industries. International collaboration is becoming increasingly important as mining expands in Finland. "We've benefitted from having inputs of Swedish capital, on top of Finnish investments. Since the mid-nineties mining explorations and operations in Finland have become much more open to foreign companies," he points out. Future mineral prospecting explorations in Finland are likely to focus on an increasingly wide range of minerals, also including diamonds, uranium, platinum group metals, and strategically important rare earth elements used in high-tech applications. www.endomines.fi F inland's fifth gold mine, at Pampalo in Ilomantsi, just a few kilometres from the Finnish-Russian border, started commercial production in February 2011, when the first truckload of gold-rich concentrate left the mine owned by the Swedish firm Endomines for the Swedish mining and smelting company Boliden's smelter in southwest Finland. Pampalo plans to produce up to 900 kilos of gold per year. Surpassing this with another 100 kilos will rank Finland as Europe's largest gold producer. Mining operations at Pampalo are expected to continue for at least six to eight years. Endomines' CEO Markus ekberg stresses, however, that this represents only the beginning of the company's intentions to extract glittering gold from beneath the green forests of easternmost Finland. truly ancIent forMatIonS The Karelian Gold Line is a 40-kilometre stretch of the much longer Ilomantsi-Kostamuksha greenstone belt that runs beneath the borderlands of Finnish and Russian Karelia. Formed more than 2,750 million years ago, the bedrock in this region is among the oldest geological features anywhere in the world. The gold deposits at Pampalo are in the form of tiny grains mixed in with other minerals in three parallel lodes known to extend down at least 700 metres below the surface. "So far we've been extracting ore through a system of several kilometres of tunnels sloping down to a depth of 365 metres, and we believe we will be able to go considerably deeper still," says Ekberg. Today about 90 people are working at Pampalo. Facilities include ore crushing and grinding plants, as well as flotation cells where air is bubbled through 38
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