This adventure begins in Finland. How did I get here, you may ask? Since I live and work in Porto, Portugal. After graduating from my Master’s Degree in Mining Engineering at FEUP, having completed a Bachelor’s in that same area before that, I quickly found myself wanting to expand my horizons. As many of you may know, in university/school, there is a heavy theoretical component associated with the teaching process. And, in my opinion, not enough attention is given to the practical part that intrinsically comes with this career.
I realized that the part of this profession that I love most is being on the field and seeing how it is done. I saw an opportunity to challenge myself by traveling to Finland for 3 weeks and visiting two major operations in the country’s northern region: the Kemi mine - pictured - and the Kevitsa mine.
These operations are run by Outokumpu and Boliden, respectively. I started by visiting the Kemi mine, in which I spent most of my time. Here I was mentored by Jukka Aho. During this visit, I saw several methods that I had only seen virtually through learning materials come to life such as up-hole charging, production charging and face charging.
It was so important to understand the challenges faced and the techniques used to overcome them from the perspective of the field technicians. One thing is for certain, the plan is followed as much as possible. However, it was quite interesting to see the different reasons for occasionally slightly deviating from the plan. Even though they are drafted taking into consideration all different parameters that involve the whole production cycle, Nature is unpredictable and one profession where that is definitely true is this one. If we analyze a little bit better, for underground mines, there is an added pressure. Both literally and figuratively.
To better comprehend the thinking behind the planning, I had the pleasure to meet the planners here who explained to me what they need to consider on their day-to-day work. A particularly special part of this visit for me was to be able to accompany a small part of the build of the new Emulsion Charging Module (ECM3) – pictured. This module is the next generation when it comes to emulsion charging and was successfully tested at the Kemi mine, just a few weeks after my return to Porto.
PowerBI Charging reports
With this visit, I was able to get a good overview of how drilling and blasting is planned and executed at the Kemi mine.
While still in Finland, I also got the opportunity to visit the Kevitsa mine and see the same steps applied to open-pit conditions. Here, I got to check out how the charging process is monitored with O-PitOperations – pictured.
This system allows for data collection regarding all stages: planning, drilling, priming, charging, stemming, connecting and blasting. Amazing!
During this visit, I also met with Kevitsa’s planners and O-Pitblast users as part of O-Pitblast’s commitment to customer support. These kinds of interactions are essential to ensure our clients are making the most of what we have to offer.
This visit to the Kevitsa mine took place during the last week of my stay in Lapland.
In my spare time, I got to experience so many incredible moments: saw reindeer from afar, Northern Lights and got to meet such lovely people, in a town covered with snow and good times. I even got to meet Santa!
At last, 3 weeks had gone by, and I could have not enjoyed it more and been more grateful for this sensational beginning of 2022.
Check all the wonders you get to experience there:
More adventures to come, stay tuned for part 2!
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