Controlled mining operations require proactivity

From an environmental viewpoint, well-managed mining operations require a proactive approach that looks beyond the coming season and year. We believe that efficient mining operations are the best way to avoid environmental risks.

Terrafame has an open and professional collaboration with environmental authorities. We communicate openly and conversationally also with our close neighbours in the mine and plant area in accordance with our principle of good neighbourly relations.

During its period of operation, Terrafame has kept the environmental situation at the mine under control. In 2016, there have been no major leaks or other environmental incidents in the area.

We ensure environmental safety      

The biggest environmental risk of Terrafame’s mine is posed by the circulating solution of the bioleaching process, which must be kept under control in all circumstances. The heat produced by the new leaching heaps, which have been built during Terrafame’s operations, has prevented the freezing of the heaps and the circulating solution piping even during very cold frosts. At the same time, the solution directed to the metals production plant has remained warm, which has enabled the metals production plant to operate at a good efficiency level regarding the use of chemicals. During 2016, the solution circulation has also stayed well under control. We have succeeded in maintaining the amount of solution circulating in the process at a safe level, the back-up ponds are empty, and about 2.5 million cubic metres of water has been directed to the solution circulation due to strong evaporation from the bioleaching heaps. With the replacement water (RO plant reject and water from the pit), we have been able to bind a significant amount of sulphate into the bioleaching.

In January–April 2016, water was directed to the old discharge routes under the valid permit. However, this was not enough to ensure that the spring melt waters would fit in the storage ponds. As a result, Terrafame had to perform additional discharges in April–May 2016. Due to the additional discharges, the 2016 loading quotas for sulphate and sodium were exceeded on the old discharge routes.

The annual environmental monitoring reports are available on our website.

Key environmental aspects

The key environmental aspects of Terrafame’s mine are water management and water emissions, odour emissions from the recovery of metals as well as noise, dust and vibration caused by mining operations. The following table shows the most important environmental aspects, their impacts and our responsibilities.