Volvo Penta powers loaders in the mining industry

Did you know that a thin layer of zinc can protect steel against corrosion for over 50 years? Zinc, gold, silver and copper are a few of the metals produced at the Boliden Kristineberg Mine. To be able to maintain a high ore production and live up to current market demands, the Boliden Kristineberg Mine places great faith in its equipment. In this blog article, I will outline why professionals in the Boliden Kristineberg Mine consider Volvo Penta’s engines are a great fit for the mining industry.

The mine in Kristineberg is the oldest mine in the Boliden area
The mine in Kristineberg is owned by Boliden and is one of four mines located in the Boliden area. It is the oldest mine in operation in the area today, and employs some 200 people. The Boliden Kristineberg Mine mainly produces zinc but also gold, silver and copper. The zinc is primarily used for corrosion protection in the automotive industry. The mine has an ore production of around 670 000 tonnes a year, which is delivered to an ore processing plant. After the metal has been extracted, it is delivered to customers worldwide.

A complex work process underground puts high demands on the equipment
The mining process in the Boliden Kristineberg Mine consists of several steps. The first step is to drill multiple holes into a whole wall at the end of the tunnel, and load the holes with explosives. After the blasting, which is conducted on a 1000-metre level and down, several safety precautions follow. They include removing loose rocks and fixating smaller stones by spraying the walls with concrete. Reinforcing bolts are also used to secure the walls. The loader working closest to the blast site transports all loose ore from the blast site to an unloading site. From there, the ore is loaded on trucks transporting it to a stone crusher, operating on a 600-metre level.

After the ore has been processed in the stone crusher, a hoist transports the ore to a 130-metre level, where conveyors continue the transportation up to ground level. Multiple blastings are done three times a day, in several locations in the mine. The goal is to conduct 50 blastings every week.

High uptime and preventive maintenance at the top of the agenda
Safety always comes first in the mining industry. After safety, high uptime is a top priority. Therefore, there is a high focus on preventive maintenance to minimise downtime and reduce costs. The preventive maintenance on the Volvo Penta powered loaders is conducted in different steps. The first step is calendar based, which for a loader means a light service every second week. The following steps are based on the engine’s operating hours, where the service includes for example oil change and a review of shafts and hydraulics.

“Due to the extreme conditions there is heavy wear on the equipment. Volvo Penta’s engines have high uptime, which is really good. Also, their engine designs are spot on. Therefore, we feel safe working with Volvo Penta engines. Our oldest active loader has been operating for 16 000 hours with the same engine and it still works like a charm, says Jonas Dahlberg, responsible for vehicle maintenance at the Boliden Kristineberg Mine.” 

Reliable engine performance is required for a smooth production chain
Downtime in the mining business can lead to huge economic losses. Therefore, it is crucial that all parts of the production chain run smoothly. To maintain high uptime, the professionals at Boliden Kristineberg are completely dependent on the loaders’ performances. There is a limited number of loaders operating in the mine, which is why all loaders must work flawlessly.

“Our robust loaders working closest to the production face are powered by Volvo Penta. We have a great cooperation with Volvo Penta through their service dealer Lycksele Elmaskin. With their expertise and Volvo Penta’s spare parts, our loaders maintain high uptime. It is really important that we receive quick and high-quality service. Therefore, we value closeness to our partners. Since Volvo Penta is represented through their service dealers, we feel safe knowing that service and spare parts are always close at hand,says Jonas Dahlberg, responsible for vehicle maintenance at the Boliden Kristineberg Mine.”

The environment is highly valued in the mining industry
The environmental aspect is a top priority in the mining business, for the sake of the operators as well as the environment. When purchasing new loaders, their engines must live up to Tier 4-final requirements.

“The Volvo Penta engine works really well. When we use remote loading, I spend a lot of time outside the machine where I am exposed to the exhaust fumes. I feel a big difference with the loaders using Volvo Penta engines, providing a cleaner air compared to machines with other engines,” says Stig-Ronny Andersson, loader operator at the Boliden Kristineberg Mine.

Volvo Penta delivers

Volvo Penta delivers durable and reliable engines to the mining industry
The future looks bright for the Boliden Kristineberg Mine with an increasing market demand for zinc and other metals. To maintain a profitable business, robust and reliable engines are of the essence. At Volvo Penta, we ensure that our service dealers have access to the right tools and equipment to deliver high-quality service and maintenance. We offer authorised dealers access to Volvo Penta’s Vodia, a digital diagnostic tool allowing them to connect directly to the engine’s control unit to access error codes, parameters and values for service and troubleshooting. Volvo Penta is proud to deliver durable engines with high uptime to Boliden, that enables them to deliver metals to customers worldwide.

I hope you gained some new knowledge about Volvo Penta’s involvement in the mining industry. Contact me if you have any questions. Also visit our website to learn more about our engines, our environmental mindset and much more. Keep an eye out for the next blog article that will go deeper into how engines operate in extreme environments, focusing on the mining industry. And don’t forget to visit us on social media.