Near Finnish Kolari a new mine is planned which also needs a rail connection

Present Kolari Railway. Kolari central town has a railway connection to the south through the Kolari Line, which continues as an industrial track also a little to the north. There has been talking of extending the line to Ylläs, to mines on the Swedish side of the border, and - with Swedish gauge - to Svappavaara with a continued connection to Narvik. Photo: Wikipedia Common, credit: Teemu Vehkaoja

- Ore production is planned to start in 2026 and mining will then continue for 30 years. Rail connection from Sodankylä to Kolari and on to Svappavaara is important to us, Jaana Koivumaa from the mining company Hannukainen told the Arctic Infrastructure Event in Kiruna.

The Tapojärvi ore deposit located at the foot of Kolari was previously owned by Northland Resources which went bankrupt. The company also owned the deposit that Kaunis Iron currently operates.

- We will first start mining iron ore and then copper and gold. It is about 6-7 million tons per year, and 20,000-60,000 tons of copper is obtained per year, Koivumaa said.

Old railway

Good infrastructure is important in mining.

- The track between Kolari and Torneå is old and needs renovation. We also need a rail link from Kolari to Svappavaara, Koivumaa said.

A copper mine

Copperstone Resources logistics manager Thomas Nordmark emphasized Malmirada's importance to their company as well. Copperstone Resources begins mining copper at the former Viscaria mine near Kiruna.

- Our plan is to start mining in 2025/26. That means we need Malmirata for transport, so a daily ore train leaves us four days a week, he said.

Copperstone's planned production is 140,000 tonnes of copper concentrate and approximately 450,000 tonnes of iron ore.

Logistics challenges

Opening a new mine presents major logistical challenges, even though Copperstone considers itself a small operator compared to LKAB.

- Our capacity is only 2 percent of LKAB's production, but our production volume is 40 percent of Boliden's Aitik copper mine's volume, said Nordmark.

In Nordmark's opinion, cooperation in the use of Malmirata is important.

- For example, we can use each other's intermediate warehouses and rent train carriages from each other. We can put together a common pool of train drivers and use similar technology. These are some examples of cooperation opportunities, said Nordmark.

Source: Svenska yle