Base metals such as copper and zinc have a key role to play in those countries that are experiencing rapid increases in social welfare and affluence, in that they are essential to buildings, infrastructure, energy systems, automobiles and railways, computers and mobile phones. They are vital to virtually everything we do and an increase in the production of base metals is therefore a prerequisite of societal development in the world’s emerging economies. Metals are, however, unique in that they can be recycled over and over again by being smelted down and turned into new products. Boliden is currently one of the world’s leading recyclers of electronic materials and firmly believes that recycling will become an increasingly important source of metals, particularly in mature economies.
Boliden´s value chain
Meeting the demand for metals and securing Boliden's long-term growth requires extractable ore reserves, today and tomorrow. Exploration – the search for mineral deposits – is conducted both in the vicinity of existing mines and in new areas. Boliden's exploration focuses on deposits that contain zinc, copper and precious metals.
Boliden extracts ores from open-pit mines as well as underground mines. The ores extracted are transported to concentrators in the respective mining area, where they are processed into metal concentrates. The majority of zinc and copper concentrates are further refined into metals at Boliden's smelters. A certain volume of concentrates is sold to external customers.
Boliden's five smelters possess a high degree of process-technological expertise, flexible smelting processes and an ability to produce high-quality metals from complex mined concentrates and secondary raw materials. The smelters produce zinc ingots, copper cathodes, lead ingots and gold and silver granules, along with a number of by-products and small quantities of other metals.
The majority of Boliden's metals and other products are sold to industrial customers in Europe. Zinc is supplied to steel companies, amongst others, while copper is supplied to manufacturers of wire rod, copper rods and copper alloys. The automotive and construction industries are important end-consumers of base metals. Many of Boliden's byproducts are sold as raw materials to other industries.