Reducing waste and enhancing profitability
Boliden Smelters is actively working to reduce waste and improve profitability by identifying opportunities to convert waste into valuable products.
Following a review of its Smelter strategy in 2014, Boliden analysed how it could enhance profitability and reduce waste in its Smelter Business Area. A mass balance study was first conducted, which mapped smelter flows, intermediate products and waste that was currently sent to landfill to establish which substances were in circulation, how waste could be reduced and how more products could be extracted.
The study concluded that Boliden could extract more metals and products by utilising synergies between its five smelters, which could also increase profitability and reduce waste. "Our ambition is to use these synergies to maximise the number of valuable products and at the same time minimise the amount of waste we produce," says Ing-Marie Andersson Drugge, Director of Strategy and Technology at Boliden Smelters.
Boliden´s action plan
Boliden has formed a team of experts that represent each site, to exploit synergies between Boliden's smelters by taking a holistic perspective and developing an action plan to identify opportunities to improve profitability and reduce waste.
The action plan comprises of a variety of ongoing initiatives that review current smelter production facility footprints and projects that aim to reduce smelter waste. The plan also manages a large number of potential concept projects that may become future projects to reduce waste. The smelter business management team acts as the action plan's steering group to manage the process.
The action plan will result in a steady stream of initiatives that contribute towards more efficient smelter operations in terms of cost and capabilities to process complex substances and materials today considered as impurities. Such initiatives are expected to contribute toward Boliden's sustainability and profitability objectives.
Kokkola silver recovery: promoting profitability and environmental benefit
Since the second half of 2014, the Kokkola zinc smelter has been recovering silver from zinc concentrate. The new process allows the smelter to extract more metals from the same amount of raw material, which increases the number of valuable products and reduces the amount of waste.
The recovery project goal is an annual production of around 25 000 tonnes of silver concentrate. The aim is to refine the silver concentrate into pure silver at other Boliden smelters.
The silver recovery project illustrates how synergies between Boliden's smelters can ensure that impurities at one facility can become a valuable raw material for another.