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A century of exploration and innovation

We have 100 years behind us, but many more ahead.

Metals have always played an important part in our lives.

For a century, Boliden has found and refined metals that have shaped today's society. By working together towards a common goal, grand designs have been realised and important discoveries have enabled communities to grow. 

With care, courage and responsibility, we will continue to provide the metals needed to improve society for generations to come.

We have 100 years of exploration and innovation behind us, but many more ahead.


After the pandemic in 2020, Boliden continued to make several investments in its operations also including the opening of the underground repository in Rönnskär, projects to develop the Rävliden deposit, and the expansion of the Odda smelter.


Boliden celebrates 100 years!


Low-Carbon Sulphuric Acid, Low-Carbon Lead and Recycled Lead are launched as the third and fourth introductions in the Green Transition Metals portfolio.

The first sustainability park is launched in Aitik.

Rönnskär's tank house is destroyed by fire.


Low-Carbon Zinc and Recycled Zinc, the next Green Transition Metals in the portfolio are launched.

Rönnskär's underground repository opens with the first long-term waste deposits made.

Decision made to adjust the dam construction in Aitik.


Low-Carbon Copper and Recycled Copper, the first Green Transition Metals are launched.

The Green Zinc Odda 4.0 expansion begins.


The move to Stockholm, some well-thought-out acquisitions and good profitability at several units now start to have an effect. Boliden invests in several expansions and opens the Boliden Area’s fifth gold mine, and more.


Boliden acquired the Kevitsa open-pit copper and nickel mine in northern Finland.


A record expansion of the Garpenberg mine was inaugurated in 2014. This increases production and makes the mining area one of the most modern in the world.


At the turn of the millennium, the crisis facing the company is at its peak. The move to Toronto, low metal prices, the tailings dam disaster in Los Frailes and a general distrust of the mining industry had put Boliden in a precarious position. But the situation would soon turn.


Meanwhile, a new business philosophy was taking shape. The New Boliden Way (NBW) ­– based on the principles of “lean” management – means that together we develop continuous improvements and stable processes. It shows us what we should expect of one another as co-workers and leaders.


In a major deal with Finland’s Outokumpu, Boliden acquires the Harjavalta, Kokkola and Odda smelting plants and the Tara zinc mine, and a new group was formed. The following year, the Myra Falls mine is sold off, along with all the shares in North Atlantic Natural Resources, which had not met expectations.


In the early 2000s, Boliden’s head office is moved back to Sweden, and the share is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange’s ‘O list’. Carl Bennet, at that time a board member, is one of the people to thank for Boliden’s rescue.


The mining industry is an industry that tends to have its ups and downs. High peaks are quickly followed by deep troughs, and the setbacks suffered by Boliden in the 1990s are proof of that.


Two years after the move to Toronto, a group-wide restructuring begins, which means, among other things, that the company is again listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.


Following the move to Canada, Boliden Limited acquires the Westmin mining company, and with it, the complex ore mine Myra Falls in Canada and a copper project in Chile.


Trelleborg AB decides to divest Boliden’s mines, smelting plants, manufacturing facilities and services. The new company – Boliden Limited – establishes its head office in Toronto the following year.

It was hoped that the move to Toronto would make Boliden an international mining operator. Instead, it turned out to be a move that led to in the greatest crisis in the company’s history.


New owners take over the company, and Boliden starts acquiring a number of companies in Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden, among others. A joint venture with Germany’s Pressaug also leads to extraction efforts in Saudi Arabia under the management of Boliden.


In Kevitsa, a discovery is made that will prove to be the largest ever ore deposit in Finland. The ore body contains primarily copper, gold, platinum and palladium.


The Swedish conglomerate Trelleborg AB starts to acquire shares in Boliden, which is soon wholly owned by the company. This is the initial step in a process that a few years later will lead to a tumultuous period, and a number of major restructurings.


Boliden acquires Arv. Andersson to supply electronic scrap and computer waste for recycling in the Kaldo furnace at Rönnskär. In the same year, Boliden Contech is founded to market and sell Boliden’s technology.


In the early 1970s, the company grows through joint ventures and new acquisitions. These acquisitions will lead to innovations that today make Boliden a major player in recycling.


Four Irishmen get involved in Canadian uranium prospecting and form the Tara Exploration and Development Company. A few years later in Ireland a zinc/lead deposit is discovered that will turn out to be Europe’s largest. 


Boliden acquires Paul Bergsöe & Son A/S, which first opened its doors in Copenhagen in 1902. At that time, the company recycled tin. Today Boliden Bergsöe AB is located in Landskrona, Sweden, and recycles lead from car batteries.


Boliden launches the Kaldo furnace in the mid-1970s and inaugurates the world’s first lead Kaldo plant at Rönnskär.


Successes continue during the 1960s with deposits discovered at Udden and Näsliden outside Boliden. Chemical production also grows in significance, and Boliden starts producing sulfuric acid through its subsidiary Supra.


The Finnish economy is experiencing a boom, and in Kokkola, on the west coast of Finland, the mining company Outokumpu opens a zinc smelting plant. Over the years, this plant will become the second largest in Europe.


The Aitik open pit outside Gällivare is commissioned and over the years expands to become one of Europe’s largest copper mines. Many years later, it will play an important role in rescuing the company from a major crisis.


At the start of the 1950s, there is still some anxiety following the war, but it soon becomes clear that a period of success has arrived. The decade is characterized by a successful acquisition for Boliden.


Boliden acquires Zinkgruvor AB with mines in central Sweden, including Garpenberg and Saxberget. The former is now one of the world’s oldest mines in operation, with a history reaching to back when mining started as early as 375 BC with continuous mining from 400 AD.


In order to transport ore between a mine in Långsele and the concentrator in Boliden, an underground railway is built. At the time, it is the world’s deepest electric railway for ore transportation.


The Second World War breaks out, with an inevitable impact on Europe and the world. In northern Sweden and Finland as well. A lack of resources and other effects of the war create major challenges for both production and transport.


After the war, the price of electricity in Finland shoots up. Metallurgists in Harjavalta then get an idea – to utilize the natural heat that is generated by iron and copper sulfides to heat the concentrate. This is the innovation we now call flash smelting. 

July 1944

The head of Finland’s wartime economy issues orders to move the Imatra smelting plant west, away from the war. It takes 200 Russian prisoners of war and 30 able-bodied psychiatric patients six months to move the factory to Harjavalta.

Summer 1943

A shortage of oil and rubber complicates truck transports and forces Boliden to find alternatives. The world’s longest cableway – 96 kilometers – starts moving concentrate from Kristineberg to Boliden in 1943.


The mine in Boliden has opened, which has a ripple effect. The Great Depression sweeps around the world, but in the area around Skellefteå, Boliden generates growth. Soon what is now the Boliden Group will start to take shape.


During the 1930s, industrialization is underway in Finland. The mining company Outokumpu opens six new plants, one of which is the Imatra electrical smelting plant. At the time, it is the largest of its type in the world.


Through a merger of Västerbottens Gruvaktiebolag and Skellefteå Gruvaktiebolag, Bolidens Gruvaktiebolag is formed – the basis for what today is the Boliden Group.

Rönnskär 1930

On the coast outside the community of Skelleftehamn, there is access to railways, electricity and manpower. A good location for a new smelting plant. The islands of Hamnskär and Rönnskär are joined to each other and the mainland, and in 1930, the smelting plant is ready for operation.


It’s hard to say when Boliden’s history begins. Today we know that Garpenberg's history dates back to 375 BC when mining began in the area, while Bergsöe’s history extends to 1902. As for the Boliden Group, that story starts in 1924, when gold fever gripped northern Sweden.


The Norwegian company Det Norske Zinkkompani opens a smelting plant in the community of Odda, in Norway. This location is selected in part because there is good access to electricity. Once production starts, the community expands from 800 to 10,000 inhabitants.

May 1925

Centralgruppens Emissionsbolag, which at the time owned the ore body in Boliden, is taken over by the bank that originally financed the business. The bank eventually forms Västerbottens Gruvaktiebolag (the Västerbotten Mining Company) and Skellefteå Gruvaktiebolag (the Skellefteå Mining Company).

December 1924

It’s a cold December day. At Fågelmyran the sound drilling stops, and instead a cry of joy can be heard. The ore body discovered in that moment would soon become the Boliden mine, and eventually Europe’s largest and richest gold mine.

“What on earth... Good heavens, it’s pure gold!”


Boliden Head Office

Boliden Group
Klarabergsviadukten 90
P.O. Box 44, SE-101 20 Stockholm
Tel: + 46 8 610 15 00
Fax: + 46 8 654 80 90