The green transition requires metals produced by Boliden
The green transition of society towards an environmentally sustainable economy and growth necessitates ending the use of oil and gas, among other things. This, in turn, will require a huge increase in renewable energy plants, such as solar and wind power. Before any of them can supply clean energy for our homes, cars or industry, a wide variety of metals are needed to manufacture them.
"From a European perspective, it is essential that sustainable development is not slowed down by a shortage of metals – in other words, that copper and other base metals do not become the 'new oil'. As much as 80% of Europe's metal needs are already imported. It is important that Europe has its own, responsibly managed mining industry and metal production," says Mikael Staffas, CEO of Boliden.
Boliden is one of the largest mining and smelter companies in Finland and Europe, producing zinc, copper, lead, nickel, gold and silver, among other metals.
Boliden is constantly investing in new technologies to ensure sustainable production in both its mining and further processing operations. For example, CO2 emissions will be reduced this decade by 40% from 2021 levels by electrifying mining machines and transport equipment, among other means. In connection with the expansion of nickel production at the Harjavalta smelter in 2021, CO2 emissions were cut by 20% per tonne produced. In Kokkola, zinc production already uses low-emission processes, and the majority, or 95%, of CO2 emissions come indirectly from the production of electrical energy.
"We have also developed low-carbon copper and zinc grades with a carbon footprint of only 28% to 38% of the global average. These grades currently account for just below a quarter of our production. Our goal is that by 2030, all our production will be low-carbon," Staffas explains.
The mining industry and further processing of metals are long-term operations that require major investments. In 2023, Boliden will invest a total of EUR 1.5 billion in its production operations.
"When we close down our operations in a mine, we restore the area to its natural state. We act sustainably in all our activities and finance all our operations ourselves, without subsidies from society. We are the largest taxpayer in our municipalities of operation in Finland," Staffas points out.