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Enabling natural resources to be used more sustainably

Outotec’s advanced technology helps its customers produce more end-product for a lower level of energy or resource input, while generating less waste and lower life-time operating costs. Its pioneering technologies help reduce water, energy, and raw material consumption and cut emissions and waste levels.

Outotec has been an innovator in minerals and metals processing technologies for around a century, and its expertise has also proved valuable in areas such as chemicals, fertilisers, energy, and industrial water treatment.

The company’s technological leadership is based on expertise stretching across the entire processing chain, from ore to refined metal, and incorporates extensive know-how that has made more efficient and environmentally sound production possible.

As Outotec’s solutions are typically expected to last for decades, they are designed to have as low an environmental footprint as possible from the very start. In addition to process and energy efficiency and overall sustainability, high standards of performance in areas such as reliability, availability, maintainability, and safety are also prioritised.

The limited availability of water at many mining sites has made water-related technology a key focus area for Outotec, and the company has developed numerous solutions for reducing the amount of water required in processes by increasing water recycling and cutting wastewater levels.

Global expertise

The common denominator in all of Outotec’s technologies is their ability to save energy, natural resources, and capital, often all at the same time. Environmental priorities are integrated into Outotec’s processes from the start rather than being bolted on as an afterthought.
Simply developing and supplying advanced technology is not enough to ensure the sustainability of a customer’s project, however, which is why Outotec offers a wide range of expertise – ranging from feasibility studies, conceptual engineering, and process and plant engineering to equipment design and supply, and turnkey plant deliveries.

Outotec and its experts work with customers for years after plants have been commissioned to ensure that they continue to run smoothly, providing know-how in areas such as plant audits, optimisation, upgrades, maintenance, and training.

And when a plant comes to the end of its useful life, Outotec can also help with shutting it down and repurposing the site for subsequent use.

“Outotec’s pioneering solutions help cut water, energy, and raw material consumption and reduce emissions and waste.”

A pioneer

Dozens of Outotec technologies have become industry benchmarks, including its revolutionary flash smelting and flash converting technologies for sulphidic copper ore

  • The majority of the world’s iron ore pellets, half of the world’s primary copper, and a third of the nickel sourced from sulphide ores are produced using Outotec processes
  • Over 76% of Outotec’s technologies can be classified as environmental goods and services (EGS) under OECD criteria
  • Key areas of expertise include concentration, filtration, solid-state material metallurgy, pyrometallurgy, hydrometallurgy, and gas handling. Outotec also has extensive know-how in material technology, plant and equipment engineering, equipment and process automation, and managing major international projects as turnkey deliveries
  • Two in-house research centres, state-of-theart laboratories, and extensive test facilities are located in Finland and Germany.

Less energy needed for grinding

Outotec’s new Turbo Pulp Lifter™ offers increased output and capacity combined with significantly lower energy consumption, higher availability, and lower operating costs.
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Grinding processes typically consume large amounts of energy, making them the largest single cost item in mineral processing. Outotec’s latest solution to this challenge is the Turbo Pulp Lifter™ (TPL), designed to provide optimum grinding efficiency and maximum capacity, while using much less energy.

Conventional grinding mills waste massive amounts of energy, as only 5-10 % of the energy they consume is actually used to break up particles. Avoiding over-grinding, therefore, represents a major priority, and TPL technology achieves this by ensuring a very efficient transfer of material inside and outside the mill.

TPL allows product-size particles to pass more quickly through the discharge grate, reducing the amount of material in a mill and cutting the power it draws. This results in a lower proportional power requirement and substantial energy savings compared to a conventional mill.

Retrofitting an AG/SAG/Ball mill with TPL technology can make a big difference to plant efficiency, offering up to a 20% increase in mill capacity and around a 20% reduction in energy consumption per tonne.

One of the first sites to benefit from the new technology has been Cortez Gold Mines in Nevada, where the modernisation of the site’s SAG mill has improved throughput and overall reliability, and delivered major power savings, together with a valuable reduction in annual CO2 emissions.

> Kari Knuutila
(Published in HighTech Finland 2011)