How the Aitik mine was saved in three days

ABB saves the day

Boliden's Aitik Mine, the world's most productive opencast copper mine, suffered a leak and flooding. The pumps that pump the water were suddenly themselves submerged. The mine risked being idle for several weeks. As Boliden has a service agreement with ABB, service engineers were on site very quickly and worked round the clock. As soon as the water was drained off, they started work loading the motors for shipment down to Luleå and then install the back up motor. Even though the works could not be operated with just one motor, when it was started it would enable Boliden to gain access to the important fire prevention and rinsing water.

The ABB workshop in Luleå feared it could take up to ten days to service the motors. But then they took a calculated risk and shipped one of the motors back up to Aitik in Gällivare. The ABB service engineers got it going manually, in a very slow and controlled way. After an hour or so, it started to switch on a bit more. Everything was OK.”

Just over 72 hours after the original alarm, and 48 hours ahead of the most optimistic forecast – Boliden Aitik was back on full power. Had Boliden and ABB not had such a close partnership – not least geographically – it would have taken far longer.

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