Boliden is a Nordic company that focuses on mining and smelting metals. Boliden’s main products are zinc and copper, but nickel, lead, silver, and gold are also important parts of its production.
The company has four sites in Finland, and the zinc smelter in Kokkola is the second largest in Europe. Boliden Kokkola is also the biggest industrial employer in the town. Zinc produced in Kokkola is mainly exported to Central Europe and used to protect steel from corrosion.
“Zinc is a part of our modern life,” says the General Manager of Boliden Kokkola, Jarmo Herronen. “It’s used in all kinds of applications from cars to appliances.”
Boliden Kokkola emphasises safety and sustainability in all areas of business. In fact, their main product zinc plays an important part in sustainable development.
“It expands the life cycle of steel products and therefore also contributes to sustainable development,” Herronen says.
Thanks to process development and production stability, Boliden Kokkola is world class in terms of low emissions and energy efficiency. Advanced infrastructure also benefits the smelter.
“Our carbon footprint is smaller than average, because the Nordic countries use a lot of renewable energy in electric power generation.”
The aim to reduce environmental impact is also seen on a smaller scale in each working day. Boliden Kokkola is able to recycle more than 90 per cent of the community waste it produces.
In addition to zinc lengthening the lifespan of steel products, metals can be reused once the appliances are recycled.
“Metals can circulate forever,” Herronen says. “A recycled zinc atom is as good as a recently mined one.”
General Manager Jarmo Herronen explains that with the zinc smelter turning fifty in 2019, Boliden Kokkola has a long history in material efficiency.
“Large-scale industry in Kokkola has utilised the by-products of zinc production all those decades,” Herronen says.
Boliden uses recycled zinc and copper as raw material in production. Copper residue and silver concentrate, the most important metallic by-products of Boliden Kokkola’s zinc production, are utilised in other smelters.
Continuous development is an important part of Boliden Kokkola and Herronen says that the company is investing in research to develop even better solutions for circular economy and metal recycling.
“We see and feel the value of sustainable development.”