GeoVista forges links with transport providers to open up Swedish mining

By Siobhan Lismore-Scott
Published: Friday, 21 February 2014

GeoVista outlines importance of rail network in report; supports other companies such as Nordic Mining in Norway

GeoVista AB, a consultancy service based in Sweden, is working to develop a transport infrastructure in the country in order to open up the mining and minerals industry.

GeoVista has been looking specifically at the area between Kaunisvaara and Svappavaara in northern Sweden. It has compiled information describing the current situation and estimated future potential development of the mining and minerals industry on behalf of the Swedish Transport Administration.

“The global trend of increased demand for metals and minerals is an opportunity to create growth and economy in the regions with known mineral deposits or geological potential to develop them,” the company outlined in its report for the industry body.

“Assessments at national and international level are that the mining and minerals industry is in strong growth, and demand will also remain at a high level for the foreseeable future,” the report added.

The report outlines Sweden’s strong position in its established markets of iron ore, but also adds that the country could move to develop its quarries and other mines, especially in the north.

The report is to form the basis for the Administration’s pre-feasibility study for an alternative railway between Kaunisvaara and Svappavaara to better manage increased yield generated by the mines in the surrounding area.

“An advantage of building a rail network between Kaunisvaara and Svappavaara is, primarily, to provide better transport facilities for already existing mines. However, introducing location of potential mineral deposits to the planning process will add a huge benefit for the development of additional minerals and mining industry in the region,” GeoVista said.

A new railway would also open up the possibility of extracting and refining industrial minerals and transporting them to and from harbours at the Bothnian Bay or at the Norwegian coast (Narvik) and the economic potential of doing this should also be considered, GeoVista explained to IM.

In order to provide a picture of the area’s minerals capacity, in addition to known resources and reserves, classified by degree of knowledge and potential tonnage, GeoVista is also taking into consideration further potential deposits.

Five deposit clusters (Vittangi, Lannavaara, Masugnsbyn, Pajala in Sweden and Kolari, in Finland) were assessed within the study area for mineral resources as well as the volume of end products the extraction of the assets would yield.

“In addition to the vast iron ore deposits in the area, there is also potential for the extraction of around 600m tonnes of dolomite and limestone, possibly also extraction of quartzite and graphite would become of interest.” GeoVista told IM.

“The uncertainties that exist in the material relate especially to the [limestone and dolomite] carbonates. The potential of the carbonates is great but there are stringent requirements for product quality and the level of knowledge of the deposits is today too low,” GeoVista added. “Worth remembering is the importance of infrastructure in financing early stages of exploration and evaluation. If a decision is taken to commence construction of this railway in an area of high mineral potential, in a region of good mineral legislation and low political risk, this is an important signal to the financial markets,” GeoVista told IM.

“However, it is also important to remember that mineral resources in the region, whether known or potential, are not automatically transferred to mineral reserves to become an economic resource,” GeoVista stated.

“Deposits which are not currently being investigated or even encountered may well be those that within 10-20 years will result in new mines,” GeoVista added.

GeoVista has recently also updated a similar study covering the western part of the Barents region, that is northern Sweden, Finland and Norway as well as northwest Russia. The study that is primarily based on the Fennoscandian Ore Deposit Database (FODD) (see page 53), which will be public in March 2014.

High purity quartz in Norway

In January 2013 Nordic Mining was able to publish a report which indicated it could produce 5,000 tpa high purity quartz (HPQ) over 30 years from its Kvinnherad (Nesodden) deposit in Norway. The report was put together using a geophysical magnetic survey carried out by GeoVista in 2012.

The impurities in the raw quartz average approximately 42 ppm which will need to be purified to less than 30 ppm or a grade of 99.997% silicon dioxide (SiO2) to be considered high purity.

“It has been shown that it is technically feasible to mine the deposit and that high grade/high value products can be achieved by processing the quartz,” said Nordic CEO Ivar Fossum.

The deposit requires further drilling for either JORC or NI 43-101 guidelines to be applicable. However, the most recent deposit size estimate was given in 2011 indicating a minimum tonnage of 1.2m tonnes massive high grade (>90%) quartz and 0.77m tonnes quartz in the surrounding areas with a lower yield. The magnetic survey carried out also gives confidence in a sizable quartz deposit stretching below the surface.

A larger depth continuation than what is indicated by surface mapping seems to be present.

The scoping study outlined that the deposit would require $50m investments and “assigning total mining operating and transport (...) the rate per tonne is estimated to vary between $19.5 (strip ratio 2.2) and $25 (complication due to geology) per tonne.”

“We will be putting every effort into advancing project development in the coming year. Initially, the focus will be on commercial issues that put the emphasis on markets and customers,” Fossum stated.