Tulikivi Oyj has completed the project “Study on the geology and geotechnical engineering of the Haaponen deposit and the usability of the mineral for the manufacture of selected products on an industrial scale”, for which it has received a business development grant from the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Northern Ostrobothnia. The grant has been awarded from the European Regional Development Fund’s Sustainable Growth and Employment 2014-2020 – Finland’s Structural Funds program. The grant received has been very significant in moving the project forward.
The project was carried out to promote the industrial utilization of the talc deposit in the Haaponen area of Tulikivi in Suomussalmi. In the project, the 3D model of the deposit was updated and the geotechnical properties of the bedrock in the area were studied as a basis for mine planning. Based on these works, the updated JORC-compliant mineral resource estimate increased by approximately 10 million tons to 22.3 million tons, including an average of 44.4% talc.
The suitability of talc ore for industrial utilization was verified by Metso’s flotation and filtration tests and by preliminary design of the concentrator based on the results, which also included consideration of tailings filtration and water purification needs. During the preliminary design, the flow diagram of the enrichment process was confirmed and the necessary equipment was pre-selected and preliminary dimensioning was carried out. Based on it, the energy needs of the process and the consumption of consumables can be estimated. The “locked cycle” enrichment tests simulated a production-scale process, and based on them, Haaponen’s talc ore can be used to produce high-quality talc concentrate with good yield.
The talcum concentrate obtained from the flotation tests was used to produce jet-milled talc products. The concentrate was ground to three different particle size distribution, with average particle sizes ranging from about 2.5 microns to 5 microns. As expected, the brightness of the milled product increased along with the fineness, and talc retained its lamellarity.
The logistics of talc concentrate within the mining area and supply chain of the talc concentrate to the market were investigated. An operating method that achieves both an economically viable and environmentally sustainable supply chain was defined.
Based on the results of the project, the Company continues to advance the project towards the production phase.