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Feb 3, 2017

Improving productivity at Boliden Harjavalta

An Outotec Plant Performance Assessment helped the Boliden Harjavalta copper smelter and refinery to identify potential for improving plant productivity after a major change in its operations strategy.
Boliden Harjavalta

In early 2016, Boliden Harjavalta insourced maintenance after 15 years of outsourcing. When preparing for this major change, the company understood that it had to improve cooperation between operations and maintenance. The Outotec Plant Performance Assessment was the right tool to help achieve this goal. They needed a partner who understood their business and who could support them in achieving continuous improvement in specific areas. The assessment provided a comprehensive analysis of the as-is situation and an understanding of the benefits achievable through improvements in operation and maintenance practices.

The assessment has already paid for itself in the early phases of the process by giving us a better understanding of our process procedures.

Focus on continuous improvement

Boliden Harjavalta is a smelter and refi nery in western Finland that processes copper and nickel. Its main products are copper cathodes, nickel matte, gold, and silver. The plant also produces sulfuric acid as a by-product. Boliden Harjavalta has a long history, with operations dating back to 1936. In 1949, a revolutionary new energy-effi cient fl ash smelting method for copper concentrates was developed and introduced at Harjavalta. One of the plant’s key advantages is that it can process ore containing higher impurity levels than its competitors. Continuous improvement is an important strategy at Boliden Harjavalta and it has been a driver for change in operations and maintenance strategy and practices.

Boliden Harjavalta

Development proposals to support productivity

To gain a clearer picture of the current situation and potential for improvement, Boliden Harjavalta engaged Outotec to carry out a plant performance assessment. The assessment is a unique tool based on Outotec’s extensive process experience and includes benchmarking against an industry-wide database. Conducted by Outotec’s experienced team of experts, the assessment provides a comprehensive picture of the as-is situation in terms of the plant operations and a clear understanding of maintenance development issues. The key objective is to help identify cost-efficient ways to improve operations and productivity.

“This has been a very informative and educational process for us,” says Timo Lehtinen, Production Operation and Maintenance Director at Boliden. “The assessment has already paid for itself in the early phases of the process by giving us a better understanding of our process procedures. We look forward to deeper cooperation with Outotec,” he continues.

*Metso Outotec was formed July 1, 2020 when Metso and Outotec merged into one company. This case study has been written prior to the merger under the old company name.

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