Harnessing the Potential of the North Effectively And Sustainably At The University Of Oulu

In addition to the ore potential, the geographical location of Oulu is well-suited to academic collaboration, and the University is a strong partner nationally and internationally in mining engineering and geosciences. 
The Oulu Mining School houses a globally unique beneficiation plant that services the needs of research, education and industry. This test refinery has coalesced into a one-of-a-kind brand for the University that attracts both Finnish and international st

Oulu is in extremely good standing in the mining engineering in terms of geographical location. Practically speaking, the entire European ore potential is located in the Nordic countries, with Finland having a significant share. For instance, the largest lithium deposit is in Kaustinen, and out of the 20 largest cobolt deposits, 14 are in Finland. 12 deposits are in Eastern and Northern Finland, where are also 80% of all of the metal and mineral deposits that have been discovered in Finland.

The meaning of collaboration

Arctic research is the bedrock of the University of Oulu in mining as well as other research areas. A substantial ore potential lies in the Arctic, but the environment also presents special challenges, such as social aspects. The demands set forth by sustainability require the full utilisation of ore in the Arctic as elsewhere, so that we are able to further develop battery technology or devices that use minimal energy. On the other hand, the mining and refining of ore has to be in a way that minimises environmental impact and is more efficient in terms of waste.

Green technology therefore needs the mining industry, but in the future transparency and social acceptance play a far bigger role in mining. The University of Oulu has carried out projects that have built strong stakeholder interaction, co-operation and communication. One way to cater to the needs of stakeholders is to create a neutral platform, where different parties can express their viewpoints. By taking into account the entire value chain, processes can be designed better from the start together with all the affected parties in a way that results in even more controlled and responsible mining projects.

Building the future

Building a sustainable future requires developing new techniques and optimising existing ones. Geophysical methods can be used both in exploration and in structural research of tailings ponds. Data can be gathered with non-invasive methods such as drone or sensor technology. Seismic phenomena can be anticipated or process solutions involving very little water or even dry processes can be developed. Blast research enables more precise mining and blasting as selectively as possible.

Oulu Mining School takes on these challenges by executing its strategy to the fullest. The integration of the different parts in mining engineering provides Finnish and international students with a comprehensive view of the whole industry and its interrelated workings. In research the group will continue on its current path, covering the entire value chain at the geosciences, geophysics, mining engineering and mineral processing sectors.

This excerpt is from an article in MATERIA (1/2022). Read the whole text (in Finnish, from page 41)

Last updated: 14.3.2022