A mighty monster - Goliath - rules over the Aitik opencast mine in northern Sweden.
To look out over the grey terraces of the immense Aitik opencast mine in the Swedish Arctic is a breathtaking experience. At 3km long, 1.1km wide, and 425m deep, Aitik is one of Europe’s largest copper mines – and it’s still growing.
A recent expansion of the mine included an entirely new way of transporting copper concentrate – a job that is handled by Gällivare Frakt, a logistics firm owned by Nilsson’s father and uncle, Ingemar and Kurt Nilsson. To manage this mammoth task, the company invested in Goliath – a custom-built 540hp Volvo (www.volvotrucks.com) FH16. Fully loaded, Goliath weighs in at 144 tonnes.
Gällivare Frakt transports all the copper concentrate mined in Aitik, which means every day Goliath carries 500 tonnes between the dressing plant and the terminal. From that raw material, about 46,000 tonnes of copper are produced per year.
In addition, Goliath transports about 25 tonnes of silver and 1.3 tonnes of gold annually. With copper currently costing around SEK 58,000 per tonne, this means Goliath transports copper worth about SEK 2.7 billion a year.
Goliath’s daily route is an 8km stretch between the dressing plant and the terminal where the copper concentrate is unloaded. The empty vehicle is weighed then drives into the long, narrow corridor where the copper concentrate is loaded. The hatches on the wagons are opened and the copper concentrate pours into the truck from above.
To unload, the truck is driven into the depot, folds down the support legs, and tips out the load, firstly from the trailer and then the truck. Powerful vibrators then shake out every last bit of the copper concentrate. [Page
The new truck, combined with the new loading and tipping system, has helped mine-owner Boliden achieve significant increases in production. Last year, 31.5m tonnes of ore were produced.