Extreme temperatures, extreme compressor reliability for Sydvaranger mining

Service Oil-free compressors Mining Industry

Winter temperatures at Norway’s remote Sydvaranger iron ore mine can plunge to –35°C. To keep things moving the mine relies on air dryers, oil-injected rotary screw compressors and oil-free compressors from Atlas Copco. Sydvaranger had 3 main reasons for choosing Atlas Copco as their supplier: “reliability, life-cycle cost and energy efficiency”.

The Sydvaranger iron ore mine is located in Norway’s far north-east, about 400 km above the Arctic Circle. Einar Berg, senior mining advisor at the mine explains how the weather conditions are the biggest challenge: “The summers are bright and warm, but in the winter we can have temperatures as low as –35 degrees.”

BD desiccant air dryer, the reliable choice for extreme temperatures

The extreme temperature conditions required the highest reliability, and led to the decision to use Atlas Copco air dryers, oil-injected rotary screw compressors and oil-free compressors to the mine.

“Sydvaranger Gruve has chosen BD-dryers for their plant which gives them clean and dry air with a guaranteed dew point of at least - 40°C.” says Rune Mjørud Hansen, District Manager for Atlas Copco Compressor Technique Scandinavia. “Compressed air is the heart of the production and if the air freezes, production is brought to a halt.”

Investing in quality and energy-efficiency

Arnfinn Mentyjærvi, Maintenance Manager at the mine says Sydvaranger had three main reasons for choosing Atlas Copco equipment – “reliability, life-cycle cost and energy efficiency”.

“You can look at the price tag or you can look at the total cost,” says Mentyjærvi. “We decided to invest in quality. We have previous experience from earlier production in the mine and know that we can trust equipment from Atlas Copco, and that access to spare parts is good.”

Energy efficiency has also become increasingly important within the mining industry: “The access to electricity isn’t unlimited and this has put extra focus on using energy efficient equipment.”

While compressors are not the biggest consumers of energy at Sydvaranger Gruve, minimizing operational costs leads to superior productivity.

“Low pressure drop and dynamic control with dew point dependent switching was essential. With our frequency controlled, oil-free compressor ZR400VSD, which provides precise pressure control, it’s not unusual to have energy savings of up to 35%”

Arnfinn Mentyjærvi, Maintenance Manager Sydvaranger

24/24 Service contract

Sydvaranger Gruve has a 24-hour service contract with Atlas Copco and 20 staff are based on-site, conducting maintenance, service and repairs on the drill rig equipment. Einar Berg says the arrangement works well. “We have daily meetings where we plan and adjust the maintenance to the production,” he says. “That gives an appreciated flexibility and there have been very few problems.”