Case Kittilä mine's environmental monitoring

Agnico Eagle Finland Oy is a gold mine in Kittilä, Finland, that is a subsidiary of the Canadian mining company Agnico Eagle Mines Limited.

Environmental monitoring is carried out at the mine in accordance with the monitoring programme of the valid environmental permit. More than 2000 samples are taken annually, amounting to almost 60,000 individual analyses. Managing the large and constantly growing measurement data has been labour-intensive and time-consuming. In order to visualise the data and improve its management, Agnico Eagle Finland teamed up with FinMeas Oy.

“The goal was to build a platform that enables the digitisation of manual work steps, so that more time can be spent on analysing the results and planning the necessary measures,” says Anne Rajanen, Environmental Engineer at Agnico Eagle and FinMeas Oy’s contact person at the mining company.

Figure 1. Visualisation of the quality of surface water points. From the menu on the right, one can select a parameter (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorus, pH, nickel, lead) and the color visualises the sample quality.

From two days to just a few hours

One of the biggest benefits of the environmental monitoring platform is the automation of monthly reporting. In the past, reporting work has taken several days, even weeks, if there is a lot of data to edit. Managing data collected from various software applications, manual calculations and drawing graphs have taken time away from drawing conclusions based on the actual measurement results. Now, a report can be sent automatically to experts by e-mail at the desired time. The report includes all the vital data for a defined time period.

“The automatic reporting enables me to focus on interpreting the analysis results and drawing conclusions. Completing a report nowadays takes just a few hours,” Rajanen confirms.

Correlation tool identifies causes and effects quickly

The correlation tool also makes the work of experts easier by rapidly identifying causes and effects. The correlation tool makes it easy to create graphs by simply adding the desired measurement points by selecting the points from the map.

The processing of the mine’s drainage water has been systematically enhanced. Using the cause-and-effect relationship identified by the correlation tool, it was possible to show in a few minutes that the decrease in the individual metal concentration of the drainage water correlates well with the decrease in the total metal concentration. At the same time, it confirmed that the water treatment enhancement measures have been correct and effective.

Tools for water management

Water management plays a key role in mining operations. The FinMeas Online platform is currently being used to monitor such data as reservoir levels and volumes, discharge waters, dam leachate, drainage wells and groundwater levels, rainfall amounts, nearby river flows, and the quality parameters of various waters and water fractions. With the help of advanced calculations, this data can be used to automatically produce cumulative amounts and changes on a monthly level, as well as flow-weighted averages.

The latest development is a tool that can be used to calculate the water recycling rate. The tool enables goal-oriented monitoring of the water recycling rate, as the water recycling percentage is automatically updated according to the changing water quantities.

Essential information in an easy-to-understand format

After a couple of years of close collaboration, we have succeeded in building a solution that saves time for experts and makes their work more efficient. With the help of the environmental monitoring platform, the overall situation of the measurement results can be easily monitored, mirroring the permit conditions and limit values. With the help of visualisations and advanced calculations, essential and important information is highlighted from a huge amount of data in an easy-to-understand format. With the help of forecasts, the development of possible deviation situations can be detected quickly, so that they can be reacted to in time.

“Our collaboration with FinMeas has worked well. Our requests have been responded to quickly, and our wishes have been met,” Rajanen says.

In addition, the possibilities of utilising the environmental monitoring platform in broader stakeholder reporting is being explored together with FinMeas and stakeholders.

Read more about the environmental monitoring platform for mines and its benefits.

Explore how our TSF monitoring platform is utilized at the Kittilä mine as well.

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