Published: August 7, 2023

The mining industry is the foundation of modern society, and the standards of Finnish mining operations are among the highest in the world. The Finnish mining industry has developed rapidly in the last decades.

A fourth industrial revolution is taking place in the industry. It means the increase of robotics and digitalisation and the utilisation of artificial intelligence in mining operations.

Modern technology allows us to use a vast data bank for production development.

At Tapojärvi, the development of mining technology is reflected, e.g., in mining safety and increased reliability of production. Cost savings and fewer emissions can be achieved, for instance, through reduced energy consumption and the use of renewable energy sources.

“Tapojärvi has been using remote-controlled loading machines for nearly 20 years, and we strongly believe in remote operation. Now, we aim to improve safety and boost production by implementing digital and automated solutions. Equipment can be operated from a control room with cameras. We can utilise sensor technology and artificial intelligence to support maintenance and equipment life-cycle planning, says Tapojärvi’s Technical Manager,” Juhani Ruokamo.

At Tapojärvi, the three mining industry trends are electrification, emission reduction and remote management and control.

“Testing and developing mining technology is expensive, but worth the effort. We are constantly reaching greater safety, productivity and decreasing stress factors. “Our goal is to make mining operations increasingly sustainable and environmentally friendly.”

Technology is developed by analysing machines and equipment. Production data is utilised in the development of mining and mill service operations. Customers and suppliers are also provided with production data to support their own development work.

“Technological development increases production reliability and productivity, diversifies work descriptions and reduces environmental impacts. When the equipment and machines are in good condition, the working conditions are also more comfortable, clean and ergonomic,” says Ruokamo.

It has been feared that automation will lead to fewer jobs. This is not true at Tapojärvi. The company has grown over the last few years, and the number of its employees has also doubled.

The mining industry is developing rapidly to meet the constantly increasing demands. Technological developments bring challenges and increased interest in the industry.

From the employee’s perspective, technological developments in mining technology can mean security and longer careers. However, the requirements for employees are also increasing. In the future, employees need a broader range of skills than mechanical maintenance skills, for instance.

Tapojärvi currently has nearly 800 employees. The company specialises in circular economy solutions and mining and mill services.