Pyhäsalmi Mine gets a new zoning plan and a new life as “Callio Pyhäjärvi”

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Pyhäsalmi Mine gets a new zoning plan and a new life as “Callio Pyhäjärvi”

18 June 2018
A copper and zinc mine has been operating in Pyhäjärvi, located in the Oulu Region in Finland, since the 1960s. The mine is Europe’s deepest. It will stop operating at the end of 2019, but afterwards, the facilities will be available for entirely new purposes. Sweco will implement both the underground and the above-ground zoning of the new Callio Pyhäjärvi area, which is up to 1,445 metres deep.

The 1.5-kilometre deep mine would be the size of five Eiffel Towers if placed above the ground, and the depth is what makes Callio Pyhäjärvi a unique zoning project, even on a global scale.

“We need to consider three dimensions when taking space reservations since the depth is involved, as well,” says Iikka Ranta, Sweco’s zoning architect. “Essentially, this is like zoning any corporate area, save for the 10-kilometre serpentine road that goes through the mine vertically, meaning that the space reservations are imbricated and on top of each other on different levels of depth.”

Diverse operations from cricket farming to a datacentre

The basic idea of Callio is based on sustainable development, and the future operations in the area also follow the same ideology. The temperature varies naturally on different levels, meaning that the conditions on specific levels are optimal for purposes such as equipment testing, product development or plant production. The summery and pleasant temperature of 20 degrees Celsius is also suitable for the storage and ripening of various products.

“We have space reservations all the way from a depth of 75 metres down to 1,400 metres. In addition, the areas are a hectare in size, laterally measured,” says Henrik Kiviniemi, the Town Manager of Pyhäjärvi. “The Pyhäsalmi Mine is already being used for testing mining machinery and equipment, and we have also been testing how the stable conditions and the geothermal heat could be used in plant production. Our newest projects include fish and crustacean culture and raising crickets for food. We are also looking into biofuel terminals.”

Callio also needs large-scale operations so that the enormous spaces can be fully utilised. The most suitable options for this are, among others, an underground datacentre or energy storage using pumped energy (PPHES). The energy storage of the mine consists of an upper and lower basin, and during low energy demand, water is pumped from the lower storage to the upper storage. Electricity is generated by running water into the lower basin when demand is high and energy production is low. This way, the energy storage can respond to changes in demand, and overproduced electricity can be stored to wait for peak consumption.

Safety is ensured with appropriate zoning and mining expertise

Zoning helps illustrate the various operations in the future corporate area depth-wise on several levels. In addition, zoning is also used to ensure safety in the underground location where oxygen supply and water removal depend on functional technology.

“Zoning is vital for rescue operations,” Ranta states. “In case of a fire, people will follow the rescue plan, which requires clear exit and entry routes. The area reservations of the zoning plan also consider the safety zones and distances since the forces and masses that are in effect underground are quite exceptional.”

Pyhäjärvi offers pre-established settings and extensive expertise in mining.

“Callio has functional mining infrastructure, such as a railway to the mining area and an underground diagonal road that can be driven on with a full-sized truck,” Kiviniemi says. “Pyhäjärvi also offers 60 years of mining expertise, which is absolutely necessary for the permit processes and the repurposing plan for the infrastructure.”

Sweco has completed several successful projects with the City of Pyhäjärvi in the past.

“We want Sweco involved in the zoning of Callio because the zoning requires high-level expertise and various specialist analyses from several fields,” Kiviniemi says. “We also wanted to make sure that all expertise required for the zoning could be found within the same organisation, since the project needs to proceed rapidly within a specific window. In addition to the plans, we also need visual materials to support the marketing of Callio, so we have created brand new procedures and standards with Sweco.”

Callio ensures a vital future for Pyhäjärvi

Repurposing the Pyhäsalmi Mine is an important project both for the town of Pyhäjärvi and on a wider scale. Around the world, old mines are constantly being closed down.

“We are different from the other towns in the area because of our history in industry,” Kiviniemi says. “According to a study made in the University of Jyväskylä, the mine is responsible for 400 jobs in the town, which will need to be replaced in the future. Callio has attracted attention and sparked discussions both locally and internationally as this is the first time that the existing infrastructure of a mining area is being repurposed on such a scale.”

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