Extracting innovation

Terrafame continued to develop its operations under the previously identified strategic themes. In some of these themes, the key targets were already met during 2017. The further processing of the main product, nickel-cobalt, was designated as a new theme.

Strategic themes

Leaching yield

Terrafame’s objective is to improve the leaching yield of metals in both primary and secondary bioleaching.

In 2017, developments were made in the quality of ore to be utilised, uniformity of the recovery and the technical performance of bioleaching. Bioleaching capacity was increased by taking into production the entire primary leaching area and by expanding the secondary leaching area.

Metals production efficiency

In terms of metals production efficiency, Terrafame’s objective is to recover the metals leached in the process solution as accurately and cost-efficiently as possible.

Yields at the metals production plant were improved and production records were achieved in nickel-cobalt and zinc. With increasing production volumes and improved chemical efficiency, the cost-effectiveness of the metals production plant and the entire company improved significantly.

Also, the first copper deliveries took place at the end of the year and preparations were made to study the recovery of uranium and rare earth elements on a laboratory scale.

Further processing

Terrafame’s objective is to further process its main product, nickel-cobalt, thereby increasing the added value of the product.

Two further processing options were studied in 2017: the production of metallic nickel suitable for stainless steel and the production of chemicals utilised in the batteries of electric vehicles. Starting from the end of the year, the focus was put on technical and economic analysis and planning of the battery chemicals plant.


At Terrafame, seamless cooperation between production and maintenance personnel aims to improve the availability of production lines. This creates a basis for cost-effective operations.

In 2017, the planning of operations and maintenance tasks, as well as joint field rounds, were further enhanced. Targets were reached in the availability of mining, ore processing and reclaiming machinery and lines.

The expertise of operators was strengthened to enable them to participate in maintenance tasks and be better equipped to identify the needs for preventive maintenance. Thus, focus was increasingly transferred from repairs to preventive maintenance, which will bring savings and efficiency to operations.

Ore processing

Ore is crushed and agglomerated to make it suitable for bioleaching. Ore processing in accordance with high quality criteria ensures an optimal bioleaching yield.

In 2017, ore mining and processing continued at a full-capacity level already achieved at an earlier stage. Operational cost-efficiency was further improved and ore uniformity and agglomerate quality were optimised.

Ore processing has reached the level of the strategic objectives and the development of operations will continue as a part of day-to day work.


Uninterrupted and cost-efficient production is the primary objective when procuring raw materials and services. In addition, the commitment of Terrafame’s partners to long-term cooperation will bring benefits to the development of operations on both sides.

In 2017, Terrafame achieved stable operations also in its procurement. Several new extensive partnership agreements were concluded during the year. Internal processes were developed so that procurement and technical experts now plan purchases together. Furthermore, the use of electronic tools in procurement was expanded, which will further streamline operations.

The major development goals originally set for procurement operations have been reached over the past two years and the work will continue as part of normal operations.

Terrafame's strategic themes.