ArticlePDF Available

The MINETRAIN project; Developing an advanced-level training program for mining professionals in an actual deep mine site


Abstract and Figures

In an extremely competitive mining industry, onsite experience is a big advantage. Mining education at the universities is mostly focused on theoretical studies without a possibility of practical training in mining sites. Hence, experimental mines suitable for practical education are needed to provide a platform for systematic research and education in industrial scale and for training in real mining conditions. Yet, this kind of mine sites is rare worldwide. Thus, a new educational research project, namely MINETRAIN is introduced in this paper evaluating the transition of the Pyhäsalmi mine in Central Finland from an active base metal mine to a research, educational and training underground facility. The uniqueness of MINETRAIN compared to other test mine programs is that the existing state‐of‐art infrastructure in Pyhäsalmi enables research and training facilities among all disciplines related to the overall mine value chain. Though all the above sound interesting in the context of research and education purposes, in practice Pyhäsalmi will have to become an experimental mine that can be sustainable in the future. Accordingly, a prefeasibility study is being conducted and some preliminary results are presented in this paper.
Content may be subject to copyright.
24 october 2019 Mınıng engıneerıng
Underground Mining
The Minetrain project;
developing an advanced-level training program for
mining professionals in an actual deep mine site
Despite being a field of study that requires
practical knowledge and experience,
mining engineering education follows the same
pattern in most mining universities around the
world, consisting of theoretical courses and
laboratory-based practical modules (Mischo,
2015). The possibility of having practical
training in real mining conditions on actual
mine sites or processing plants is limited,
while the only contact that undergraduate
students have with mining operations during
their time of study is usually through short-
time internships or visits in the context of
educational trips. Real integration between
universities and the mining industry may be
scarce, which does not help students to observe
the actual processes and thus understand the
whole picture of mining operations.
Indirect practical training is now possible
since that technology is shifting from
mechanical to digital, and the use of virtual
reality — in the context of Mining 4.0 — can
provide additional experience to the learning
process. However, virtual reality is limited to
the visual impression and is also limited in
actions (Binder et al., 2018). In any case, when
there is not a proper pragmatic view of how
the different disciplines link to each other,
especially if there is a lack of communication,
unfortunately the results could be seen at a later
stage in the mines as a poor performance of
professionals and workers.
Another major challenge for educating
specialists in the mining sector is that
experimental mines suitable
for practical education,
where the skills and know-
how could be developed
and/or enhanced, are rare
worldwide. Such research
and educational (R&E)
facilities are practically
former metal ore mines that
have been transformed into
experimental sites. Besides
being limited in number,
not all facilities of this kind
serve both a research and
educational purpose.
An early example
of asolely experimental
mines is the Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Mine
site operated by LKAB in Sweden, where
systematic research on rock mechanics and
mining engineering was successfully carried
out in the 1980s. As a result, the developed
underground mining technology was applied in
LKAB’s mines at a later stage. There have also
been research mines within collieries such as
the former Lake Macquarie Mine at New South
G. Barakos and H. Mischo, mem-
bers SME, are research assistant
postdoctoral fellow and professor,
chair of underground mining meth-
ods department, respectively, TU
Bergakademie Freiberg, Freiberg,
Germany; M. de P. Bueno, S. Luuk-
kanen, Z. Zhang, M.S. Gonzalez
are senior research fellow, pro-
fessor, professor and university
lecturer, respectively, University of
Oulu, Oulu, Finland; P. Holopainen
is manager, Normet Oy, Lisalmi,
Finland and A. Remes is technol-
ogy advisor, Outotec, Lappeenranta,
Finland, email Georgios.Barakos@
G. Barakos, M. de P. Bueno, S. Luukkanen, H. Mischo, Z. Zhang, M.S. Gonzalez, P. Holopainen and A. Remes
View of the orebody and development infrastructure at the
Pyhäsalmi Mine (Callio Lab, 2018).
Figure 1
26 october 2019 Mınıng engıneerıng
Underground Mining
Wales in Australia and the Zeche Tremonia
Mine in Germany), but these are no longer in
operation (Mischo, 2015).
Another example of a former mine that
is now used only for research is the Sanford
Underground Research Facility (SURF) in
South Dakota, being the deepest underground
laboratory in the United States. (Lesko,
2015). There are also test mines in hard rock
that have been constructed only for research
purposes, such as the Sandvik test mine and
digital operation center at Tampere, Finland.
Furthermore, there are some former mines in
the United States that are mainly used as mine
rescue stations and training facilities, such as the
NIOSH Lake Lynn Laboratory or the NIOSH
Bruceton coal mine (Bealko et al., 2010).
When it comes to facilities that combine
research, education and training of students
and professionals, there are only two such mine
sites known around the world: the Edgar Mine
of the Colorado School of Mines in Idaho
Springs, CO and the FLB Forschungs-
und Lehrbergwerk (Research &
Educational Mine) Reiche Zeche of
the TU Bergakademie Freiberg in
Germany (Mischo, 2015).
Currently, there are a handful of
R&E mines under construction such
as Rammelsberg of the Clausthal
University of Technology at Goslar
and the training mine of RAG
Aktiengesellschaft at Recklinghausen,
Germany (Binder et al., 2018), the
research site at Montanuniversität
Leoben, in Austria and the Pyhäsalmi
Mine in Finland.
The previous examples indicate
that experimental mines are seen as
important, not only for research and
education in mining-related disciplines,
but also for development of mining
technology. This is important, especially
when looking into the future as mining
operations go deeper and the ores to
be processed are of lower grade and
have complex geological structure. The
existing infrastructure of an operating
mine provides a unique opportunity
for training in all disciplines related to
the mine-value chain in an authentic
However, operating and maintaining
an experimental mine is costly. It may
not have costs as high as those of an
active mine, but at the same time, it does
not have the same revenues generated
as when marketing extracted ore. For
this reason, adequate funding must be
secured for the viability of Pyhäsalmi,
given that it will be transformed to a
research and educational mine. Hence,
a preliminary economic assessment
report was conducted in the context
of Minetrain, indicating that the
transformation of the underground
mine into an experimental and training
facility is feasible and that this project
will be viable.
® Registered trademark of Martin Engineering Company in the US and other select locations. © 2019 Martin Engineering Company. Additional information can be obtained at and
visit | 800.544.2947 or 309.852.2384 |
had a ground man
that did nothing but constantly clean up; that
was his job. Now we don’t have a ground man. We
haven’t shoveled the tail wheel or cleared anything
out from under the conveyor since we installed
these cleaners. I’m amazed by CleanScrape®, it’s
been on for a year now and I haven’t touched it.
This material is sloppy, it’s just muck that we’re
running. And then you look at the return side of
the belt and the proof is right there. Absolutely
phenomenal. Try it out for yourself, it’s amazing.
– Trey Poulson | Fairplay Gold Mine, CO, USA
Belt Cleaner TRIAL
Call Today!
Las Vegas, NV
March 10 - 14
Booth #C-20721
Higher performance
United. Inspired.
Drive toward higher productivity with optimum visibility in
the Minetruck MT42 – designed for state-of-the-art levels of
safety, serviceability and operator comfort.
Higher performance
United. Inspired.
Drive toward higher productivity with optimum visibility in
the Minetruck MT42 – designed for state-of-the-art levels of
safety, serviceability and operator comfort.
28 october 2019 Mınıng engıneerıng
Underground Mining
Potential laboratory spaces are created deep inside the Pyhäsalmi Mine
(Callio Lab, 2018).
Figure 2
The Pyshäsalmi Mine
Pyhäsalmi is one of the oldest active
underground mines in Europe, and at the time
of writing this paper, it was also the deepest
(approx. 1,450 m (4,750 ft)). The mine is located
at Pyhäjärvi, in Central Finland, and produces
copper, zinc and pyrite. Operations started in
1962 by Outokumpu Oyj, who sold to Immet
Mining Corp. in 2002. Since 2013, the mine has
been owned by First Quantum Minerals Ltd. and
is operated by its subsidiary Pyhäsalmi Mine Oy
(Jalas et al., 2017).
Pyhäsalmi was initially developed as an
openpit mine until 1967, when underground
mining operations commenced (Sahala, 2016).
In 1975, surface mining ended, and since then a
network of hundreds of kilometers of tunnels
have been excavated in the granite rock bed down
to the depth of 1,441 m (4,727 ft) (Fig. 1).
In 1970, mining operations had already
reached the depth of 500 m (1,640 ft), while
gradual deepening down to 1,000 m (3,280 ft)
was accomplished in 1996 (Luukkonen, 2011).
Further exploration in 1996 resulted in finding
additional resources even deeper, and thus a
further development plan was initiated. In 2001,
Outokumpu Oyj completed construction of the
Timo Shaft, a 1,450-m (4,560-ft) deep automated
hoisting shaft, from the surface down to the
main (bottom) level, and at the same time the
development of the ramp continued to reach
the same depth (Sahala, 2016; Jalas et al., 2017).
Currently, the main level is accessible either by a
three-minute elevator ride or by vehicles using the
11-km (22-mile) long spiral-shaped service road.
Besides supporting mining operations,
the main level hosts excellent facilities for a
The GHT F is a Diemme® Filtration lter press specically developed for large throughput, high
lterability products, such as mining concentrates and tailings. The electrically-driven movement of
the mobile header and the resulting accordion-style opening of the plate pack considerably reduces
the cake discharge time and the entire opening-closing sequence of the lter.
The result is a fast cycling lter press which allows increased production per unit area of the lter.
J.H. Fletcher & Co. cannot anticipate every mine hazard that may develop during use of these products. Follow your mine plan and/or roof control plan prior to use of the product. Proper use, maintenance
and continued use of (OEM) original equipment parts will be essential for maximum operating results. 2017 J.H. Fletcher & Co. All Rights reserved.
Since 1937, Fletcher has set itself apart, simply by listening.
Fletcher design engineers listen to what the industry says, they hear what operators want
from their investments, and then...they design systems and machines that provide solutions.
Fletcher roof bolters are built custom to your mine condition, give you the unsurpassed ability
to secure the back, and provide a productive, reliable, and safer work environment.
Do your needs go beyond the standard production line?
Do you need to be more than just a number?
Do your problems need to be heard?
...Then contact Fletcher to nd out more about our Custom Line of Roof Bolting Equipment,
and get your solution started today.
80thmineralbolters-MiningEngineering.indd 1 9/13/2018 10:56:35 AM
30 october 2019 Mınıng engıneerıng
Underground Mining
series of activities, such as vehicle maintenance,
storage facilities, workshops, rooms for teaching
and conferencing, mobile phone network
and an optical cable connection, which also
provides high-speed internet access also for the
intermediate levels (Jalas et al., 2017). Following
the Finnish tradition, there is even a
sauna inside the mine, giving Pyhäsalmi
a place among Guinness world record
holders for housing the deepest sauna
in the world at 1,402 m (4,600 ft)
(Callio Lab, 2018).
Callio Lab
Callio Lab is an umbrella
organization for a variety of
nonmining activities in and around
the mine. The aim of this project is
to take over the mine facilities and
all associated infrastructure after
operations are ceased, to oversee
scientific research and development,
and to propose new economic
activities that will contribute toward
the sustainable development and
viable use of the mine site (Jalas et
al., 2017). Some research activity is
already taking place inside the mine
in parallel with mining operations.
Two significant physics projects are
currently using Callio Lab’s facilities
(Jalas et al., 2017; Callio Lab, 2018).
Pyhäsalmi has been using non-
entry, bulk open-stope mining
methods in a primary-secondary
sequence (FQM, 2018). However,
after 56 years of continuous
production, mining operations came
to an end in 2018 (FQM, 2018).
Consequently, discussions for the
closure and post-mining utilization
of the underground facilities started
a long time ago (Peltoniemi, 2002).
For this reason, Callio Lab was
founded in 2015 by the municipality
of Pyhäsarvi and Pyhäsalmi Mine Oy
to oversee the reuse of the mine site
after production is terminated (Jalas
et al., 2017; 2018).
The experiment with a Multi-
Muon Array studies the composition
of cosmic ray particles at the depth of
Education, research and training perspectives of the whole mine lifecycle at the
Pyhäsalmi Mine.
Figure 3
Surface and Underground Mine Evaluation
Exploration Project Development
Mine Design and Planning
Production Scheduling and Strategic Planning
Resource Modeling / Reserve Estimation
Technical Advisory of Expansions or Acquisitions
Tel: +1 (520) 294-9861
3560 East Gas Road
Tucson, Arizona 85714 USA
Maneuvering into position on rubber tires, the steering axle is
fitted with an axle oscillation assembly. The result is a stable
working platform without the need for outriggers as the powerful
boom efficiently tilts and pries material loose.
Watch them work, and learn about our new Series V models
32 october 2019 Mınıng engıneerıng
Underground Mining
75 m (246 ft) (Lab 1). The experiment
brings together Universities of
Oulu and Jyväskylä in Finland,
Århus in Denmark and Institutes of
Russian Academy of Sciences in St.
Petersburg and Moscow.
The C14 experiment is measuring
C14 concentrations in various
liquid scintillator samples at the
depth of 1,430 m (4,700 ft) (Lab 2).
The experiment uses a constructed
cylindrical container, which has
photomultiplier tubes at both ends.
The astroparticle physics team of
the University of Oulu is leading
this project in collaboration with
Jyväskylä University and the Russian
Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
Other nonmining activities in
Pyhäsalmi include new technological
plant production methods
taking place in an experimental
underground farm (Jalas et al., 2018),
and the continuous radon tent testing
in Level 990 (Lab 3), aiming to test
and develop thin foils that can be
easily assembled in a form of a tent
and rapidly construct a radiation
protective environment (Jalas et al.,
A new laboratory space of
approximately 120 m2 (1,291 sq ft)
has also been developed at the main
level of the mine and is suitable for
example studies that require low
background (Fig. 2). After all, the
mine has a lot of available spaces/
caverns at several depths all the way
to the main level at 1,441 m (4,727
ft). If required, new large laboratory
spaces can be created. The suitability
of the bedrock for new large caverns
around the mine was studied and
emphasized in the extensive site
investigations during the 2012-2014
biennium (Sahala, 2016; Callio Lab,
The Minetrain project
Besides R&D, Pyhäsalmi can
host other activities as well. The
cessation of mining operations will
not only increase the available space
for research projects, a variety of
mining equipment and facilities will
be at the disposal of stakeholders
to use as required. Thus, Pyhäsalmi
could also be turned into an excellent
Primary crusher located underground at the Pyhäsalmi Mine (Callio Lab, 2018).
Figure 4
©Richwood 2016
Mining Engineering 17.indd 1 3/31/17 9:45 AM
Loaded with intelligence, superior power and reliability, Sandvik loaders and trucks increase the efficiency of operations. Designed to
operate seamlessly as matching pairs, the equipment offers superior operator comfort, easy maintenance and low cost per ton. Sandvik
AutoMine® and OptiMine® readiness in the i-series provide a true productivity boost for large-scale underground mine production.
Be safer, be stronger, and be smarter - together.
Sandvik LH621i and Sandvik TH663i
Payload capacities: 46,300 lbs and 138,900 lbs
Sandvik LH517i and Sandvik TH551i
Payload capacities: 37,500 lbs and 112,435 lbs
34 october 2019 Mınıng engıneerıng
Underground Mining
educational and training center for students
and mining industry professionals. Hence, an
educational project named Minetrain was
initiated in 2018 for the development of an
advanced level training program for mining
industry professionals.
Minetrain is under the auspices of the
European Institute of Innovation and
Technology, a body of the European Union
under the Horizon 2020, the EU Framework
Program for research and innovation. The
project consortium consists of both academia
and industry partners:
• University of Oulu, Finland.
• TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany.
• Pyhäsalmi Mine, FQM Ltd., Finland.
• Outotec Oy, Finland.
• Normet Oy, Finland.
• Sandvik Oy, Finland.
• Schneider Electric, Finland.
Project objectives and scope. This
project aims to develop, pilot and establish a
framework for commercially feasible training
programs for mining professionals by holding
multidisciplinary, practical, lifelong learning
educational courses at the Pyhäsalmi Mine. The
novelty of this education is that it will provide
learners with a holistic view of the whole mine
lifecycle (Fig. 3), as well as opportunities to
test both skills and mining equipment in a real,
deep-mine site. For this reason, a few objectives
have been set:
• To design a detailed multidisciplinary
course for mining professionals.
• To ensure that stringent health and
safety standards can be maintained
during the course.
• To ensure that course personnel and
students can be accommodated at the
site so they can plan, carry out and
reflect upon practical assignments
• To ensure the practical viability of
holding the course by testing and
training modules on a pilot scale.
• To recruit the first intake of course
participants for the lifelong learning
• To pilot the course successfully.
• To reflect upon the lessons learned
and the implications for holding future
courses at the mine site.
Testing facilities and infrastructure. When
compared to other existing test mine programs,
the uniqueness of Minetrain is based on the fact
that Pyhäsalmi is a deep, modern metal mine,
and that there is state-of-the-art equipment
available to be used for training purposes.
Looking back over the history of the mine,
one can see that cutting-edge technologies
have always been employed. For instance, in
2003, Immet initiated a drilling and loading
automation project with Sandvik to test
Sandvik’s new technology (Gustafson, 2011).
Recently, the mine has been using two Sandvik
TORO 11 automatic LHDs since 2006 in
different stoping levels and routes inside the
mine with the operator station located in a
van. The company found that using this system
resulted in better working conditions for the
operators, increased safety and better ore
recovery from the stopes.
The mineral processing operation is
comprised of primary crushing underground
(Fig. 4) and three-stage grinding followed by
conventional flotation using three separate
circuits with water removal to produce copper,
zinc and pyrite concentrates on the surface. The
concentration plant at Pyhäsalmi will continue
Figure 5
The structure of the first pilot training module to be tested at the
Pyhäsalmi Mine. Mınıng engıneerıng october 2019 35
Underground Mining
its operation for a few more years after mining
activities stop in 2018 (FQM, 2018).
Structure of pilot training courses
The potential training of mining
professionals at Pyhäsalmi will not be limited to
underground mining operations only. Possible
practical education in the processing plant
will be offered as well. Furthermore, machine
operators and other mining staff can be trained
in the automated LHD system in the mine.
A first pilot training module will be
developed and tested in the underground
facilities in the context of the Minetrain project.
This pilot course is expected to have a duration
of two weeks. The first week will include
theoretical courses via an e-learning platform,
while the second week will consist of practical
training modules at the Pyhäsalmi Mine.
Both theoretical and practical courses will
be given to offer training in several disciplines
of the whole mine lifecycle, following a
downward progression through five stages (Fig.
5). Each training stage will have a duration
of two days; one day during the first week
(theory) and one day during the second week
(practice), respectively. Hence, stakeholders can
identify all potentials of this new research and
educational underground facility.
The first group of trainees will consist
of employees working in mining-related
companies, who have general background
knowledge in mining but have not received
training in an underground mine site before.
This is a good reason for the training program
to begin with a health and safety instructions
course. An underground mining environment
poses risks even for experienced personnel,
not to mention people who have never worked
in such conditions. Accordingly, the maximum
number of trainees for this first module shall
not exceed 15 to 20.
Experienced underground mining and
mineral processing professionals will be
recruited to give the theoretical lectures and
practical courses. They may be academics with
experience in teaching mining in theory, and/
or actual employees at the Pyhäsalmi Mine that
are familiar with the underground facilities and
the operation of the equipment.
This two-week training program will be
structured in such a way that it will provide
knowledge and experience to the trainees,
as well as a good impression of the working
conditions in an underground mine. The
outcome of this pilot training program will
provide the consortium of Minetrain with
useful feedback and conclusions. This material
will be contextualized in order to establish
further training modules in a safe, efficient and
sustainable way. While the first pilot course will
provide general knowledge about underground
mining, future training modules can focus on
specific areas of mining operations or even be
custom-tailored depending on the market and
mining industry needs.
Preliminary economic assessment
Apparently, the transformation of
Figure 6
Potential activities that can generate revenues for the Pyhäsalmi
Research and Educational facility.
Cost description Cost (€/year)
Electricityofwaterpumping 153,000
Maintenanceofwaterpumping 160,900
Electricityforventilation 18,200
Maintenanceofventilation 106,800
Sludgehandling 30,400
Wastewatertreatment 600,000
Maintenanceofareas 60,000
Otherindirectcosts 70,000
Total 1,199,300
FLSmidth 2017 HPGR analysis of press force versus recovery rate [1].
Table 1
36 october 2019 Mınıng engıneerıng
Underground Mining
yhäsalmi from an active mine to a research
and educational facility is going to be a long
and detailed process. It is not just issues
regarding research and education that need to
be discussed. Economic parameters need to be
evaluated as well, since Pyhäsalmi will have to
become a facility that can sustain itself in the
In the 56 years that the mine has been
in operation, it has had a massive impact on
the region in which it operates in terms of
revenues, tax income and other associated
costs, not to mention the indirect effects of the
mine to the local society. Understandably, the
end of the mine’s life is an event that will affect
the economics of the region including the
entity that will take over the management of
the underground and surface facilities.
Potential revenues are being considered
from training modules, research projects,
renting of underground spaces and other
activities inside and around the mine site. All
these activities will be taking place under the
umbrella of Callio Lab (Fig. 6).
The economic valuation of educational
programs and training modules falls within
the scope of Minetrain. Hence, a preliminary
economic evaluation is being carried out
at the time of writing this paper. In this
early stage, however, only some high-level
estimation has been made to determine the
order-of-magnitude for revenues and costs.
Thus, all calculations have an accuracy of ±35
percent. The level of accuracy will increase
as the project progresses and the educational
programs are structured in more detail.
As previously discussed, the first scenario
includes a two-week multidisciplinary course,
twice per year. The number of students per
course was estimated to be 10-20, and the
cost for each student was assumed to be
2,500-4,000. Thus, revenue of 97,500/year is
Another scenario consists of six, one-week
specialization courses, once a year (e.g. mine
rescue operations, training in geophysics,
operator training etc.). The number of students
per course was estimated to be five-15, and the
cost for each student was estimated at 3,000-
5,000. In this case, the revenue is 240,000/year.
Further to the above, revenue of €500,000
-1 million has been assumed to come from
running research projects and from potential
governmental funds. Consequently, total
revenue of 1 million/year (±35 percent) is
On the other hand, operating and
maintenance costs, expenditures for the
opening of new spaces and other costs should
be taken into account as well. For the cost
calculations, data from a 50-month, cost-report
provided by the mining company have been
One of the biggest issues that the new
administration will have to deal with is
pumping water out of the mine. The water
pumped out of the mine is estimated to be
one million m3/year, while the electricity
consumption of the underground pumping
stations is 2,580 MWh/year. The respective
estimated cost per year is 153,400 (given
an electricity price of 59.44 /MWh for
2017). Respective calculations for the annual
pumping maintenance costs indicate that
160,900 will have to be spent every year.
Sludge is another issue at Pyhäsalmi and
the cost of sludge handling is estimated by the
mining company to be 91,325/year. However,
this cost is expected to decrease by about 70
percent when the mining operations cease.
At level 600, water is acidic (pH ~ 2.2). By
summing up the costs for water neutralization,
investment costs of water treatment equipment
and operating costs, a rough approximation of
600,000 is generated.
When it comes to ventilation, costs include
electricity consumption and maintenance for
the fans. When transformed into a research
and training facility, the mine will not have the
same ventilation demand as of a current active
mine. Yet, these costs remain significant.
Further to the ventilation costs,
expenditures are generated for the
maintenance of areas (health and safety
equipment, shaft hoisting, fixed and mobile
equipment, among others). All these costs are
summarized in Table 1.
Taking into consideration all costs
indexes described above, an approximate
total expenditure of 1.2 million/year is
estimated for the mine only. However, this
figure does not include costs associated
with the concentrator and other facilities, or
administration and overheads costs. Given
that the estimated potential revenue from
Minetrain are approximately 1 million/
year (±35 percent), it can be concluded that
an unsustainable balance is created and
educational and research programs are not
feasible on their own.
Nevertheless, it should be mentioned
that the mine is expected to have a few other
significant sources of revenue generated
through Callio Lab’s other activities, which
will contribute to covering the overall running
cost and ensure the sustainability of the future Mınıng engıneerıng october 2019 37
Underground Mining
activities in Pyhäsalmi. But where training
courses and research projects are concerned
for potential revenue, a more detailed structure
of the courses will result in more accurate
economic analysis, and thus strengthen the
future overall value of the research and
training programs.
Pyhäsalmi is an extraordinary asset that is
not only among the deepest mines in Europe,
but also one of the only ones to possess
access ramps that all vehicles can use to reach
the bottom of the shaft. The unique size of
the mine site and its logistical strength has
already seen it earmarked as the potential
base for a number of exciting future ventures.
These include it being a candidate for hosting
training modules for mining professionals.
There are many areas of specialization
in the mining industry that would benefit
from personnel with practical knowledge and
experience gained from training in the real
mining conditions of the Pyhäsalmi Mine.
Such training would benefit potential industry
leaders and managers, mining and mineral
processing engineers, geologists, surveyors,
environmental scientists, machine operators,
truck drivers, electricians, IT experts, health
and safety specialists and others.
The combination of having a test mine
available among with highly-educated
professionals offers an excellent platform
for testing mining equipment as well as
for starting a number of research projects;
thus, attracting the mining industry for
collaboration. In addition to cooperating
with the industry, when established as an
experimental mine, Pyhäsalmi will be able
to attend and develop a worldwide network
among other R&E mines, such as the TU
Bergakademie Freiberg Mine that is also
participating in the Minetrain project. Both
are working toward a continuous collaboration
and evolution of the facilities and organization
skills of experimental and training mine sites.
The transition to a research, educational
and training underground facility is not going
to be easy. Ending production will lower the
revenues significantly, though the costs of
the mine will drop as well. Therefore, careful
and detailed assessments need to be made
to assure the viable operation of Pyhäsalmi
toward the future.
The preliminary estimations discussed in
this paper indicate that the mine site has the
perspectives to sustain itself. Yet, more careful
and precise calculations need to be made.
For this reason, well-structured pilot modules
are being developed through the Minetrain
project, in order to establish a framework for
commercially feasible training programs at the
Pyhäsalmi Mine. n
The authors would like to acknowledge
the financial support received for the
Minetrain research project (2018-2020) from
the European Institute of Innovation and
Technology (EIT), a body of the European
Union under the Horizon 2020, the EU
Framework Program for Research and
1. Bealko, S. B., Aliexander, D. W. & Chasko, L.
L. (2010), “Mine Rescue Training Facility Inventory -
Compendium of Ideas to Improve U.S. Coal Mine Rescue
Training,” NIOSH, Pennsylvania, U.S.
2. Binder, A., Langefeld, O., Mischo, H., Clausen, E.
& von Hartlieb, P. (2018), “Innovative Learning Spaces,”
Mining Report GlückAuf, 154(5): 423-432.
3. Callio Lab (2018), “Underground Center for Science
and R & D” (last accessed 25.10.18)
4. First Quantum Minerals (2018), “Pyhäsalmi”
Pyhasalmi/ (last accessed 26.10.18)
5. Gustafson, A. (2011), “Automation of Load Hoal
Dump Machines,” Research Report, Lulea University
of Technology
diva2:9955 34/FULLTEXT01.pdf (last accessed 26.10.18)
6. Jalas, P., Enqvist, T., Isoherranen, V., Joutsenvaara,
J., Kutuniva, J & Kuusiniemi, P. (2017), “Callio Lab, a new
Deep Underground Laboratory in the Pyhäsalmi Mine,”
Journal of Physics, Conference Series, 888(1): 1-3. Doi:
10.1088/1742-6596/888/1/ 012156
7. Jalas, P., Isoherranen, V., Heikkilä, R., Makkonen,
T., Nevalainen, J. & Fraser, S. J. (2018), “Information
Modeling of an Underground Laboratory for the R&D of
Mining Automation and Tunnel Construction Robotics,”
in Proceedings of the 35th International Symposium on
Automation and Robotics in Construction (ISARC 2018),
20-25 July 2018, Berlin, Germany.
8. Lesko, K. T. (2015). “The Sanford Underground
Research Facility at Homestake (SURF)” Physics Procedia,
61(2015): 542 - 551. Doi: 10.1016/j.phpro .2014.12.001
9. Luukkonen, K. (2011), “Pyhäsalmi Mine – Five
Decades of Profitable Mining,” in Proceedings of the 8th
Fennoscandian Exploration & Mining (FEM 2011), 1-3
November 2011, Levi, Finland.
10. Mischo, H. (2015), “Underground Experimental
Mines for Technology and Mining Equipment Research
and Development,” in Proceedings of the SME Annual
Conference & Expo, 15-18 Feb.2015, Denver, CO, U.S.A.
pp. 368-371
11. Peltoniemi J. (2002), “Future Underground
Laboratory in Finland,” in Klapdor-Kleingrothaus H.V.,
Viollier R.D. (eds) Dark Matter in Astro- and Particle
Physics, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. pp. 575-582. Doi:
12. Sahala, K. (2016), “Pyhäsalmi Mine – A History of
Rock Stresses, Ground Movements, and Ground Control
Management,” in Proceedings of the 7th International
Symposium on In-Situ Rock Stress, 10-12 May 2016,
Tampere, Finland. pp. 248-260.
... In an extremely competitive mining industry, onsite experience is a big advantage. Mining education at the universities all over the world is mostly focused on theoretical studies and laboratory-scale experiments without a possibility of practical training in mine sites, while continuous lifelong learning and direct training in real mining conditions on actual mines or processing plants is limited to none (Barakos et al, 2019;Mischo, 2015). ...
... As aforementioned however, another major challenge for educating specialists in the mining sector is that training sites suitable for practical education, where the skills and know-how could be developed and enhanced are rare worldwide. There are underground facilities and test mines mostly used for research purposes and for testing new mining equipment (Barakos et al, 2019). Yet, when it comes to facilities that combine research, education and training of mining engineering students and of mining industry related professionals, there are only a handful of such mine sites around the world. ...
... Such activities include scientific research and development that will contribute towards the sustainable development and viable use of the mine site. In fact, some research activity is taking place already inside the mine, parallel to mining operations (Barakos et al., 2019). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Training and lifelong learning of mining industry professionals over the value chain of critical raw materials has been recognised worldwide as a challenge for the development of a strong raw materials mining sector. Nevertheless, the number of available mining sites for continuous practical education is limited, while also the specifications for practical training are not clearly defined. As part of the ongoing MINETRAIN research project, a stakeholders' survey has been launched to determine the type of trainees and their needs for practical training. The results are used to develop an on-site multidisciplinary course at the Pyhäsalmi underground mine, in Finland.
Conference Paper
Lifelong development of skills and knowledge of mining professionals has been recognised worldwide as a challenge for the development of a sustainable mining sector. Practical training and learning over the mine value chain are among the key components of this knowledge building. However, the number of available mining sites for continuous education in real-life conditions is limited, while also the specifications for practical training are not clearly defined. The project MINETRAIN has been developed to (i) evaluate the potential of the shortly-closing Pyhäsalmi Mine, in Finland, as an educational and training underground facility, and thus, prolong the utility of the existing modern mine site, and to (ii) develop and test practical training programs for mining and mining industry related professionals. Pyhäsalmi facilities enable training among all disciplines related to the overall mine value chain and hence, the project has potential in providing education for sustainable management of any phase of mining operations. The philosophy underpinning the MINETRAIN approach to mining activities is to assist the clients in minimising the technical and financial risks by providing a competitive and skilled personnel asset while optimising the value drivers in their operations. As a first major step of the project, a pilot training course, involving basic-level online theory and hands-on training at the Pyhäsalmi mine site, was undertaken in summer 2019. Feedback from the pilot test group of mining professionals has proved to be very positive. The comments from the participants highly emphasized the added value of the practical onsite training for improved understanding in the large scale picture of mining on all the value chain. As a second phase of the project a new test course was launched in June 2020. The second MINETRAIN course focuses on new technologies and digitization in mining.
Full-text available
A new underground laboratory, Callio Lab, has been established to manage the non-mining related operations in the Pyhäsalmi mine in Pyhäjärvi, Finland. The very deep laboratory space, called Lab 2 of Callio Lab, has been finished in spring 2016 at the depth of 1430 meters (4100 m.w.e.) and it has the area of approximately 120 m² and the height of 8 meters. We present the structure of Callio Lab and the main technical characteristics of the deep Lab 2. We also review the current activities related to astroparticle and radiation physics, such as EMMA muon observatory and C-14 liquid scintillator research. An Open Call process has been opened to invite new scientific experiments to Callio Lab.
In response to recent mining disasters and new mine rescue team legislation, NIOSH researchers con-ducted meetings across the United States with mine emergency response experts to investigate current needs and issues. Some of the issues include emergency response preparedness, mine rescue contests, real-life training capabilities and training facilities. Many new teams are being formed that must be trained for mine rescue team competitions as well as be ready to respond to a variety of mine emergen-cies, including a fire or explosion, a massive roof collapse, mine inundations or vertical shaft rescue situations. Therefore, it is important that these teams are adequately prepared and trained. This paper presents a summary of domestic and international coal mine rescue training facilities and identifies those that provide unique, real-life and/or state-of-the-art training. Research findings from this report will be used in further NIOSH investigations to improve coal mine rescue training.
The Pyhäsalmi mine will host the first underground laboratory in the Northern Europe. There are lots of free caverns for small and medium size experiments in the old mine 50-1050 m underground, and new facilities can be constructed at the bottom of the new mine at 1410 m underground (4000 mwe). The infrastructure and connections are very good. Currently there are three measurements running, two of them measuring cosmic rays and the third fast neutron background. New experiments are suggested to be placed in the new facilities, including GENIUS, the neutrino factory far detector and a multimuon experiment.
The Sanford Underground Research Facility at Homestake (SURF)
  • K T Lesko
Lesko, K. T. (2015). "The Sanford Underground Research Facility at Homestake (SURF)" Physics Procedia, 61(2015): 542 -551. Doi: 10.1016/j.phpro.2014.12.001 9. Luukkonen, K. (2011), "Pyhäsalmi Mine -Five Decades of Profitable Mining," in Proceedings of the 8th
  • S B Bealko
  • D W Aliexander
  • L L Chasko
Bealko, S. B., Aliexander, D. W. & Chasko, L. L. (2010), "Mine Rescue Training Facility Inventory -Compendium of Ideas to Improve U.S. Coal Mine Rescue Training," NIOSH, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Innovative Learning Spaces
  • A Binder
  • O Langefeld
  • H Mischo
  • E Clausen
  • P Von Hartlieb
Binder, A., Langefeld, O., Mischo, H., Clausen, E. & von Hartlieb, P. (2018), "Innovative Learning Spaces," Mining Report GlückAuf, 154(5): 423-432.
Automation of Load Hoal Dump Machines
  • A Gustafson
Gustafson, A. (2011), "Automation of Load Hoal Dump Machines," Research Report, Lulea University of Technology diva2:9955 34/FULLTEXT01.pdf (last accessed 26.10.18)
Underground Experimental Mines for Technology and Mining Equipment Research and Development
  • K T Lesko
  • K Luukkonen
Lesko, K. T. (2015). "The Sanford Underground Research Facility at Homestake (SURF)" Physics Procedia, 61(2015): 542 -551. Doi: 10.1016/j.phpro.2014.12.001 9. Luukkonen, K. (2011), "Pyhäsalmi Mine -Five Decades of Profitable Mining," in Proceedings of the 8th Fennoscandian Exploration & Mining (FEM 2011), 1-3 November 2011, Levi, Finland. 10. Mischo, H. (2015), "Underground Experimental Mines for Technology and Mining Equipment Research and Development," in Proceedings of the SME Annual Conference & Expo, 15-18 Feb.2015, Denver, CO, U.S.A. pp. 368-371
Pyhäsalmi Mine -A History of Rock Stresses, Ground Movements, and Ground Control Management
  • K Sahala
Sahala, K. (2016), "Pyhäsalmi Mine -A History of Rock Stresses, Ground Movements, and Ground Control Management," in Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on In-Situ Rock Stress, 10-12 May 2016, Tampere, Finland. pp. 248-260.