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Terrafame invests in latest Hitachi mining technology

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IMAGE SOURCE: Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) NV

Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) NV (HCME) is pleased to announce the agreement to supply two of the latest EX3600-7 ultra-large excavators and seven EH3500AC-3 rigid dump trucks to the Terrafame mine, near Sotkamo in Finland. The new machines will be fitted with EU stage V emission-compliant MTU engines and replace the multi-metal company’s existing Hitachi fleet in an agreement reached with HCME’s authorised dealer for Finland, Rotator Oy.


The commissioning of the EX3600-7s and EH3500AC-3s will commence in September 2022 and be completed by December 2024. The process will be managed by Rotator, which has supported the mining operation with its parts and technical support team. It has been based on the site since production began in 2008 and is responsible for the maintenance and servicing of the Hitachi fleet.

Currently, Terrafame uses three EX3600-6 backhoe ultra-large excavators to load 13 EH3500ACII rigid dump trucks with ore or overburden, with the former being transported to the 6,000-hectare site’s primary crusher. The subsequent bioleaching and metals extraction process at the Terrafame metals production plant produces nickel, zinc, cobalt and copper, which are suitable for use in stainless steel, corrosion protection and battery applications.

A strong partnership

Hitachi has had an excellent working relationship with the Terrafame mine and Rotator since visiting the site for the first time in 2006 and commissioning the mining equipment two years later. The first EX3600-6 and three EH3600ACIIs from that year have accumulated around 63,000 hours each since then, and these will be the initial products to be replaced. The last machine commissioned on the site was the third EX3600-6 in 2018, which has since averaged approximately 6,600 working hours per annum.

“We are delighted to renew our Hitachi mining equipment through our agreement with Rotator,” says Seppo Voutilainen, Terrafame’s Director of Mining Operations. “The key factors behind this decision were the high level of cooperation we have enjoyed with the dealer for many years and the competitive life-cycle costs of the Hitachi machinery.

“We believe that the strength of our existing partnership will make it easier to renew the excavators and dump trucks over the coming years. In addition, the capability of adapting the new equipment for use with new technologies available within the Hitachi Group not only supports the lifetime value of the equipment, but also helps to manage the carbon footprint of our future production.”

“The investment made by Terrafame highlights the belief that it has in the new series of EX-7 excavators and AC-3 trucks,” says Malcolm Edwards, HCME’s Technical Sales Manager for mining and quarrying. “The latest agreement between Terrafame and Rotator is also indicative of the high utilisation and uptime enjoyed by the existing fleet within the mine.

“I first visited the greenfield site with the dealer representation in 2006 as part of Hitachi’s initial research into the mining plans. Since then, the strength of our partnership has developed with the reliability of the machines, expertise of HCME personnel and excellent after-sales support from Rotator. We would like to thank Terrafame for its ongoing commitment to Hitachi and look forward to working together in the future.”

HITACHI EX3600-7 <br> Image source: Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) NV

Smart mining solutions

Since developing hydraulic excavators with an operating weight of between 159 and 173 tonnes in 1979, Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. (HCM) has continued to respond to the demand for even larger machines. In addition, Hitachi’s rigid dump trucks have been designed to efficiently transport resources that have been excavated at large-scale mines such as Terrafame.

Hitachi’s AC-3 series rigid dump trucks are equipped with smart technologies, which have the capability of being part of HCM’s autonomous haulage system or switching their power source to overhead electric cables for uphill haul roads. With the EX-7 range, Hitachi’s vision of smarter mining excavators is also coming to fruition as they connect with other elements of a mine to create a seamless operating experience.

Hitachi is working with other autonomous mining technologies and services to build an integrated ecosystem, in which everything is interconnected. This will allow data across an operation to be combined and analysed to give valuable insights, as well as reducing associated risks and costs.

In addition, HCM’s remote machine monitoring system, ConSite, connects the Hitachi owner, site and dealer by sending monthly automated operational data reports. Intelligently monitoring each machine, the system sends emergency service and maintenance alerts in real time to improve availability and performance, as well as decrease maintenance costs.

“By consistently providing mines with cutting-edge technology, products and services, Hitachi continues to meet their demands, generate added value for their operations and exceed their expectations,” adds Malcolm. “The advanced technologies from within the Hitachi Group have been refined to offer reliable solutions to the global mining sector.”

Source: Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) NV