Finnish college invests in Lokotrack crushing plant to help address skills shortage in extractive sector
OULU Vocational College (OSAO), one of the biggest vocational schools in Finland, has invested in a fully automated, track-mounted Metso Lokotrack crushing plant at its Taivalkoski unit. The plant will be used as part of a new training programme to help meet the quarrying and mining industry’s growing need for a skilled workforce.
OSAO is the first educational institution in Finland to provide a fully automated mobile crushing plant for its students. The Lokotrack machine will be inaugurated in October this year.
‘We are very pleased that it was Metso, one of the world’s leading crushing equipment providers, who won the bid for this contract,’ commented Kalevi Hirvonen, who manages the project at OSAO Taivalkoski.
‘One key factor in the procurement decision was the provider’s ability to offer a comprehensive educational solution. Metso’s crushing plant is equipped with the industry’s most modern automation, including the Bruno crushing simulation tool, to provide digital learning.’
Jouko Tolonen, area sales manager, mining and construction for Metso, added: ‘Lokotrack has remained a forerunner in track-mounted crushing technology for almost 30 years. We are delighted that our future mining professionals are able to study crushing and screening with the most modern equipment in the field.’
The track-mounted Metso plant at Taivalkoski consists of an LT106 primary crushing unit, an LT200HP secondary crushing unit and an ST3.5 mobile screen. The plant is also equipped with IC series process control, which is integrated into the Metso DNA plant automation system.
In addition to the equipment, Metso’s delivery includes plant automation applications, data collection and reporting, as well as a remote access to the educational institution.
OSAO’s new degree course in mining and quarrying – which started this month – emphasizes working methods, tools and machinery management. The need for this training programme arose around five years ago, when the effects of the mining boom in Finland began to show.
Although the industry is currently witnessing a worldwide downturn, a recent report by the Geological Survey of Finland has predicted strong growth in the country’s mining industry in the decades to come. This would mean an increasing need for a skilled workforce especially in eastern and northern Finland.
Mr Hirvonen said: ‘We believe that the cutting-edge design of this new teaching plant for crushing will not only benefit our school alone, but also all other rock and mining industry training programmes in Finland, from vocational high schools to universities. We have also confidence in Metso’s ability to make sure that our new crushing plant will remain as an excellent reference in crushing education well into the future.’