Outokumpu Mineral Processing Pilot Plant and Laboratories - GTK Mintec

Global Research and Innovation Platform for Mineral Processing and Circular Economy

Mineral Processing pilot plant and research laboratories for minerals, ores, and circular economy materials. Focus is on critical raw materials, battery minerals and base metals from primary and secondary sources.

The main purpose of the GTK Mintec pilot plant and laboratories is to develop innovations for mineral grinding and beneficiation processes and to provide research services for different industries.

  • Supporting customers in pre-feasibility and feasibility study phases
  • Extensive studies on tailings management, re-mining (processing) and process water recyclability
  • Closurematic SW tool available for mine closure

Customers operate mainly in the mining, chemistry and metal industries. Ecological aspects are a central part of our research operations, and the environment is taken into account throughout our processes.

Comprehensive service chain for mineral production

=> Mineralogy & geometallurgy => mineral processing => process water treatment => tailings management

GTK Mintec pilot plant and laboratories provide comprehensive services that allow testing the entire production process needed to utilise a mineral deposit at the scale required by the issue being researched.


  • Mineralogical research and geometallurgy
  • Bench-scale testing for beneficiation
  • Continuous minipilot- and pilot-scale test runs
  • Unit operation testing in the pilot plant
  • Full process testing in the pilot plant
  • Evaluation of the commercial potential of a mineral deposit based on test results
  • Environment and recycling studies

Mineralogical analysis used as a basis for the development of beneficiation methods

The main emphasis of the Outokumpu unit’s mineralogy research is on process mineralogy. Mineralogical analysis has become an essential tool in developing new beneficiation methods, among other things. Our modern Mineral Liberation Analyser (MLA) equipment especially has introduced new opportunities of characterising mineral products and environmental samples in ore prospecting, mining activities, beneficiation technology and smelting plants.

Laboratory research enables small-scale testing for different phases of production

Our mineral processing laboratory’s capabilities include process chemistry research as well as grinding and beneficiation testing. Process chemistry research includes, for example, determining hydrophobicity and electrode potential.

In beneficiation method research our focus is in flotation. Research on gravity and magnetic separation and thickening is also conducted as laboratory studies.

After the bench-scale testing, developed in our laboratory, the viability of the methods used in a beneficiation process can be further assessed with minipilot- or pilot-scale tests. The feeding capacity of a minipilot run is usually 10–50 kg/h with a sample size of 400–2,000 kilogrammes. The minipilot equipment can be transported to the customer’s location if needed.

Minerals that are difficult to process can be extracted from ore by hydrometallurgical leaching. We have testing facilities suitable both for normal and high-pressure leaching. Bioleaching has also been used to extract base metals, for example.

Our laboratory testing provides our customers with a preliminary overview of the process required to process their mineral deposit.

The pilot plant allows for flexible testing of an entire process or optimising a part of it
Our pilot plant services include multiple unit operations that can be easily combined into a functional full-scale process suitable for our customer’s needs. Process control and its data compilation are based on a modern process control system.

Our key unit operations

  • Crushing
  • Grinding
  • Classification
  • Gravity, heavy medium and magnetic separation
  • Flotation
  • Thickening

The sample amount required for test runs is typically 50–500 tonnes and feeding capacity is approximately 0.2–5 t/h.

Results from test runs indicate the commercial value and process efficiency of a mineral deposit
A pilot plant test run and its results provide us with an overview on how efficient a full-scale beneficiation process will be and an estimate on the commercial value of the mineral deposit. Pilot plant testing also produces intermediate and end products, such as concentrates and tailings, that can be used in further studies.

Assisting in developing key solutions for the circular economy

The applicability of mineral processing methods to environmental and recycling-related operations has been proven by several studies. The processes used to extract minerals from ore can be used in the remediation of contaminated soil and separating recyclable metals from industrial slag, for example.

Customer Stories

GTK Mintec is FinnCobalt’s Trusted Partner for Mineral Processing Tests at the Hautalampi Mine

“The Hautalampi mine is only a kilometre away from GTK Mintec’s pilot plant and research environment. Other service providers can only be found in Canada and Australia. GTK Mintec is also Europe’s leading provider of mineral processing tests". –Markus Ekberg, CEO, FinnCobalt

Read more

Otanmäki Mine Oy – A new life for an old mine

"No other service provider in Finland, nor Europe, has similar extensive testing and research services for the beneficiation process such as GTK Mintec. GTK’s operations are trusted to such an extent that having GTK as a partner is also a strong signal for investors and gives credibility to the project". – Jouko Jylänki, CEO, Otanmäki Mine Oy

Read more

Research methods

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    Asse Marjasvaara
    Business Development Manager
    +358 29 503 5801

    Jouko Nieminen
    Head of Unit, Circular Economy Solutions
    +358 29 503 2180