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Nordkalk and the circular economy: 100% material efficiency as the goal

Tiina Roine (info a, 17 June 2021

At Nordkalk, resource efficiency and the circular economy are priorities for our strategy. In summary: this means that our goal is 100% material efficiency and maximum utilisation of the by-products of our own production. In addition, we develop new value-added solutions to utilise the lime-based by-products generated from our clients' processes.

As a mining company, our goal is to minimise waste generation and utilise all the materials we extract from the soil. Additionally, by utilising our own or our clients' by-products, we are able to reduce the use of virgin raw materials, keep lime-based products in circulation, and simultaneously significantly reduce the carbon footprint of our products.

 The side streams generated in our own production include the so-called side rock, lime kiln filter dust, and tailings. Nordkalk has a long history of utilising these by-products, and today our material efficiency is already over 90 percent. Additionally, the surplus heat from our lime kilns is utilised in municipal district heating production and the mine water in municipal water production.

 As early as the 1990s, Nordkalk was introducing the first circular economy products to the market, although no one was talking about the circular economy at the time. Now, in the 2020s, the circular economy has become part of the zeitgeist, and with this megatrend, the interest Nordkalk's clients have in circular economy solutions has risen to an entirely new level. In 2020, circular economy products accounted for 13 percent of our total sales volume, and in the coming years we aim to significantly increase this number.

New solutions to replace virgin raw material

Our goal for the future is developing new solutions for all applications where circular economy products can be utilised instead of virgin raw materials.

One example of this is our production of the wollastonite mineral in Lappeenranta, Finland. Nordkalk is the only producer of high-quality wollastonite in Europe, and the product is exported from Lappeenranta to as many as 30 countries around the world. We have already managed to produce wollastonite from a side stream that previously ended up being dumped. As our next step, we have started a project aimed at recovering wollastonite from previously dumped tailings. If successful, about half of our annual production of wollastonite would be based on a circular economy solution. Read more about the wollastonite project.

The circular economy has enormous potential, and it offers solutions for curbing climate change, the use of natural resources, and the loss of nature. Nordkalk is committed to promoting the circular economy in its own operations; now we want to invite our clients to join us on this journey. We know lime, and our expertise is at your service. Let's explore the possibilities of recycling the lime used in your processes together!

Nordkalk Circural economy Moment

The circular economy is an expansive concept; it means moving from a linear consumption model to sharing, renting, and recycling. In a circular economy, materials are utilised efficiently and sustainably, and they remain in circulation safely for a long time.

In the extractive industry, the circular economy typically means more effective utilisation of by-products, and the recovery of minerals from mineral-containing material streams that have previously become waste.

Leader in Northern Europe

Nordkalk is the leading limestone company in Northern Europe. We deliver essential raw materials to numerous industries, and our solutions contribute to clean air and water as well as productivity of agricultural land.