Pajala Mine Road Follow-Up Survey detects major pavement failures in places where they were predicted to appear

Northland Resources Ltd opened an iron ore mine in Kaunisvaara in Pajala municipality in Northern Sweden in 2013. Their plan was to annually transport five million tonnes of mined ore concentrate on trucks to a new terminal in Svappavaara from where it would be hauled by train to Narvik harbour in Norway. The ROADEX project was involved before mine was opened in an impact analysis of a range of heavy truck options on the transport route that had relatively weak structures. After the mine was opened Roadscanners performed a follow up survey on selected sections of the route in order to compare the types of damages that appeared on the road.

The follow-up measurements 2013 and 2014 showed that, as was predicted  before the start of the heavy haulage, the surveyed road sections had experienced extensive deformations and damages after the commencement of the heavy traffic. The greatest rutting and damages were located in the areas of highest risk classes 4 and 5, especially in those places where the subgrade changed from strong to weak. In addition to the Mode 2 rutting caused by the weak subgrade, Mode 1 rutting deformation in the base course was also detected in many places. Problems with frost action and thawing of ice lenses were also evident in the sections.

Regrettably the mine was closed in 2014 due to financial difficulties and the follow-up surveys are not expected to continue until the mine re-opens operations.