Major Climate Initiative Starts at LKAB Kiruna Iron Ore mine
The mine of the future will be carbon-free, digitalised and autonomous. LKAB’s transformation for a sustainable future involves an initiative that could become Sweden’s largest ever industrial investment but more than that, it’s also the biggest thing Sweden can do to reduce global emissions. LKAB’s Senior Vice President of the Iron Ore business Mr Michael Palo said “It starts in the mine. We are nothing without our ore reserves, and we need to secure and safeguard those for the future. To be profitable long term we need to be constantly exploring new methods and ways of working. It’s about using groundbreaking technology to work at great depths in a sustainable, efficient and safe way. When we’re done, we will reduce carbon emissions among our customers globally by 35 million tonnes. That’s equivalent to two thirds of Sweden’s total emissions. To succeed we need to break new ground as regards how the mining of the future takes place.”
As an important step along the way, LKAB has started an industrial development project along with ABB, Epiroc, Combitech and Sandvik with the aim of setting a new world standard for sustainable mining at great depths. The project calls for a completely new type of collaboration: a digital ecosystem, in which the parties link up both digital systems and operations. A test facility is to be established where new technology will be developed and tested both in a real mine environment and in a virtual test mine. The tests are being carried out to ensure that the Swedish mining industry continues to be competitive in the future, providing jobs and growth both locally in Norrbotten and nationally.
In the work to transform the business, it is crucial that the flow of information is always available and reliable. This enables better and faster decisions to be taken and the degree of automation to be increased. New ways of working are made possible as 3D maps of the mines make it easier to visualise the work and analyse risks. The machinery used in the mine is also becoming more autonomous and interacting more, so staff can track the work going on in the mining area without having to be there – making the operations both safer and more efficient.