High-tech operations creating wealth the world over
The mining sector is crucial for Norrbotten. LKAB has been carrying out mining operations in the region since the end of the 19th century. According to a recent survey, both directly and indirectly, through subcontractors as well as related industries, LKAB has contributed towards the creation of 54,000 jobs in the Cap of the North.
“With its excellent geology and fine ore bodies, Norrbotten offers the best possible conditions for mining activities. LKAB’s objective is to continue mining the world’s best, climate-smart iron ore products,” says Lars-Eric Aaro, President and CEO at LKAB.
LKAB’s products remain in great demand. The Swedish company is the world’s 10th largest producer of iron ore and the second largest producer of pellets.
“Not everyone realises that steel creates prosperity. Iron ore and iron ore products are the foundations for building modern communities, architecture and infrastructure. China, for example, currently produce 50% of the world’s steel, but they do not have their own iron ore. The large European market is also important, and demand looks like remaining high moving forward,” adds Aaro.
When LKAB began mining in Malmfälten at the end of the 19th century, this heralded the start of a great period of development in Norrbotten, with far reaching consequences for the prosperity of the nation as a whole.
“This mega-investment, as it was known, also triggered the widespread expansion of hydro power, as there was a great demand for electricity in industry as well as the new communities which emerged. At the same time, the railway was extended to Kiruna, and on to Narvik, in order to transport iron ore to the coastal ports,” explains Aaro.
LKAB has evolved considerably since then, and the company has established an extensive R&D programme which develops processes and products to face the challenges of the future. This is crucial in order to succeed on a highly competitive market.
“We operate in a high-tech sector where research is constantly taking place at every level. It’s a case of improving efficiency, cutting costs and working towards long-term sustainable development in the sector,” he adds. “The research we carry out in conjunction with Luleå University of Technology and Mefos is of vital significance, both for LKAB and the industry as a whole. Our experimental blast furnace has been instrumental in developing the world’s most environmentally friendly pellets, a crucial step towards sustainable iron production. The cluster which has gradually grown up in Luleå, comprising Mefos, LKAB, SSAB and Luleå University of Technology, is one of the strongest in the world in the field of reduction metallurgy,” he adds.
LKAB retains close links with the University in a number of ways – in education as well as research – a collaboration which includes the joint running of the Hjalmar Lundbom Research Centre (www.hlrc.se).
“This not only benefits LKAB but the entire industry. The company also finances five professorships at Luleå University of Technology. This has strategic significance for the development of the company, the sector and the region as a whole,” says Lars-Eric Aaro.
LKAB in brief
LKAB is a high-tech international minerals group, world leading producer of processed iron ore products for steelmaking, and a growing supplier of mineral products for other industrial sectors. The majority of its iron ore products are sold to European steelworks, while other key markets include North Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. Sales of industrial minerals take place primarily in Europe and to growing markets in Asia and the USA.
Read more at www.lkab.com