LKAB collaborates to reduce environmental impact

LKAB processes iron ore from two of the world's deepest underground mines. The goal is to achieve a CO2-free value chain by 2045. 

Through several ongoing projects, LKAB is investing to reach carbon neutrality. One of them is Sustainable Underground Mining (SUM), where LKAB, Epiroc, Volvo, ABB and Combitech aim to set a new world standard for mining underground.

– We have established a test mine in Kiruna where we try out new management systems and developed mining equipment. What is found in the test facility will be implemented in our upcoming production systems step by step, says Bo Krogvig, director of communications at LKAB.

LKAB is also part of the HYBRIT project, where LKAB together with SSAB and Vattenfall is collaborating to achieve fossil-free steel production by 2035. In one of LKAB’s pelletising plants in Malmberget, bio-oil produced from forestry residues will be tested as a replacement for fossil fuel oil.
Provided that adequate quantities of bio-oil are available, this shift away from fossil fuels could mean that carbon dioxide emissions from the operation in Malmberget will be reduced by up to 40 percent during the test period, thus preventing 60 000 tonnes of emissions per year.

– The solutions of the future are not yet invented. LKAB does not possess all the knowledge and experience on our own, that is why it is so important to cooperate in order to solve problems. To LKAB, investing in sustainability is a matter of survival, says Bo Krogvig.

Raw materials manufacturing marks the beginning of the value-chain in many other industries, which is why LKAB puts significant pressure on others down the value-chain to ensure they minimize environmental impacts. A by-product of LKAB’s iron manufacturing is Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (GGBS), which can replace around 70 percent of the content in a concrete mix. This could be used as a partial cement replacement in a variety of projects.

– Besides steel production, concrete mixes are one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide. Our product GGBS helps to form a next-generation cement that reduces damage to the environment. We have already started producing this for clients in the United Kingdom.

One important success factor for LKAB operating in the north of Sweden is the relationship with the Luleå Tekniska Universitet, LTU.
– Over the years, we have jointly conducted a large number of development projects that were of great importance to LKAB. LTU is also an important recruitment base for LKAB, says Bo Krogvig.

– For more than 6 decades, companies like LKAB have come to Norrbotten to benefit from such co-operation and partnerships. Here we are able to bring together in one place the right natural conditions to test innovations, backed by strong research centres and technical experts, all powered by sustainable energy sources, says Jörgen Eriksson, CEO for Invest In Norrbotten.

LKAB was one of the keynote speakers at Demo North Summit, 26-28/2 2020. The event was an activity within the project “Demo North”, owned by Invest in Norrbotten and financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the County Council of Norrbotten and Sparbanken Nord. 

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