Ambassador visits LKAB Europe's largest and deepest iron mine

Ambassador visits LKAB Europe's largest and deepest iron mine

Ambassador visits LKAB Europe's largest and deepest iron mine

Ambassador, Mrs. Banashri Bose Harrison, visited Kiruna on March 31-April 1, 2015 to visit Europe's largest and deepest underground iron ore mine owned by the LuossavaaraKiirunavaaraAktiebolag(LKAB), which accounted for 90% of Europe's iron production. She was accompanied on her visit by Mr. Bo Krogvig, Senior Adviser, Public Affairs. She was first given a briefing by Mr. Krogvig and Mr. Anders Holstenson, Production Manager, who informed her that LKAB was one of the world's leading suppliers of iron ore pellets to the global steel industry. The iron ore available in Sweden is 60-70% pure and magnetized and after it undergoes various processes, it is exported as pellets which are not only produced in an energy-efficient manner but also require less energy when used to make steel. She was told that the mine never stopped and there were four shifts.  To give her an idea of the volume of production, Mr Holstenson told her that with one day's drilling of iron ore in the LKAB mine, six Eifel Towers could be built.  She was told about LKAB's proud history and the different mines that LKAB owns viz., Kiruna, Malmberget and Svappavaara.  Later Ambassador was taken on a visit of the mine. At the level of 550 metres underground, she was shown a documentary about LKAB in the very same auditorium, where the Arctic Council meeting was held in May, 2013 in which India was elected as an Observer.     Ambassador was then taken deeper to the level of 1365 metres underground and briefed in detail about the various processes involved in mining of iron ore and its purification. She was very impressed with the efficiency and organization as well as the concern for environmental sustainability.

 After the mine visit, she met the President and Chief Executive Officer of LKAB, Mr. Lars-Eric Aaro who made a presentation giving an over-view of LKAB's activities and priorities including product quality, differentiation through world class R &D both in iron making as well as agglomeration ie. Pelletization. He told her about LKAB's special Rolling screen technology for which it controls the IP and which contributes to energy-efficient refining. He explained that the LKAB pellets were designed so that oxygen could be taken out quicker leading to quicker liquefaction of iron. This was the basis for the company's motto, 'Performance in Iron making'. The total turnover of LKAB in 2014 was US Dollars 3 billion and it was exporting 400 vessels of iron ore per year through the Luleå port and they are and 200 through Narvik port to different destinations in Europe, the US and Asia. He proudly told the Ambassador that said that the energy consumption of the supply chain from LKAB mine in Kiruna to Luleå port was one of the lowest in the world. For instance, it was one-seventh of the comparable figure for Brazil. This is why LKAB describes its product as the 'green pellet'.

He informed her that India's Tata Steel and Arcelor Mittal together accounted for about 30% of the company's sales at present.  In response to a question from the Ambassador, Mr. Aaro informed her that 20% of LKAB employees were women. 

The Ambassador was very impressed with the efficiency and sustainability of LKAB's production processes as well as its excellent safety record and enquired whether it could offer consultancy, training and collaboration in R & D in the area of iron making, which was so important and critical for India's development. Mr.Lars-Eric Aaro appreciated her interest and said that LKABwas interested in at dialogue on the matters. Ambassador said that if LKAB found that it needed more technical and scientific manpower, it could establish bilateral cooperation with one of the Indian Institutes of Technology and bring Indian engineers to Kiruna for undertaking collaborative R & D in iron mining technology.

 Mr. Lars-Erik Aaro also briefed the Ambassador about the great challenge that lay ahead of LKAB at present - that of moving the Kiruna city centre in order to mine deeper. Next day morning Ambassador was given a more detailed briefing on this interesting issue by Mr. Anders Lundgren, Development Manager who was responsible for the Urban Transformation project and shown around the present city as well as the planned new model town.