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80 million is invested in more sustainable mining

Published: 22 September 2021

LKAB will invest SEK 80 million kronor in research towards sustainable mining, with the goal, carbon dioxide-free processes and products by 2045. Half of the sum is invested in collaboration in four different research projects together with Luleå University of Technology, the leading university in applied research and education in mining and metallurgy, in Sweden and the Nordic countries.

– Since the start of Luleå University of Technology, and especially during recent decades, LKAB has been our strongest partner. We are very pleased to be entrusted to participate in the green transition which LKAB has now begun. This is also well in line with the university's strategy for future autonomous, efficient and sustainable mine operation,  Daniel Johansson says, Professor of Mining and Rock Engineering, at Luleå University of Technology.

For increased safety and reduced carbon dioxide emissions

Research assignments will commence immediately and continue until the close of 2024. Research work will be conducted mainly within the areas of underground transportation and energy efficiency, as well as risk management for increased safety awareness.

– To improve safety, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and to increase productivity in our mines is vital for LKAB to be able to continue to deliver climate-efficient iron ore products. This is one of many steps toward the achievement of our objectives, Jordi Puig says, Head of Mining Technology, LKAB.

Four projects at Luleå University of Technology

Luleå University of Technology will contribute in four different research areas within the LKAB-related investment in a digitized, automated and carbon dioxide-free mine. In total, the contribution at Luleå University of Technology concerns nine senior researchers, a number of PhD students and post-docs, who together will create benefits for both mining-related research and education. The four projects are:

  • Evaluation of alternative mining methods, includes optimizing mining transportation processes with regards to the integration of new equipment and search for improvements in productivity, energy consumption and process efficiency of the mining operation.
  • Improve productivity and energy efficiency on ore loading productivity, where the project's goal is, among other things, to improve and evaluate new loading criteria in various potential production scenarios.
  • Strategies for mining at great depths to manage seismic risks with the new mining layout, the researchers develop a prediction tool for seismic hazard evaluation, and methods for evaluating the effects of mining and see the possibilities of predicting seismic events.
  • Alternative transport systems for the mining industry, here the reserachers will, among other things, investigate completely new alternative transport systems for the mining industry in order to efficient material handling underground.

Daniel Johansson is very positive about the focus of the projects at Luleå University of Technology.

– The focus and ambitions of the research projects are just in the right time, as we now move towards new sustainable goals which also involves great technical ambitions. We look forward to contributing to this technology shift, where the safety are put highest on the agenda – from staff safety to environmental footprints, Daniel Johansson says.

The research results are freely shared

As part of LKAB's collaboration project to create a digitalized, automated and carbon-dioxide-free mine, the company has engaged in regular dialogue with academia earlier in the year, the decision was taken to fund ten different research assignments. In addition to Luleå University of Technology, collaborations take place with Örebro University and Mälardalen University and discussions with several other universities have been initiated. 

– This initiative supports our strategy to set a new world standard for mining. Researchs findings will be shared "open source" with our partners ABB, Combitech, Epiroc and Sandvik and eventually also with other companies”, says Jordi Puig.

Participating senior researchers at Luleå University of Technology in Mining and Rock Engineering: Bartlomiej Skawina, Senior Lecturer, Jenny Greberg, Associate Professor, Fredrik Sundqvist,Adjunct University Lecturer, Anna Gustafson, Associate Professor, Håkan Schunnesson, Professor, Ping Zhang, Associate Professor, Savka Dineva, Professor, Nikolaos Petropoulos, Senior Lecturer, Daniel Johansson, Professor