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Technological and process development

LKAB’s future is dependent on our ability to pursue technological and process development. LKAB is facing a number of challenges. In the future, ore will have to be mined at even greater depths on an even larger scale but at lower costs. New and more complex minerals will have to be processed to LKAB’s exacting quality standards, and those of our customers. We will have to make even more efficient use of energy. Fossil fuels have to be phased out. The impact we have on the environment and the climate will have to be reduced. Logistics and transportation to our ports will have to become even more competitive. Increased digitalization will permeate all processes. Our working methods must be characterised by efficiency, commitment and innovation.

LKAB tends to source raw materials from the world’s deepest underground mines for iron ore. That is a technical and financial challenge in itself. In order to be able to continue producing and processing the raw material from the market’s deepest mines for the market’s most sought after iron ore products, LKAB has to be at the forefront of technological development. LKAB is a company that has been driving technological innovation for more than 125 years. Increasing awareness and ongoing product development are a fundamental precondition and market condition. We are now taking the next step.

In terms of our future development, our main strategic focus is LKAB 5.0. This describes where we want to be by 2030, having developed from good to best. The foundation for this development strategy is continuing to develop what we know about our deposits and designing an infrastructure for the future that can serve as the basis for a future production system. 

With Mine 5.0 our focus is on mining after 2030. This requires a significant evolutionary change in the design of mining, logistics and infrastructure, compared with the mines of today. Technology and methods both have to be more efficient than at present. The ore will have to be mined at even greater depths, which leads to challenges in terms of efficiency, safety, volume and costs.

Processing 5.0 has to follow the same pattern. We have to make maximum use of plants and optimise investments. Other major challenges we face involve new and more complex minerals. Product development is continuing with new types of blast furnace pellets and direct reduction (DR) pellets that meet customers’ increasingly stringent demands. LKAB is also contributing to work on Hybrit, a future steel making process that is free from fossil fuels. This may, in turn, make new demands of the raw material, iron ore pellets and future processing operations.

Logistics 5.0 will review the entire transport system from mines and railways to the ports in two stages, up to 2030 and after 2030. The next generation of locomotives and wagons will feature automation, be more energy efficient and have an increased axle load. There will also be construction of double tracks along Malmbanan.