During 2019, LKAB achieved strong earnings as a result of stable production and favourable market conditions, despite lower delivery volumes.
The annual and sustainability report describes how LKAB creates value, impacts in the value chain, as well as strategic priorities and investments in projects for the transition into a more sustainable industry.
Equipped for the future
During the year, LKAB combined stable production and strong earnings with further steps towards the transition to a more sustainable industry. When asked how to sum up 2019, Jan Moström, President and CEO of LKAB, answered, “2019 was the year in which the whole world woke up to the issue of climate change. The development work that LKAB is driving along with its customers and suppliers is important not just for us. When our partners and we develop processes and technology for carbon-free autonomous mining, as well as processes for carbon-free production of direct-reduced iron, this is of huge significance for Sweden’s climate targets. At a global level, the effect is even more crucial. LKAB is investing significantly in the future, which requires us to be competitive here and now. I am very proud of the work that LKAB’s employees are doing. We are driving change and innovation on all fronts.”
Establish LKAB in the industrial minerals market
LKAB will continue to evaluate value-adding acquisitions, such as the Francis Flower acquisition. “If we make acquisitions, they must be profitable, have a clear sustainability aspect and fit into the Group so that we can utilise our expertise and resources. The same is true of our development projects, where we are looking in particular at how we can add value by processing and developing by-products along the value chain,” says Leif Boström, Senior Vice President LKAB Business Area Special Products.
Therefore, at the same time, we are assessing opportunities to utilise by-products from existing operations. One example of this is the ReeMap project, which has moved into a pilot phase of extracting rare earth elements and phosphorus from the residual products of iron ore mining. During the year, we also began work to develop extraction of vanadium from the iron ore in Svappavaara.
Opportunities involving magnetite
In parallel with this, the division is working to find further applications for the minerals that are already extracted. “We see that there are more uses for our magnetite, for example, such as for storage of solar energy. Surplus energy generated during daylight hours can be stored as heat in the magnetite. During the year we supplied magnetite to a solar farm in Morocco which estimates that the energy stored in our natural mineral could extend the operating period by four hours after the sun has gone down,” says Leif Boström.
Another application area is asphalt. Did you know that today asphalt is heated by burning fossil fuel? It has been calculated that asphalt processing currently accounts for around one per cent of Sweden’s carbon emissions. The collaborative project SMMART (Swedish Magnetite Microwave Asphalt Road Technology) focuses on developing a method of heating asphalt with magnetite and microwave technology.
LKAB Group: Europe’s leading mining and minerals group
LKAB is an international high-tech mining and minerals group that mines and upgrades the unique iron ore of northern Sweden for the global steel market. Sustainability is at the core of our business, and our ambition is to be one of the industry’s most innovative, resource-efficient and responsible companies. The Group’s operations also include industrial minerals, drilling systems, rail haulage, rockwork services and property management.
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