The last day of this year’s Euro Mine Expo highlighted, among other things, a look into the future with a presentation by Jan Moström, CEO of the Swedish mining company LKAB and a morning meeting focused on how to become a supplier to the mining industry.
Day 3 of Euro Mine Expo started with a morning meeting where vendors and suppliers, could be informed directly from the mining companies about what it takes to become a supplier to the mining industry. The representatives from LKAB, Boliden and Mandalay Resources were all clear on the importance of the focus on safety and the hope for more innovation together with their suppliers.
Jan Moström, CEO & President of Europe’s biggest iron ore producer and one of Sweden’s oldest industrial companies talked about the future of the company. “It’s quite amazing. The past 15-16 years the production of steel has almost doubled. It has been a huge growth in steel capacity.”
Blast furnace pellets are LKAB’s most important product. He says that the market has seen two drivers in the past few years.
“The profitability has slowly increased in the steel business and has increased the demand for high grade ore. If you have profit in the crude steel you produce, you want to produce as much of this steel as possible and to increase the capability of the blast furnace. The other key driver is the environment. To produce all this steel, you use a lot of carbon. To decrease the emission of CO2, you also have the drive to decrease the use of carbon. To achieve this, you must increase the grade of the ore that are used”, says Moström.
The morning meeting was hosted by the municipality of Skellefteå and addressed what requirements the mining industry has and what mines are looking for now and in the future.
Frida Pettersson, Purchasing Manager at Mandalay Resources opened the session by talking about what demands it has on its suppliers. “We depend on good suppliers and are not looking only for the best price. To be a supplier you need financial stability, security of supply and we are also looking for quality and overall performance. But you also must meet our demands, have a high level of service and flexibility.” She also points out that the security aspect is very important. “That’s not up for discussion”.
Björn Stenecker, Chief Procurement Officer, Boliden Mines agrees on the topic of safety: “For us is safety is number one. We will never tolerate suppliers with bad luck. That is a thing we will never deviate from.”
When it comes to innovation, Pettersson wants to see suppliers that want to improve their business. “Help us rethink and show us your innovation projects”.
Stenecker says that he can go on for the remainder of the day in this topic. “Because this is the most important topic of today. How can innovation among the supply base be increased and how can we do this better together? Without innovation, we would not have a mining business in Sweden at all. There are so many different innovations which is the reason to our flourishing business.
He points out that technologies like automation, digitalization, machine learning, robotics are all coming to the industry. “There are plenty of things coming that will suit us up here in the Nordics perfectly and will increase our competitiveness as well as make sure that we can mine cheaper per ton then in for example Chile or Australia. That means that we must be better to utilize our suppliers’ competence and be clearer in what areas we want to see innovation”.
Robert Johansson, Supply Chain Excellence Manager, LKAB: “We have a lot of programs started to modernize our production, because if you don’t you couldn’t survive in the business”.
Stenecker says that many suppliers want them to invest more when times are extremely good, as they are now.
“My job is the exact opposite, because now we need to make good investments that will last when we have bad times. If we make bad decisions today, just because we have the money, it can mean that we are dead in five years.
He also points out that the mining industry represents an extremely stable customer base.
“We want suppliers to stay with us in good times and in bad. Please do not leave us in good times, we will remember it when bad times comes around”, says Stenecker.