ABB has signed a long-term agreement with LKAB to provide service to 12 mine hoists and, now, hoisting motors at the Kiruna iron ore mine in northern Sweden.
ABB has provided LKAB Kiruna with maintenance and hoist cycle optimisation to maximise efficiency and increase capacity at the mine since 2010. The new contract extends these services to the end of 2023, plus adds hoisting motors into the mix, with an agreement that LKAB may sign up for a further three years on a rolling basis, ABB says.
Most of the ore mined at Kiruna is at depths of more than 1 km, with large solid slabs of iron ore extending several hundreds of meters down into the ground. Local ABB engineers, supported by ABB globally, have worked on site at Kiruna to increase hoist capacity through a reduced hoist cycle time to optimise production. They have improved equipment use, balancing capacity and wear and tear of the hoist equipment, the company said.
Peter Ylivainio, Senior Maintenance Engineer at LKAB, said: “LKAB places great emphasis on refining every element of the underground mining process, in order to make it as efficient as possible. Mining ore at great depths is a logistical challenge that places demands for a well-functioning infrastructure and safe and resource-efficient production, with well-developed production methods and processes vital. We have a long successful relationship with ABB and their local presence, global expertise and remote operations technology support our goals.”
Erik Kjellgren, Strategic Account Manager, ABB, said: “This new agreement means ABB will ensure optimal capacity, greater efficiency, lower energy consumption and extended equipment lifecycles across control systems, motors, drives as well as the hoists up to 2023 and beyond. Our experienced team of engineers provides regular support to LKAB and we look forward to seeing increased benefits for our customer in terms of insights and actions to optimize equipment performance.”
The hoists are the main artery of the production flow at the Kiruna mine as they raise the ore hundreds of meters from the sublevel to ground level. Their continuous operation is critical for safety and to prevent costly interruptions to production, according to ABB. LKAB’s extended service agreement with ABB is designed to ensure the maximum reliability and availability for the hoist control system, motors and drives located both above and below ground.