Tag Archives: Jan Moström

HYBRIT partners choose Gällivare for fossil-free sponge iron demonstration plant

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall say they are taking a new, decisive leap forward in their work on HYBRIT, with the trio selecting Gällivare, in northern Sweden, as the location of the first production plant for its fossil-free sponge iron exercise.

Industrialisation is intended to start with the first demonstration plant, which will be ready in 2026, for the production of 1.3 Mt of fossil-free sponge iron in Gällivare. The demonstration plant will be integrated with iron pellet making and is part of LKAB’s transition plan.

The goal is to expand sponge iron production to a full industrial scale of 2.7 Mt by 2030 to be able to supply SSAB, among others, with feedstock for fossil-free steel. The choice of Gällivare for the demo plant was based on a joint assessment of industrial synergies, where proximity to iron ore, logistics, an electricity supply and energy optimisation were important factors, the companies said.

There are many advantages to locating the new sponge iron plant in Gällivare, which is also near LKAB’s mining production and processing plants. Using iron ore pellets that are already warm in the process will save huge amounts of energy, according to the companies. On top of this, 30% of weight will be eliminated from transport since hydrogen gas will be used to remove the oxygen in the iron ore. Gällivare also offers good access to fossil-free electricity from Vattenfall.

Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO at SSAB (centre), said: “We are world leaders in the work to transform the steel industry and are now stepping up the pace. We are doing this for the climate, customers, competitiveness and for employment. That we are now raising ambitions for a completely fossil-free value chain is unique and a message of strength from SSAB and our HYBRIT partners. We are seeing a clear increase in demand for fossil-free steel and it is right to speed up our ground-breaking cooperation.”

Jan Moström, President and CEO at LKAB (left), said the companies are leading the transformation of the iron and steel industry.

“The whole process starts with top quality iron ore in the mine and our transition plan gives strong economies of scale that pave the way for the competitive production of fossil-free steel by our customers,” he said. “This is the greatest thing we can do together for the climate. Once we are ready, we will reduce the global emissions of our customers by 35 Mt a year, which is equivalent to triple the effect of parking all passenger cars in Sweden for good.”

At the same time as announcing the Gällivare demo plant, SSAB and LKAB have agreed to deepen their partnership to create the “most effective fossil-free steel value chain from mine to steel, to customer”, they said.

“We will support and enable each other’s transformation, with Vattenfall an enabler of the huge need for electricity and hydrogen gas,” they said. “On the back of an acceleration of HYBRIT, together with LKAB’s strategy and deeper partnership, SSAB will now explore the prerequisites to convert to fossil-free steel production in Luleå faster than planned.”

The plan to convert its Oxelösund steel works in 2025 remains unchanged, as does its goal to be the first to market, in 2026, with fossil-free steel, SSAB clarified.

Anna Borg (right), President and CEO at Vattenfall, added: “Sweden and HYBRIT have a world-leading position in making fossil-free iron- and steelmaking a reality and the initiative will now be further scaled up. That fossil-free electricity and ground-breaking processes will in principle help to eliminate climate-affecting emissions completely from iron- and steelmaking is a flagship example of Vattenfall’s strategy to enable a fossil-free life within a generation. It is now extra important that the permit processes can deliver at the same pace as fossil-free steelmaking.”

Hybrit Development AB, which is owned by SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, is developing the technology to make steel using hydrogen gas instead of coal, which will minimise climate harmful carbon dioxide emissions from production. The HYBRIT pilot plant will be able to make fossil-free sponge iron to make fossil-free steel for prototypes to customers already in 2021.

The partners claim the initiative has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10% in Sweden and 7% in Finland, as well as contribute to cutting steel industry emissions in Europe and globally.

LKAB plots carbon-free pathway with direct reduced iron switch

LKAB has presented its new strategy for the future, setting out a path to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from its own processes and products by 2045, while securing the company’s operations with expanded mining beyond 2060.

Jan Moström, President and CEO of LKAB, said the plan represented the biggest transformation in the company’s 130-year history, and could end up being the largest industrial investment ever made in Sweden.

“It creates unique opportunities to reduce the world’s carbon emissions and for Swedish industry to take the lead in a necessary global transformation,” he said.

The strategy sets out three main tracks for the transformation:

  • New world standard for mining;
  • Sponge iron (direct reduced iron) produced using green hydrogen will in time replace iron ore pellets, opening the way for a fossil-free iron and steel industry; and
  • Extract critical minerals from mine waste: using fossil-free technology to extract strategically important earth elements and phosphorous for mineral fertiliser from today’s mine waste.

The transformation is expected to require extensive investments in the order of SEK10-20 billion ($1.2-2.3 billion) a year over a period of around 15 to 20 years within LKAB’s operations alone. The company said the new strategy was a response to market developments in the global iron and steel industry, “which is undergoing a technology shift”.

The move could cut annual carbon dioxide emissions from the company’s customers worldwide by 35 Mt, equivalent to two thirds of Sweden’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions, it said.

Developments under the HYBRIT project, in which SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall are collaborating on a process to enable the reduction of steel from iron ore using hydrogen instead of carbon, will be keenly observed following the miner’s announcement.

On top of this collaboration, LKAB is working with Sandvik, ABB, Combitec, Epiroc and several other industry leaders to develop the technology that will enable the transition to fossil-free, autonomous mines, it said.

Moström added: “The market for iron and steel will grow and, at the same time, the global economy is shifting towards a carbon-free future. Our carbon-free products will play an important part in the production of railways, wind farms, electric vehicles and industrial machinery.

“We will go from being part of the problem to being an important part of the solution.”

The market for steel is forecasted to grow by 50% by 2050. This growth will be achieved by an increase in the upgrading of recycled scrap in electric arc furnaces, according to LKAB. Today, the iron and steel industry accounts for more than a quarter of industrial emissions and for 7% of the world’s total carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to an IEA report.

The company said: “The global market price for recycled scrap is now twice that of iron ore pellets. The carbon-free sponge iron that will in time replace iron ore pellets as LKAB’s main export product is suitable for arc furnaces, allowing the company to offer industries throughout the world access to carbon-free iron.”

Moström said the switch from iron ore pellets to carbon-free sponge iron was an important step forward in the value chain, increasing the value of its products at the same time as giving customers direct access to “carbon-free iron”.

“That’s good for the climate and good for our business,” he said. “This transformation will provide us with good opportunities to more than double our turnover by 2045.”

During the transformation period, LKAB will supply iron ore pellets in parallel with developing carbon-free sponge iron.

To reach the new strategy’s goals, rapid solutions must be found for various complex issues, according to the company. These include permits, energy requirements and better conditions for research, development and innovation within primary industry.

Moström said: “Our transformation will dramatically improve Europe’s ability to achieve its climate goals. By reducing emissions primarily from our export business, we will achieve a reduction in global emissions that is equivalent to two-thirds of all Sweden’s carbon emissions. That’s three times greater than the effect of abandoning all cars in Sweden for good.

“It’s the biggest thing we in Sweden can do for the climate.”

Göran Persson, Chairman of the Board of LKAB, said: “What Swedish industry is now doing, spearheaded by LKAB, is to respond to the threatening climate crisis with innovation and technological change. In doing so, we are helping to secure a future for coming generations. This will also create new jobs in the county of Norrbotten, which will become a hub in a green industrial transformation. Succeeding in this will create ripples for generations to come. Not just here, but far beyond our borders.

“Now we are doing, what everyone says must be done.”

Sandvik enters LKAB-led SUM project as Volvo Group departs

Sandvik has joined the Sustainable Underground Mining (SUM) project being run by LKAB at the same time as the Volvo Group has exited the Sweden-based collaboration.

The moves come as the iron ore miner looks to “further strengthen a joint endeavour towards sustainable underground mining at great depths”, it said.

To develop the digitalised, autonomous and carbon-dioxide-free mine of the future, in collaboration with other globally leading Swedish companies, LKAB initiated SUM in 2018.

After 2030, LKAB must be ready to mine iron ore deeper in the mines in Kiruna and Malmberget, in northern Sweden. For this, one of Sweden’s biggest industrial investments ever, decisions will have to be taken in the mid-2020s.

“This type of strategic collaboration project is very complex, each company contributes its specific expertise, and the partners will link together both digital systems and operations,” LKAB says. “Providing unique possibilities for SUM, the test mine, Konsuln, in Kiruna will serve as a real mine environment where technology, machines and working methods will be tested.”

Sandvik will be joining LKAB, Epiroc, ABB and Combitech in trying to achieve this goal. The Volvo Group’s earlier partnership in SUM will now take the form of other collaboration with LKAB, the miner said.

Jan Moström, President and CEO of LKAB, said: “In the coming years, LKAB must have a solution in place to be able to mine iron ore at depths approaching or exceeding 2,000 m in a cost-effective way by employing technology that is safe, autonomous, electrified, digitalised and carbon-dioxide-free.

“To enable this, collaboration with other leading industrial companies will be decisive. Sandvik’s longstanding experience of producing underground vehicle systems will complement the ongoing work in an important way.”

Stefan Widing, President and CEO Sandvik, said: “LKAB has used automated equipment from Sandvik for many years and we look forward to the opportunity to extend our collaboration and introduce new and advanced solutions that will set an industry standard.”

Epiroc and Sandvik will be relied on for battery-powered, autonomous and efficient mining equipment and related solutions that will ensure improved productivity and safety in LKAB’s mines. ABB’s role is to contribute knowledge and solutions for electrification, automation, service and maintenance. Combitech, meanwhile, will bring broad expertise and experience when it comes to connecting autonomous processes and people via so-called digital ecosystems.

LKAB says significant progress has been made on the project to date, including:

  • Successful establishment of the test mine, Konsuln, in Kiruna, where testing is carried out in a real mine environment;
  • An integration and collaboration platform, ‘LOMI’ (LKAB Open Mine Integrator) has been developed to enable an open systems architecture whereby all partners can develop modules and solutions that work together;
  • ABB has delivered ABB Ability System 800xA, the control-room console Extended Operation Workplace and a “Collaboration table” for visualising key functions and key figures in the mine, allowing the operator to monitor and control equipment in the best, most sustainable way. The ambition is that everything that is done in the test mine can be approved, planned and controlled via a project office at surface level, so that underground work can be done more efficiently;
  • Epiroc has delivered the drill rig Easer L and Scooptram ST18 LHD, both equipped for automation functionality, for the test mine, and operators and service personnel have been trained. The Easer L, commissioned in 2019, has shown good results in drilling over 50-m-long holes in the test mine, which is an important step for planning the future mine layout. For the loader, during Autumn 2020, the plan is to conduct tests with increasing complexity in terms of automation and interoperability; and
  • Combitech has delivered new solutions for systems platforms on an ongoing basis together with LKAB’s IT department. The aim is to synchronise new technology with existing systems.

In March 2020, the “Testbed for integrated, efficient and carbon-dioxide-free mining systems”, a part of SUM, received funding amounting to 207 million Swedish kronor ($23 million) from the Swedish Energy Agency.

LKAB plots path for fossil-free industrial mine waste recycling park

LKAB says it is planning a fossil-free industrial park for recycling mine waste and producing critical raw materials.

In the ReeMAP project, of which the aim is to develop technology for recycling mine waste, LKAB also plans to produce input materials, including hydrogen, and to electrify processes and, thereby, virtually eliminate carbon dioxide emissions in mine-waste recycling.

Ibrahim Baylan, Sweden’s Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation, comments: “LKAB continues to develop Sweden’s strengths as an innovative nation. ReeMAP is an important initiative to utilise today’s mine waste, leading to increased circularity and contributing to the green transition with both phosphorus and rare earth elements.”

ReeMAP will apply fossil-free processes for recycling mine waste (tailings) from LKAB’s iron ore production and upgrade it to phosphorus products and rare earth elements; products which, owing to import dependency and their economic importance, are classed by the EU as critical raw materials. In addition, gypsum and fluorine products will also be produced at the industrial park, through the hydro chemical processes.

As part of the ReeMAP project, LKAB has already started producing apatite concentrate from mine waste in a pilot plant.

A “pre-study” for the park is to be completed in 2021, with full production, following environmental permitting and construction, estimated to be achievable by 2027.

The planned recycling of mine waste will entail a circular business model and improve resource utilisation, since all valuable minerals will be extracted, according to LKAB. Residual mine waste will continue to be landfilled.

“Thanks to electrification, the process will be almost entirely free of carbon dioxide emissions,” the company said. “Certain minor emissions may arise, due to the release of chemically-bound carbon in apatite (bound in remnants of calcite mineralisation).”

Production of mineral fertiliser will result in a reduction of 700,000 t of carbon dioxide emissions (corresponding to 1% of Sweden’s emissions in 2019), as compared with the alternative of increasing production of mineral fertiliser using conventional technology, it said.

Leif Boström, Senior Vice President for LKAB’s Business Area Special Products, said the investment in the fossil-free industrial park amounted to several billion Swedish kronor.

“The industrial park will be a centre for chemical engineering where innovative technology is used to recover valuable resources,” he said. “Here, we will set a global standard for clean products, energy efficiency and emissions.”

LKAB said: “In agriculture, high crop yields are made possible by the addition of plant nutrients in the form of phosphate fertiliser. As much as half of all agricultural production is dependent on fertilisers. The purity of the product is also important. For example, the phosphate fertiliser LKAB plans to produce will be free of cadmium, a hazardous substance which is contained in some of the material imported into the EU. Rare earth elements are used in many high-tech products, for example, permanent magnets for electric vehicles and wind turbines.”

ReeMAP’s Project Manager, Ulrika Håkansson, explains that several challenges related to technological development, localisation and industrialisation must be addressed.

“We will need up to 50 ha to accommodate our facilities,” Håkansson said. “A railway line and port access are also important, since we plan to ship as much as a million tonnes of product a year. Production, especially hydrogen production, will be energy intensive. We are now looking at all of these requirements and conditions for possible localisation in Luleå, Skellefteå and Helsingborg.”

Jan Moström, President and CEO for LKAB, explains the importance of ReeMAP for LKAB’s strategy and future: “We have an ambition to be one of the most innovative, resource-efficient and responsible mining companies in the world. Through our development projects SUM, HYBRIT and now ReeMAP, we have assumed a global leadership role for industrial transformation and to provide the world with tomorrow’s resources.”

The European Union is tomorrow launching the European Raw Materials Alliance with LKAB as a partner. The aim is to increase the union’s degree of self-sufficiency in critical raw materials. Initially, the alliance will focus on rare earth elements.

Via ReeMAP, LKAB will have potential to produce 30% of the current EU requirement for these materials, it says.

HYBRIT hydrogen storage facility finds financial backing

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have agreed to invest SEK150 million ($15.2 million) on construction of a storage facility for hydrogen at the HYBRIT pilot plant for fossil-free steel.

The funding, which comes on top of the Swedish Energy Agency’s close to SEK50 million pledge, is an important step towards the goal of fossil-free iron and steel production, the HYBRIT joint venture partners said.

The HYBRIT initiative began in 2016. By using fossil-free electricity and hydrogen instead of coke and coal in steel production, the emissions will be water instead of carbon dioxide. The initiative has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by 10%, according to company estimates.

The plan is to build the new hydrogen gas storage facility 25-35 m below the ground surface on LKAB’s land in Svartöberget, Sweden, close to the pilot plant currently under construction on SSAB’s site in Luleå. Construction of the 100 cu.m storage facility is expected to start in 2021 and it will operate from 2022-2024. It is expected to be a pressurised hydrogen gas storage facility in a bedrock cavern with a steel lining as a sealing layer.

The implementation study for the HYBRIT initiative showed large-scale storage of hydrogen gas can play an important role in Sweden’s future energy system. As well as acting as a buffer to ensure an even flow to the steel production, a large-scale hydrogen gas storage facility would offer a better opportunity to balance the electricity system with a greater proportion of weather-dependent power generation, and enable a competitive production cost for the fossil-free steel, according to the project partners.

Magnus Hall, Vattenfall’s President and CEO, said: “I am very pleased that we, as partners, are step by step developing our joint fossil-free steel project, and the support from the Swedish Energy Agency is important.

“Now, with the support of the community, we are investing in the next piece of the jigsaw puzzle for a value chain in which hydrogen gas plays a decisive role in the success of the initiative and the development of competitive fossil-free electricity generation in Sweden.”

Martin Lindqvist, SSAB’s President and CEO, said the investment in a storage facility for fossil-free hydrogen gas is “an important building block in achieving our goal of a fossil-free value chain from ore to finished steel”, with Jan Moström, LKAB’s President and CEO, adding that he was pleased the project could make use of parts of the company’s former ore port facility for the experiment.

Robert Andrén, Director General of the Swedish Energy Agency, said large, complex and expensive leaps in technology need to be taken for the sake of the climate, to achieve the goal of zero net emissions.

“Large-scale storage of hydrogen gas will be an important piece of the jigsaw puzzle for a fossil-free value chain for steel manufacturing, but also in a future electricity system with an increasing proportion of weather-dependent power,” he said.

In June last year, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, the HYBRIT initiative partners, started the construction of a unique pilot plant in Luleå. Work also began recently on the reconstruction of a pellet works in Malmberget to replace fossil fuel with bio oil, with the aim of manufacturing fossil-free pellets.

The pilot plants for fossil-free steel production will be used from 2021 to 2024, and the partners are already looking into the possibility of scaling up the manufacturing by building a demonstration plant in 2025, three years earlier than previously planned, to produce fossil-free steel from iron ore for commercial use. The aim for 2035 is to sell fossil-free steel on a broad scale.

HYBRIT partners to speed up fossil-free steelmaking plans

The partners of the HYBRIT project, LKAB, SSAB and Vatenfall, have said they could move up their plans to build a fossil-free steelmaking demonstration plant by three years, to 2025.

Writing in Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, the Presidents and CEOs of the three companies, Martin Lindqvist (SSAB), Jan Moström (LKAB) and Magnus Hall (Vattenfall), said they were ready to step up their work for fossil-free steel production and to move up plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The aim of HYBRIT, which is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency, is to develop a process for fossil-free steelmaking by 2035.

In 2018, the Swedish Energy Agency announced it would contribute funding amounting to more than SEK500 million ($54 million) towards the pilot-scale development of an industrial process, with three owners, LKAB, SSAB and Vattenfall, each contributing a third of the outstanding capital for the project.

Back in April, the partners said construction of a biofuel-based pelletising plant would shortly begin at LKAB’s Malmberget site, in Sweden. This “world-unique test facility”, a key component of the HYBRIT initiative, will see fossil fuels replaced with biofuel to achieve fossil-free production of iron ore pellets.

In the opinion piece in Dagens Nyheter, the company heads said: “We are ready to increase efforts from our side, but if we are to achieve success, society and lawmakers must do the same.

“We are already looking into the possibility of building a demonstration plant in 2025, three years ahead of plan, so that we can immediately thereafter produce iron ore-based, fossil-free steel for commercial use.

“The goal is to be selling fossil-free produced steel on a broad scale by 2035,” they said.

The three companies highlighted four important preconditions for this rapid transition to succeed:

  • “We need large volumes of fossil-free electricity. According to our calculations, the transition to HYBRIT requires the equivalent of about 10% of Sweden’s current electricity consumption. There will also be demand for electricity from other companies and consumers. We will need continued good access to fossil-free electricity with a high level of delivery reliability, competitive pricing and initiatives to create greater flexibility, eg through opportunities to store energy. This work must not be delayed. We are prepared to assist in these efforts;
  • “The public sector in Sweden must get involved and share the risk. Investing in groundbreaking technology such as HYBRIT is often risky, time-consuming and associated with major investments. At the same time, the projects bring great social benefit in the form of increased research, competence and opportunities to achieve climate goals. The Swedish government’s proposal to double the Industrial Evolution initiative over three years is good, but it needs to be secured for a long time to come. A fund is also needed at the EU level, and there may also be a need for support in being able to write off and scrap old plants (so-called stranded assets) in favour of new, sustainable technology;
  • “As a society, we cannot afford to keep emitting greenhouse gases. The EU trading system for emission allowances is currently being revised, and as a result, the costs of carbon dioxide emissions are rising. The system should be designed from 2020 to benefit the most climate-efficient methods from quarrying in the rock to finished steel. The system needs to be developed even after the upcoming trading period. Sweden and the rest of the EU also need to strive to change other parts of the world ahead of similar systems. Bold, sustainable solutions must not be prevented because parts of the world have a lower level of ambition and therefore carry on using old technology; and
  • “Effective, appropriate permit testing in Sweden is required so that work on the transition is not significantly delayed or stopped completely, not least so that sufficient electricity can be obtained now that we have the opportunity to move up the demonstration phase. It can sometimes take 10 years to obtain an environmental permit or a concession to lay an electrical cable or to upgrade the grid. The Swedish government is planning some measures, but more work is needed.”

The three concluded: “Steel is an amazing material. It builds communities, is hard-wearing and can in principle be recycled an infinite number of times.

“But recycled steel will not be enough. In line with social development, population growth and increasingly higher standards of living all over the world, demand will increase for new steel made from iron ore. Therefore, sustainable solutions are needed; solutions that contribute not just to solving climate change, but to social development.”

HYBRIT fossil-free steelmaking project moves forward with biofuel plant build

A joint initiative between LKAB, SSAB and Vattenfall to develop the world’s first fossil-free steelmaking process is gaining momentum, with construction of a biofuel-based pelletising plant shortly beginning at the iron ore miner’s Malmberget site, in Sweden.

This “world-unique test facility”, a key component of the HYBRIT initiative, will see fossil fuels replaced with biofuel to achieve fossil-free production of iron ore pellets.

The aim of HYBRIT, which is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency, is to develop a process for fossil-free steelmaking by 2035.

In 2018, the Swedish Energy Agency announced it would contribute funding amounting to more than SEK500 million ($54 million) towards the pilot-scale development of an industrial process, with three owners, LKAB, SSAB and Vattenfall, each contributing a third of the outstanding capital for the project.

LKAB said: “Fossil-free steel production starts at the mine and LKAB is working hard to determine the design of the next generation of pelletising plants.”

Back in October, Tenova HYL was contracted by HYBRIT to supply its direct reduced iron solution as part of the project.

The biofuel-based plant, to be built near to LKAB’s Malmberget iron ore mine, will cost in the region of SEK80 million.

“Testing a bio-oil system is part of the pilot phase and the objective is to convert one of LKAB’s pelletising plants from fossil fuel to 100% renewable fuel,” the company said. “This means that fossil-generated carbon dioxide emissions from the Malmberget operation will be reduced by up to 40% during the test period, which corresponds to about 60,000 t/y. Eventually, LKAB hopes to achieve totally carbon-dioxide-free pellet production.”

Jan Moström, LKAB’s President and CEO, said: “Within HYBRIT, LKAB is examining options for replacing the heating technologies used in the pellet process, which are the heart of our processing plants. In parallel, trials will be conducted in an experimental facility in Luleå using an alternative heating technology. Trials will determine whether new biofuels and plasma burners will work in the unique setting of a pellet plant. Ultimately, this will make LKAB’s iron ore pellets completely carbon-dioxide-free.”

The global iron and steel industry is one of the industrial sectors whose processes emit the most carbon dioxide, according to LKAB. “A growing population, in combination with greater urbanisation, means that demand for steel will continue to grow until 2050. If the HYBRIT initiative succeeds, Sweden’s carbon dioxide emissions will decrease by 10%,” the company said.

Mårten Görnerup, CEO, Hybrit Development AB, said: “The initiative is decisive for Sweden’s ability to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement and nationally, and it is our contribution to battling climate change. Fossil-free production of iron ore pellets is an important step towards reaching these goals.”

Following a pre-study conducted in 2016–2017, the first sod was turned in 2018 for a pilot plant for hydrogen-based reduction of iron ore in Luleå, Sweden. This plant, expected to be completed in 2020, will be used to test processes downstream from the pelletising plant. The investment in a pilot-plant for bio-oil in Malmberget, which is an important milestone for HYBRIT and the development of fossil-free pellet production, is expected to be completed by 2020. The first tests will be conducted up to 2021.

Magnus Hall, President and CEO, Vattenfall, said: “Our partnership with SSAB and LKAB is playing a very important role in the electrification of the industry and the development of fossil-free hydrogen to enable a fossil-free life within a generation.”

Martin Lindqvist, CEO and President of SSAB, said the partners are on their way to a revolutionary technical advancement, “showing the world that it is possible to produce steel without producing carbon dioxide emissions”.

He added: “Work is proceeding according to schedule and I am confident that we will succeed. As a first step toward creating a fossil-free SSAB, we have decided to switch to an electric arc furnace in Oxelösund. This will entail decommissioning both blast furnaces in around 2025 and will reduce our CO2 emissions in Sweden by around 25%,” he said.

The primary goal of HYBRIT is to eliminate fossil-generated carbon dioxide emissions and thereby stop the net increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This will be done by converting to renewable fuel.

In the next step, LKAB’s vision is to fully eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the pelletising plants. LKAB’s iron ore consists largely of magnetite and, even without the use of bio-oil, it already gives the company a big environmental head-start on competitors, according to the company.

Steel produced from 100% LKAB iron ore pellets results in carbon dioxide emissions that are 14% lower when compared to steel manufactured at an average European sinter-based steel mill. “One explanation is that it requires less energy to make pellets from magnetite than from the more commonly occurring hematite. The pellet process currently requires a lot of energy, while a very great amount of heat is released when magnetite is converted to hematite.”

LKAB invests in phosphorus and rare earth production pilot in Sweden

Sweden-based miner LKAB says it will invest SEK45 million ($4.8 million) in pilot plants that could see phosphorus and rare earth metals produced from its own mine waste.

These plants are part of a prefeasibility study to define a commercial mine waste recycling process, ReeMAP, LKAB President and Group CEO Jan Moström said.

The company has made this decision after laboratory tests during 2018 confirmed it could produce more phosphorus and rare earth metals than previously estimated.

From LKAB’s iron ore production, a residual product resembling sand is currently placed in tailings dams. In the ReeMAP project, LKAB intends to recover the residual product and extract rare earth metals (REE) and monoammonium phosphate (MAP) from it.

Recovery and upgrading to phosphorus and rare earth metals is enabled by a patented process that has been developed by the Swedish company EasyMining, which is a Ragn-Sells innovation company within the Ragn-Sells Group. EasyMining is a partner in the ReeMAP project. The core process is based on EasyMining’s CleanMAP technology, which separates phosphate from water through ion sorption instead of energy demanding evaporation. At the same time, it removes impurities such as cadmium, uranium, fluorine in the MAP.

Leif Boström, Senior Vice President, Special Products Division, LKAB, said: “We are going to build two pilot plants for development and preparation for full-scale industrialisation: one in the orefields and one in Uppsala.”

The orefields plant will produce apatite from tailings sand, while the plant in Uppsala will be run by EasyMining, according to Boström.

Full-scale industrial production of MAP will correspond to an estimated 500% of Swedish demand and production of REE will amount to about 2% world production, according to LKAB. The pilot phase will continue through 2020, with a decision to go ahead with full-scale production possibly taken in 2021.

A pilot plant and a part of the full-scale production facilities will be situated close to LKAB’s existing plant´s in northern Sweden. Subsequent processing will take place in another location, for which three main alternatives are now being assessed, according to the company. The three main alternatives are Luleå, Helsingborg and Skellefteå.

Moström: “ReeMAP is a very good example of circular economy, of recovering and reintroducing resources. We will focus on developing an operation in the location that is the best alternative from an environmental point of view, minimises transportation of materials and utilises resources in the best way.

“If we succeed with the industrialisation process, we will create a whole new industry in Sweden that will supply the agriculture and engineering sectors with critical raw materials while at the same time generating jobs and value for society.”