LKAB says it is investing SEK80 million ($9.3 million) in a multi-year collaboration focused on research for sustainable mining of the future.
In close collaboration with LKAB personnel, prominent researchers at, among other partners, Luleå University of Technology, Örebro University and Mälardalen University will develop solutions to enable the company’s transition to carbon dioxide-free processes and products by 2045, LKAB says.
Jordi Puig, Head of Mining Technology, LKAB, says: “This initiative supports our strategy to set a new world standard for mining. Researchs findings will be shared ‘open source’ with our partners ABB, Combitech, Epiroc and Sandvik and eventually also with other companies.”
As part of LKAB’s collaboration project to create a digitalised, automated and carbon-dioxide-free mine, the company has engaged in regular dialogue with academia and announces that, earlier in the year, the decision was taken to fund 10 different research assignments. Now an agreement has been signed with Luleå University of Technology, Örebro University and Mälardalen University, and discussions with several other universities have been initiated.
Daniel Johansson, Professor and Acting Head of Mining and Rock Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, says: “Since the start of Luleå University of Technology, and especially during recent decades, LKAB has been our strongest partner. We are very pleased to be entrusted to participate in the green transition which LKAB has now begun. This is also well in line with the university’s strategy for future autonomous, efficient and sustainable mine operation. We look forward to successful research collaboration.”
Amy Loutfi, Pro-vice-chancellor AI and Innovation, Örebro University, says: “The initiative presents a fantastic opportunity. This represents a collective ambition to focus on basic and applied research and to use AI and autonomous systems in an improved mining sector. We have been looking strategically at the mining industry for some time and we view it as a growing application area for AI and robotics. LKAB’s initiative leads us into further collaboration with industry and academic partners and we are delighted to be a part of this.”
Erik Dahlquist, Professor in Energy Technology, Mälardalen University, says: “Mälardalen University has worked with risk management, energy and production optimisation within many industries, and we are very pleased to be able to be working towards the realisation of LKAB’s ambition to set a new world standard for sustainable mining. This is really driving the industry towards a future with electrification and AI systems for automated operation.”
Research assignments will commence immediately and continue until the close of 2024. Research work will be conducted mainly within the areas of underground transportation and energy efficiency, as well as risk management for increased safety awareness
Puig added: “To improve safety, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and to increase productivity in our mines is vital for LKAB to be able to continue to deliver climate-efficient iron ore products. This is one of many steps toward the achievement of our objectives.”