LKAB processes all the iron ore that is mined in underground and surface mines to produce high-quality iron ore products. The processing takes place in processing plants, directly adjacent to the mining operations.
LKAB's competitiveness is based on our ability to supply high-quality iron ore products to customers with high product demands. An important precondition for LKAB's cost-effectiveness is our raw material, magnetite ore, as well as the energy-efficient pelletizing process.
The processing of the iron ore commences once the ore has been transported to the sorting plant from the underground and surface mines. The processing takes place in three stages: sorting, concentration and pelletizing. Once the iron ore concentrate has passed the pelletizing plant, the end product – small, round iron ore balls, known as iron ore pellets – is ready for onward transport to our customers.
When manufacturing pellets, our magnetite ore has advantages compared to the haematite ore used by the majority of our competitors. More that half of the energy requirement that is needed when heating the pellets is provided by means of the magnetite oxidising to form haematite. This means that emissions of carbon dioxide are reduced to a seventh compare to the sintering of fines, and to a third compared to haematite pellets.
The total capacity in LKAB's six pelletizing plants amounts to around 28 million tonnes of processed iron ore products per year.
The iron ore is processed to two main types of products: blast furnace and direct reduction pellets (DR pellets).