LKAB was never a dream from the start, but rather a banana skin that caused Pia Stålnacke to change from working within the church to a job as a production operator in the concentration plant in Svappavaara. She wanted to try something different from her then current job, so she tried working at LKAB for two summers on the trot. After the second summer she stayed, and is now in her element.
What do you do at work?
"I'm a production operator at the concentration plant in Svappavaara. I work on all four levels of the concentration plant: pump level, crusher level, filter lever and flotation. Sometimes I go on TK1 rounds, which are a type of condition check. I listen to pumps to make sure they aren't making any unusual noises. I check that there is product in all the feeders and that no bolts have broken or come loose, which could lead to leaks in the crushers. On the filter level, it is important that the ore concentrate has the right level of moisture, neither too moist nor too dry, and that the slurry in the flotation section won't be carried away by bubbles that remove the phosphorus.
What's the best thing about your job?
"The team spirit with my colleagues. We're good at helping one another. There are four of us responsible for each level, one of whom sits in the control room. If you notice that someone else is having a problem on their level, we go there and give them a hand. If, for example, an overhaul is required, we help to clear up."
Are there risks associated with your work, and how do you handle them?
"There is a risk of crushing when you are working on certain operations. The fact that things are increasingly embedded nowadays makes things safer, but also more difficult. You need to stop and think. I always apply the 30-second rule and lock and tag out. That's the procedure. We are always reminding one another. "Have you locked it?" That's for everyone's safety."
What are the challenges in your job?
"One of the things is that there are some smaller mechanical jobs to do, and I'm not great at that, although I am getting better. When I started, people said, for instance, that I would learn how the different machines should sound. I didn't believe them at first, but now I can tell by the sound when something is wrong."
Where will you be in five years?
"I'll still be here at LKAB. Probably doing the same job as I'm doing now. I have been asked to become an operator in the control room, but I've always said no. We'll have to see what happens."
What energises you?
"My colleagues, the team spirit we have and all the positives that brings. We have good discussions and work well together. It tells you everything that you long to get back to work when you're sick."
Name: Pia Stålnacke.
Profession: Production operator at the concentrator.
Education: Upper secondary school, general studies.
Interests: Exercising, mainly strength training, summer cottage, family, nature.
Best qualities: Positive. Tries to see the positive in most things.
Worst qualities: Stubborn. I never give up.