The investments are part of the company’s LKAB 37 strategic investment plan and will raise train capacity for ore shipments to 40 million tons per year.
LKAB is also investing in new train control technology that will make shipping the ore by rail up to 20 per cent more energy efficient and also facilitate maximum exploitation of the ore railway between Riksgränsen (the Norwegian border) and Luleå. The system is called CATO (Computer Added Train Operation) and the investment of around SEK 50 million will take place in association with the Swedish Transport Administration.
Today LKAB has 13 IORE locomotives and is increasing this number to 17. The locomotives will be delivered by Bombardier during the period May, 2013 to March, 2014. With a tractive effort of 1200 kN IORE locomotives are the most powerful in the world. They have an output of 10,800 kW, or around 15,000 hp and an axle weight of 30 tons on each of the 12 drive axles.
IORE locomotives are energy efficient and have integrated energy recuperation. Kinetic energy is transformed into electrical energy with the aid of asynchronous motors when the train performs motor braking. Together with CATO it provides a theoretical reduction of almost 20 per cent electricity consumption per transported ton. This benefits the environment and LKAB’s Green Pellets investment. Energy recovery is actually so efficient that a full ore train can be driven with almost zero energy consumption in favourable circumstances.
The new system also improves ore train punctuality and reduces disruptions on the ore railway. In this way ore traffic capacity can be better utilized.
Long, Heavy Ore Trains
The IORE locomotive is designed for extremely heavy rail transport. LKAB’s ore trains consist of 68 ore wagons with a load capacity of 100 tons each. Each train is 750 metres long and hauls 6,800 tons of iron ore products. The ore trains leave from LKAB mining areas in Malmberget, Svappavaara, and Kiruna to the company’s ore harbours in Narvik and Luleå and the SSAB facilities in Luleå.