Today is the official opening of one of Sweden's biggest industrial projects, the new Kiruna mine main level. Mining in Kiruna is thereby secured for another 20 to 25 years.
On 28 October 2008 LKAB's board announced plans to build a new main haulage level, 1,365 meters underground in the Kiruna mine. Today, four and half years later, the first of five stages is ready for production. More than 1,000 people, working for about 100 companies, have been involved in the construction of the new main level.
"We have managed to assemble a fantastic team and, thanks to good cooperation, we have been able to solve many complicated and difficult problems. I would venture to say that many of us are very proud of the result of our joint efforts so far," says Hans Engberg, project manager for the new main level.
The first stage consists of three groups of shafts, each comprising four ore passes, two train sets, a crusher and a skip hoist, as well as all media and automation needed to keep the level running.
"Essentially, the remaining four stages will involve the addition of more production areas, groups of shafts, trains, crushers and skip hoists," explains Hans Engberg.
Nearly 4.3 million cubic meters of rock, enough to fill seven Stockholm Globe Arenas, has been removed to make way for the new main level, which is expected to extend the working life of the mine by more than 20 years. This represents the largest investment in the history of LKAB and it will generate 35 million tonnes of crude ore annually.
Complete in 2017
"This is an unusual project; partly due to its size, but also because it extends over such a long period. From the pre-project phase to completion, we're talking 12 years. This has placed special demands on our organization and planning," adds Hans Engberg.
KUJ1365 is the seventh main level in the Kiruna mine.
"Now, we are just handing over the first stage for production but it seems that, so far, our ambition to create a safe, modern and cost-efficient mining system will be realized," says Hans Engberg.
All stages will be complete by early 2017.
”It’s exciting and rewarding to contribute to the improvement and development of an already fantastic company."
TEXT: JOHANNA FOGMAN
PHOTO: RÚNAR GUDMUNDSSON, FREDRIC ALM