The testbed, SUM, Sustainable Underground Mining, will be created in LKAB's underground mines in Kiruna and Malmberget and will also take the form of a virtual mine. Here, new technology will be developed and tested in a real mining environment to ensure that the Swedish mining industry can remain competitive and create jobs and growth, both locally in Norrbotten and nationally. This requires new control systems, new and improved mining equipment, as well as complex and efficient management systems that meet future demands for a sustainable industry. Reaching that goal will demand a new type of collaboration, a digital ecosystem in which the partners' digital systems and operations are linked.
"Sweden's mining and minerals industry is competing to be the world's most sustainable. Since sustainability requirements and technology are now developing at a rapid pace, Swedish companies have to join forces to ensure that we can mine safely and sustainably in the future. That bodes well for a mining nation like Sweden," says Mikael Damberg, Minister for Enterprise and Innovation.
After 2030 LKAB must be ready to mine at greater depth in the Kiruna and Malmberget mines. For this, one of Sweden's biggest industrial investments ever, decisions will have to be taken in the mid-2020s. To be able to realize the technology shift and reduce climate impact, LKAB, ABB, Epiroc, Combitech and AB Volvo have joined forces to find solutions and set a new world standard for sustainable mining at great depth that would entail a major leap in technological development.
"LKAB has a longstanding tradition of innovation and, to secure long-term competitiveness, we must find new methods and smarter solutions for continued mining of the world's best and purest iron ore deposits deeper in our underground mines. We are proud to enter into one of the biggest collaborative ventures in Sweden today, a venture involving industry leaders that are contributing expertise and technical resources. Together, we will develop a future mining industry that is sustainable, safe, carbon-dioxide-free, digitalized and autonomous," comments Jan Moström, President and CEO, LKAB.
"We're proud to be part of a collaborative effort to develop the world's most modern mining operation. This aligns well with our focus on autonomous and battery-operated products and solutions that improve productivity and safety in the mines," says Per Lindberg, President and CEO of Epiroc.