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11.12.2023

LKAB orders 12 new loaders from Sandvik for Kiruna mine


LKAB orders 12 new loaders from Sandvik for Kiruna mine /credits: LKAB)

LKAB orders 12 new loaders from Sandvik for Kiruna mine /credits: LKAB)

12 new loaders are coming to the Kiruna mine. An agreement has been signed between LKAB and Sandvik, and the ink has barely dried. The first delivery is expected in early 2024.

"This is an important investment for better flexibility and safe and efficient production," says Joel Kangas, mine manager at LKAB in Kiruna.

The agreement includes 12 loaders, all of which are to be equipped for autonomous operation via remote control. Seven of the vehicles are electric and five are diesel powered.

"This investment will ensure greater stability in production, round the clock. This means, for example, that more machines can be used for remote loading at night and after blasting, which is not possible with manually operated machines, due to the blasting gases that are generated," says Joel Kangas.

Greater focus on electrification

The newly acquired electric loader, LH625iE, Sandvik's largest and most powerful electric-powered loader, has been specially developed to meet LKAB's specific needs. The daily haulage capacity amounts to 25,000 kilograms with a nine-cubic-metre bucket. Thanks to the AutoMine® Multi-Lite Genom automation system, it is possible for machine operators to control the vehicles far away from the production areas, from level 1365 in the Kiruna mine.

In addition, one operator can run several machines simultaneously. "We are now running five loading vehicles remotely, but the plan is to successively increase the number. The flexible system included in the agreement enables this, as well as improving our flexibility overall," says Joel Kangas.

A higher degree of automation

More electric-powered loaders mean a big step forward towards a higher degree of automation and a digitalised mine. When mining depths increase, so do the challenges. "This investment will not only augment our fleet, it will also allow us to replace and update our machines," says Joel Kangas.

This means that the number of loaders in today's fleet, 28 machines, will remain the same when the final delivery has been made from the factory in Åbo, Finland, during 2025. However, the distribution between diesel and electric machines will be different. "We will still need smaller, diesel-powered and manually operated machines, but eventually, within a few years, all of these vehicles will be electric," explains Joel Kangas.

The agreement also includes a multi-year service agreement, which is an important step towards greater flexibility. "This is a comprehensive agreement that will contribute to even closer collaboration and knowledge exchange between LKAB and Sandvik. That's valuable for both parties," concludes Joel Kangas.

"Sandvik and LKAB have a shared goal to boost production at the Kiruna mine, " says Magnus Backe, General Manager LKAB Kiruna. "This is a true partnership to increase tonnage and improve safety through automation. "

Facts in brief:

  • The Kiruna mine’s loader fleet amounts to 28 vehicles, of which the majority are electric-powered LH625i loaders.
  • The new agreement includes 12 new electric-powered LH625iE loaders and five LH621i diesel machines.  
  • All 12 newly acquired electric loaders can be operated remotely, far away from the production areas, from the control room located at a depth of 1365 metres in the Kiruna mine.
  • The new loaders will be delivered during 2024 and 2025.

Source: LKAB

 

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