LKAB has developed a new refraction method in mining called raise caving as an alternative and sustainable method for mining at great depths in partnership with the University of Montana in Leoben, Austria. The method can not only increase the life of a mine but also its efficiency.
The process, which will be tested on a large scale at LKAB’s Kiruna mine in 2022, includes methods and machine technologies based on the construction of shafts directly in the ore body through raise drilling. The machine has the ability to both drill and load from the shaft. Raise caving, unlike present disc mining methods, seeks to mine the ore from the bottom-up versus top-down.
Matthias Wimmer, section manager at the Department of Mining Technology at LKAB in Kiruna said that the new exploration method allows for deeper mining levels and will support the company beyond 2060. Due to a reduction in new roads in the mine and different rock stress management, raised caving could increase efficiency by as much as 50pc.
LKAB also plans to make all its products carbon dioxide-free by 2045. LKAB’s restructuring is anticipated to lead to a reduction in global carbon emissions by 35mn mt annually, which relates to two-thirds of Sweden’s total emissions. LKAB provides ore and other steelmaking raw materials to the steel industry.