The current pandemic is affecting LKAB in various ways. However, the SUM project is very much proceeding according to plan. Two important events during the month of March were the Swedish Energy Agency’s declaration of financial support for the project and the Coronavirus outbreak, which affected travel within the project, among other things.
“The fact that we have now received financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency is very gratifying and clearly shows the outside world that the project is important, not just for the climate and the technology transition, but also to Sweden as an industrial nation”, says Markus Petäjäniemi, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Technology at LKAB and project owner of SUM.
Continued tunnelling and opening drilling in the Konsuln test mine in Kiruna
In Konsuln, tunnelling continues on several levels. Tunnelling on Level 536 is temporarily paused as we look at which layout is best suited for future underground testing of autonomous vehicles.
Epiroc’s Easer L, a new raiseboring rig for LKAB, was put into operation in Konsuln in autumn 2019 and has so far drilled seven holes, all about fifty metres deep.
Revised test plan for automation, autonomy and carbon-free transport
”Based on the system structure decided by the steering committee for SUM and Konsuln, we have developed a revised test plan for automation, autonomy and CO2-free transport. Furthermore, we are taking the next step in the development of the alliance by focussing the cooperation and clarifying the roles for the best possible progress,” says Mike Lowther, responsible for the Konsuln test mine.
Mine Operations Control emerges
Just next to the entrance to the Konsuln mine, the installation of Mine Operations Control (MOC), continues in the project offices. Using the latest technology from ABB, the ambition is that everything that happens in the test mine will pass through, be planned or controlled from here. The idea is to train operators in the new technology, initially operators on loan from the Kiruna mine and then continuing with operators from Malmberget and Svappavaara. In close proximity to MOC, new ways of working will also be tested and evaluated, with the support of the sub-project Människa och förändring (People Centric Change).
”This is a good opportunity to test how both technology and the creative design of physical spaces can help us work more efficiently in our future underground mines,” says AnnChristine Lindgren, Head of HR Shared Services and Project Manager for People Centric Change in SUM.