Deep Underground Mining: LKAB, ABB, Epiroc, Combitech and Sandvik collaboration

ABB collaborates to set new world standard for deep underground mining: carbon-dioxide-free, digitalized and autonomous, with the ultimate ambition to demonstrate zero carbon dioxide emissions and productivity increases of 50 percent

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In the future autonomous and digitalized mine people and machines will work side by side

The mine of the future is carbon-dioxide-free, digitalized and autonomous. To set a new world standard for sustainable mining at great depth, LKAB, ABB, Epiroc, Combitech and Sandvik have joined forces in a partnership and started in 2018 a unique testbed in  the ore fields of northern Sweden. 

Within the framework of the testbed the best means of building an efficient autonomous production system that is carbon-dioxide-free and has the highest conceivable level of safety will be studied. The project aims to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions, with higher safety for workers while increasing productivity by 50 per cent including deeper mining activities.

”To meet the mining industry’s challenges it is essential that we work together to create effective solutions that guarantee safe mining operations that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. To secure our future competitiveness, we must continue to make the best use of our collective know-how. Within the framework of this project, suppliers and mining companies have joined forces under a common vision whereby ABB, with our longstanding experience of both automation and electrification of mines, will shape the future of sustainable mining together with our partners,” says Björn Rosengren, CEO of ABB.

"We’re proud to be a part of this collaboration between companies. Electrification and automation are two important parameters to focus on to increase sustainability in the mining industry. The innovations required to reach the top are not something that any individual player has the opportunity to develop," says Björn Jonsson, Head of Process Automation, ABB Sweden. 
“We are working together to find new methods and smarter solutions for the sustainable mining of the future. With our knowledge of automation and electrification of underground mines, we are contributing to immediate measures to fight climate change,” says Björn Jonsson at the UN summit in Madrid, COP25, during a panel debate.

Test bed project

The test bed project will be located at LKAB’s underground mines in Kiruna and Malmberget, Sweden, as well as in a virtual mine.

Within the mine, the Konsuln orebody is used to demonstrate future workplaces in a decentralized environment with efficient use of an autonomous electrical mobile transport system with real-time process information available to all organizations involved. When combined with the wider efforts of the partnership, this shows a way of bringing completely new technology solutions to market for safer, more sustainable and more efficient mining production processes. 
Demonstrating future workplaces in a decentralized environment

ABB leads electrification and automation innovation as part of the future mine project

ABB contributes to this project with solutions for underground electrification and an integrated automation platform and operations management system that connects workforce and equipment in real time to perform predictive production scheduling, automated execution and react to disturbance in seconds. 

By 2022, the ABB electrification and automation solutions will be fully installed, and the aim is that a new standard for mining production will be set globally by 2030. The project has received financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency. After 2030, LKAB will be ready to break into deeper ironstone in the Kiruna and Malmberget mines.
Jan Nyqvist, Global Production Manager for Mining Automation, ABB
“ABB is integral to the next step, which is to build a demonstration workshop to connect electrical and automation systems that have so far been developed for this challenging project. We will, through various developed scenarios, be able to show how the systems work together.”

The future of mining industry

ABB offerings for underground mining

Examples of collaboration with LKAB

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