Fossil free iron ore pellets becoming reality

A major step to fight climate change

Euromines is proud to announce that its member company LKAB has just launched the largest Swedish industrial investment ever. The company will invest 400 billion SEK into processing carbon-free iron ore. LKAB’s new strategy sets out the path the company will take to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from its own processes and products by 2045 and secures the company’s operations with expanded mining beyond 2060.

Image © LKAB 2020

In past years the mineral raw materials industry has radically progressed in productivity and energy efficiency and is still implementing new solutions aiming at both further reducing energy consumption/unit and improving carbon-intensive operations. As the world shifts to a low-carbon future, mining companies explore methods of decarbonisation in order to efficiently and effectively fulfil the continued increasing demand for resources.

Today, Euromines member LKAB presented the company’s new strategy for the future. “This is the biggest transformation in the company’s 130-year history and could end up being the largest industrial investment ever made in Sweden. It creates unique opportunities to reduce the world’s carbon emissions and for Swedish industry to take the lead in a necessary global transformation,” says Jan Moström, President and CEO of LKAB.

The mining and metals sector play a critical role in underpinning global economic growth. The development of mineral resources is a pillar of many national economies, both in terms of contribution to gross domestic product and tax revenues, and also as an industry that directly employs millions of workers. The closely connected upstream supply sector of the mining and metals industry, which provides construction services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, as well as technical, scientific and professional services, provides further employment and delivers significant additional economic benefit. The extraction and processing of minerals and metals has brought huge benefits to society, also by providing long-lasting infrastructure. These vital commodities are used to construct communication and transportation networks, consumer electronics, vehicles, buildings, and many other items that serve as a foundation for society’s material quality of life. In particular metals form the basis for the energy transition as well as the decarbonization process.

“The market for iron and steel will grow, and at the same time the global economy is shifting towards a carbon-free future. Our carbon-free products will play an important part in the production of railways, wind farms, electric vehicles and industrial machinery. We will go from being part of the problem to being an important part of the solution,” says Jan Moström.

Image © LKAB 2020

It is evident that European mining provides raw materials crucial to products that contribute to a low carbon economy, such as steel and concrete for wind turbines as well as silicon, gallium, lithium and cobalt (among many others) for solar panels and batteries. Even more, mining companies across Europe are currently optimizing their operations, using cleaner energy sources and reducing their energy consumption.

The market for steel is forecasted to grow by 50 percent by the year 2050. This growth will be achieved in part by an increase in the upgrading of recycled scrap in electric arc furnaces. Today, the iron and steel industry accounts for more than a quarter of industrial emissions and for seven percent of total carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere.

Mineral raw materials are a decisive factor in the transition to a Low-Carbon society. The European mineral raw materials industry has adopted ambitious carbon management policies and targets. Work to reduce, eliminate and offset emissions in operations includes a wide variety of strategies such as transitioning to electric vehicles, utilising advanced exploration technologies and optimising ore extraction.

We believe that the LKAB’s ambitious strategy is a very significant step towards reducing not only Europe’s but the world’s carbon emissions, another excellent example of Europe taking the lead.

Read more on LKAB website(link is external).

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