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LKAB's race against the clock to find more iron ore

In two months, the LKAB:s prospekteringsavdelning launched the nuclear explosions generated by a undersökningsort. It runs north from the Kirunavaaragruvans current level, 1.365 metres below ground level.

– We run a ointment per day and a ointment provides approximately 4.5 metres. So far, we have driven less than 200 metres, " says Pierre Heeroma.

in Order to begin the drill seriously need to LKAB reach further of 1,100–1,200 metres to the north through the mountain.

– With the speed we have, so we will be able to test the field against depth in may or June of 2019, " says Pierre Heeroma.

Link to the graphics

LKAB's management, the news struck down like a bomb in the confederation of Swedish enterprise. Iron ore in the company's massive mine in Kiruna is expected to end much earlier than previously thought. The current deposit is sufficient only to the beginning of the 2030s.

rather than looking LKAB now iron ore in the area north of the mine. Three 2.300-meter deep boreholes have given an indication that the deposit continues in that direction.

But quite sure, it is impossible to be even for experienced geologists.

– Since we do not have any information from the area so it is a detective work. It is a very slow and tough process, you have to be a long-term otherwise, it is not possible, " says Pierre Heeroma.

It will require many boreholes before LKAB received a picture of whether there is a brytvärd ore body in the rock. The company has tour it is a continuation of the deposit mined in the day. However, if the geometry and the iron content looks different out work trickier.

– It is there as it is difficult. You don't know in advance what one will find. Sometimes it is more complicated and harder to make a product, " says Pierre Heeroma.

is time-consuming and difficult, it is extremely expensive. After having been down in the 30-year increase LKAB now prospekteringsinsatserna dramatically. It involves costs of several hundred million per year.

" Roughly the costs of a core of 1,000 kronor per meter. So a hole at 1,000 feet costs a million dollars. If you drill a hundred such holes, you are up in the 100 million, says Pär Weihed, professor in the malmgeologi at Luleå University of technology.

He says that the LKAB have good opportunities to find new lucrative bauxite deposits in Norrbotten, sweden. The potential of the mining industry is big and there are other known deposits in the county that are not adequately surveyed.

– Any serious djupprospektering of iron ore has not been in Norrbotten, sweden. There is a new Kirunavaara in a thousand meters deep, so I would say that one does not know, says Pär Weihed.

not only mine and process iron ore. Even copper, gold and ”high-tech”metals like cobalt will be interesting for the company. Already today are LKAB, if it is possible to extract phosphorus and cobalt from avfallshögarna in Kiruna.

But the main focus of the exploration is iron ore. And it is urgent. About three or four years, you need to know if there is a mineralization to the north of the Kirunagruvan, and then be able to have a deployment plan, completed 2027 or 2028. If all goes according to plan will be the expanded mine finished just in time for the current deposit is the end of the year.

the Uncertainty is however large when it is about exploration. Therefore, looking LKAB iron ore also in connection with their mines in Malmberget and Svappavaara.

"We are in time and explores in all of our production areas, we need to secure the future," says Pierre Heeroma.

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