Swedish collaboration is greater than the SUM of its members Metal Tech News – October 7, 2020
Sandvik has added its name to a group of Swedish mining, equipment, and technology companies working together to create the digitized, autonomous, and carbon dioxide-free mine of the 21st century.
Already leading the global charge when it comes to the development of autonomous and electric powered underground mining equipment, Sandvik has join Sustainable Underground Mining, a collaboration put together by Swedish iron miner LKAB in 2018.
LKAB put together this group known as SUM as it prepares to mine even deeper into the orebodies at its Kiruna and Malmberget mines in Sweden.
"In the coming years LKAB must have a solution in place to be able to mine iron ore at depths approaching or exceeding 2,000 meters in a cost-effective way by employing technology that is safe, autonomous, electrified, digitalized, and carbon-dioxide-free," said LKAB President and CEO Jan Moström. "To enable this, collaboration with other leading industrial companies will be decisive. Sandvik's longstanding experience of producing underground vehicle systems will complement the ongoing work in an important way."
The other Swedish industrial leaders that have joined this group include Epiroc, a mining equipment manufacturer; ABB, an electronics, robotics, and automation company; and Combitech, an IT, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and data analytics firm.
Together, these companies provide a range of mining and tech expertise in a group that is greater than the sum of its parts, which will be needed to tackle the very complex objectives LKAB has set out to accomplish for its own mines and in developing sustainable mining solutions that can be adopted by the wider industry.
"LKAB has used automated equipment from Sandvik for many years and we look forward to the opportunity to extend our collaboration and introduce new and advanced solutions that will set an industry standard," said Sandvik President and CEO Stefan Widing.
Epiroc and Sandvik, amongst the biggest names in underground mining equipment, will bring their expertise in battery-powered, autonomous, and efficient mining equipment and related solutions to SUM.
"As well as bringing great advantages in terms of the work environment in the mine, this will benefit the climate, and our open systems will facilitate autonomous and other smart vehicle solutions," said Epiroc President and CEO Helena Hedblom. "We are very pleased to be part of the SUM initiative, which uses proactive thinking and world-leading innovation to place people, the environment and productivity at the top of the agenda."
ABB offers its knowledge of electrification, automation, service, and maintenance.
"Swedish mining companies have a tradition of being technology leaders, which has enabled them to compete internationally," said ABB CEO Björn Rosengren. "Within the framework for SUM, 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."
Combitech contributes broad expertise when it comes to connecting autonomous processes and people via digital ecosystems.
"Via this partnership, we can derive maximum benefit from digitalization. One key is integration between various complex systems in order to manage information flows and enable interactivity. Here, we are proud to contribute our know-how and experience of digital integration to achieve the sustainable mining of the future," said Combitech CEO Hans Torin.
These companies have the opportunity to bring their expertise together at LKAB's Konsuln test mine at the site of the Kiruna iron mine in far north Swedish Lapland. The digital and mining solutions brought by each of the SAM partners can be assimilated via an open systems architecture known as LKAB Open Mine Integrator.
In March, the "Testbed for integrated, efficient and carbon-dioxide-free mining systems", a part of SUM, received 207 million kronor (US$23 million) from the Swedish Energy Agency, demonstrating how important the SUM project is for the climate, the mining technology transition, and for Sweden as an industrial nation.