Tighter restrictions to limit the spread of covid-19

June 18, 2020
One of the plants at LKAB in Malmberget.

Due to the increased spread of the virus in Norrbotten, LKAB is taking further measures that will apply to all employees in Sweden.

In early June the epidemiologist from regional healthcare provider Region Norrbotten warned of a suspected increase of the virus Norrbotten. This week the Municipality of Gällivare reported a rapid rise in the incidence of covid-19, which has also affected LKAB. About sixty LKAB co-workers in Malmberget, some thirty of which have been diagnosed as carriers of the virus, are now staying home. One plant has therefore been closed for several days, due undermanning and safety considerations.

LKAB is in contact with epdemiologists in Norrbotten 

”Locally, in certain workplaces, we noted an increase and we took immediate and decisive measures to contain the spread of the virus. Among other things, the infected employees were quarantined and we reduced manning without jeopardizing safety. Now, our thoughts turn to our co-workers who have been ill, and to their families,” says Mikael Palo, Senior Vice President Business Area Iron Ore, LKAB, continuing,

”Based on what we know about our operations and on a knowledge of which people have been ill and when, we have some difficulty in establishing a connection between the spread of the virus and the maintenance stop that commenced one month before the first illnesses were reported. We have contacted Region Norrbotten and epidemiologists in Norrbotten to learn what they know and what they have seen that we are not aware of, so that we can ensure that we are taking all of the proper measures.”

LKAB has followed recommendations from authorities

Throughout the pandemic the company has followed recommendations from public health authorities and taken several measures to reduce the spread of the virus in our operating locations. Before and during the planned maintenance stop that was carried out in the spring and early summer, the level of preparedness has been further increased Like the public health authorities, LKAB, in both internal and external communications, has emphasized the importance of personal responsibility in this extraordinary situation.

”Many co-workers have been working from home for a long time. LKAB is now tightening restrictions and requesting that all those who are able to work from a distance do so. These measures are meant to reduce the number of people in our workplaces and to protect those who must be on site,” says Grete Solvang Stoltz, Senior Vice President, HR and Sustainability, LKAB.  

Processing plant opens again

As for the situation in Malmberget, LKAB has a contingency plan that is based on risk assessments concerning the spread of covid-19.

“We take this situation very seriously and we are closely monitoring the need for further protective measures in both the mine and processing plants. For example, several of our co-workers have been able to return to work and the plan is to re-open the MK3 processing plant on Friday,” says Monika Sammelin, acting general manager for Malmberget.