Two years after the seismic event in the Kiruna mine

May 30, 2022
Joel Kangas
Joel Kangas, mine manager at LKAB in Kiruna.

Work to repair the damaged area of the Kiruna mine has been completed. Preparations are now being made for a preliminary production start-up during the autumn."It has been two intensive years.  We have carried out extensive work on several fronts and now it feels very secure," says Joel Kangas, mine manager at LKAB in Kiruna.

It has been exactly two years since a major seismic event occurred in the Kiruna mine. The event caused extensive damage – above all, in production area 22, in the so-called Block 22.

“It will be some time before we are in phase with mine production overall, but we have a good system in place. This is a complex issue and it remains at the top of the agenda, which is why it must take time. Safety is the most important consideration,” says Joel Kangas.

Mine production amounts to some 66,000 tonnes per 24-hour period and the forecast for the coming year looks about the same. This means a reduction in production of approximately 20 percent. 
“We plan to resume production in the area in the autumn, but we are also considering other options”, says Joel Kangas. 

Block 22, which is in the middle of the mine, has lagged a bit behind the other production areas. This affects overall mine production, since everything is interrelated and forms a pattern – a production flow. Therefore, this has a bearing on how the ore is mined and hauled out, and how mining progresses at depth. This is central to all mining operations.
“Essentially, all activities have to do with safety and implementing solutions for even safer and more sustainable mining at greater depth. We are therefore also collaborating with an external group of specialists to really ensure that we are making the right decisions. The decisions we make now will impact all mine production leading forward,” says Joel Kangas. 

Work in the damaged Block 22 will continue during the summer and into early autumn. According to plan, production will start once every aspect of the situation has been given careful consideration.
“We must ensure that we are using the best solution, now and for the future. This is crucial for continued mining,” concludes Joel Kangas.