Interim Report January–March 2023: Higher production, good market conditions

April 27, 2023

LKAB’s operating profit for the first quarter benefited from favourable market conditions with continued high iron ore prices and a strong dollar rate. Production of iron ore products increased during the quarter despite challenges involving the supply of crushed ore from the Kiruna mine. Operating profit for the quarter amounted to MSEK 5,186 and represents an operating margin of 43 percent.

Net sales for the first quarter of the year amounted to MSEK 11,955 (11,976). Lower iron ore prices were partly offset by a higher dollar rate. Operating profit amounted to MSEK 5,186 (6,497) and was also affected by higher costs during the quarter, associated mainly with price increases for energy and other inputs and with measures to secure production capacity. 

During the quarter production increased to 6.9 (6.4) Mt as we begin to see the effects of the activities carried out to improve production stability. The seismic event in the Kiruna mine in 2020 continues to restrict production, however. Delivery volumes for the quarter amounted to 6.7 (6.7) Mt.

“We continue to see strong demand for our highly upgraded iron ore products, but we remain hampered by production restrictions in Kiruna. Alongside this the deficiencies of the Ore Railway are clearly already causing a bottleneck, with increased costs and reduced flexibility, and this is expected to become worse in the time ahead. It not only risks putting the brakes on the major industrial investments that are planned but is also a threat to existing operations. We are in ongoing dialogue with the Swedish Transport Administration concerning the measures that are still needed,” says Jan Moström, President and CEO LKAB.

The global spot price for iron ore products remains at a high level, averaging USD 125 (142) per tonne for the quarter. Quoted pellet premiums for the quarter were also lower than in the same period last year. 

Good exploration results
The update of mineral resources and mineral reserves presented during the quarter in the Annual and Sustainability Report for 2022 indicates continued good results from the ongoing exploration work, with increased resources and an increased level of confidence. The exploration results also indicate a significant resource of rare earth elements in the Per Geijer deposit located close to existing operations in Kiruna. Further investigations are in progress and the plan is to submit an application for an exploitation concession during the year.

“In recent years exploration efforts have been intensified with the aim of securing production after the current main haulage levels are expected to be mined out. Exploration provides the foundation for our business, so the latest results presented for our mineral resources and mineral reserves are very encouraging,” says Jan Moström. 

Contact: Niklas Johansson, Senior Vice President Communication and Climate LKAB. Tel: +46 (0)10-144 52 19. E-mail:

LKAB is an international mining and minerals group that offers sustainable iron ore, minerals and special products. We are committed to developing carbon-free processes and products by 2045, leading the transformation of the iron and steel industry. Since 1890 we have developed through unique innovations and technological solutions and are driven forward by more than 4,500 employees in 12 countries. In 2021, the LKAB group had sales of about SEK 47 billion.