A lot has changed since LKAB was founded back in 1890. While our identity remain rooted in north Sweden, the world has become our workplace and our products have gone global.
It is important to have a look in the history books now and then to remind ourselves about how much has changed and continue changing at LKAB.
Consider for a moment how much has changed in the world around us since LKAB was founded in 1890:
- Booms and recessions have succeeded one another.
- The average lifespan in Sweden has increased with more than 30 years, to 80+.
- Women received voting rights in most countries globally.
- The United Nations and European Union was founded.
- The car was invented and is soon driving itself, just as industrial robots was once automated.
- Internet has gone from an idea to an obvious backbone of modern society.
For a company with our long and extensive historical roots, these societal changes have of course had substantial effects to us and our development. And just as the world around us has changed over the years, so have we.
Norway first – then the rest of the world
Our first major international step was the Ofoten railway from Gällivare in Sweden to Narvik in Norway, inaugurated in 1902. It took our operations outside of Sweden and became our main gateway to the rest of the world.
But while it was big, it was also just one of many steps on a much longer journey. While we are still standing strong and rooted in north Sweden, we now have operations in 19 towns and cities in 12 countries. The world has really become our workplace.
After arriving in Narvik, the most significant international move has been made by our subsidiary LKAB Minerals. It was founded in 1989 as Minelco, selling a fine and dried magnetite, made from the same mineral as some of our iron ore.
The company quickly grew to become truly international. 33 year after its foundation, LKAB Minerals now sells 30 industrial minerals and has 12 offices in 11 countries, employing approximately 400 people.
A new meaning to global
Since 2020, we have taken the lead in the transformation of the iron, steel and minerals industries towards a sustainable future. This brings new meaning to our status as an international corporation and employer.
As we move towards carbon-free processes and products, we are making it possible for many other businesses to follow suit. Our iron ore and minerals are core ingredients in a several production lines and industries, for example:
- Automotive: Our iron ore is the main ingredient in the steel that SSAB produces and will transform Volvo Cars production line.
- Building and construction: Our industrial minerals and the steel made from our ore are critical when building sustainable factories, housing etc.
- Electronics: Rare earth minerals are used to produce magnets and other components that are used in products like LED-lights, hard drives, displays, and speakers.
- Farming: Phosphorus is a by-product of our mining and will be processed for use in mineral fertilizers to improve crops and help make Europe more self-sufficient.
These are just a few of the examples where our efforts in sustainability will improve the value chain and help battle climate change around the world. The further we move along in our transformation, the more we will set an international precedence and footprint.
In some ways, we are now moving into the global sustainability industry.