Sweden’s LKAB sets out net-zero transformation path
LKAB, Sweden’s state-owed mining and metals group, is embarking on the biggest transformation in the company’s 130-year history which will be backed by one of the largest industrial investments ever made in the Scandinavian country.
Its new strategy sets out the path the company will take to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from its own processes and products by 2045 and secures the company’s operations with expanded mining beyond 2060. The strategy sets out three main tracks for the transformation:
- New world standard for mining
- Sponge iron produced using green hydrogen will in time replace iron ore pellets, opening the way for a fossil-free iron and steel industry
- Extract critical minerals from mine waste: using fossil-free technology to extract strategically important earth elements and phosphorous for mineral fertiliser from today’s mine waste
The transformation will require investments of between £869.3 million to £1.73 billion a year, over a period of around 15 to 20 years within LKAB’s operations alone. The statement adds that the new strategy is in response to market developments in the global iron and steel industry, which is undergoing a technological shift.
“The market for iron and steel will grow, and at the same time the global economy is shifting towards a carbon-free future. Our carbon-free products will play an important part in the production of railways, wind farms, electric vehicles, and industrial machinery. We will go from being part of the problem to being an important part of the solution,” says Moström.
The company states that the market for steel is forecasted to grow by 50 percent by the year 2050. This growth will be achieved by an increase in the upgrading recycled scrap in electric arc furnaces. Today, the iron and steel industry accounts for more than a quarter of industrial emissions and for seven percent of the world’s total carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The carbon-free sponge iron that will in time replace iron ore pellets as LKAB’s main export product is suitable for arc furnaces, allowing the company to offer industries around the world access to carbon-free iron, Moström says.
“In switching from iron ore pellets to carbon-free sponge iron we are taking an important step forward in the value chain, increasing the value of our products and at the same time giving our customers direct access to carbon-free iron. That is good for the climate and good for our business. This transformation will provide us with good opportunities to more than double our turnover by 2045,” he explains.
During the transformation period, the company will supply iron ore pellets in parallel with developing carbon-free sponge iron. It believes "rapid solutions" must be found for various complex issues including permits, energy requirements and better conditions for research, development and innovation.
“Our transformation will dramatically improve Europe’s ability to achieve its climate goals. By reducing emissions primarily from our export business, we will achieve a reduction in global emissions that is equivalent to two thirds of all Sweden’s carbon emissions. That’s three times greater than the effect of abandoning all cars in Sweden for good. It’s the biggest thing we in Sweden can do for the climate,” continues Moström.
“What Swedish industry is now doing, spearheaded by LKAB, is to respond to the threatening climate crisis with innovation and technological change. In doing so we are helping to secure a future for coming generations. This will also create new jobs in the county of Norrbotten, which will become a hub in a green industrial transformation. Succeeding in this will create ripples for generations to come. Not just here, but far beyond our borders. Now we are doing, what everyone says must be done,” adds Göran Persson, chairman of the Board of LKAB.
“Sweden will continue to take global leadership in the industry’s transformation and show that a fossil-free society is within our reach. By setting an ambitious climate agenda we can lay the best foundation for innovation and enhanced competitiveness, thereby creating sustainable jobs throughout the country,” states Isabella Lövin, Minister for the Environment and Climate.
“LKAB is a company of great significance both locally and for the whole of Sweden, and with this strategy will continue to play an important role in Sweden’s prosperity. Collaboration, innovation and technological development will enable LKAB to continue its operations and contribute to substantial reductions in carbon emissions as well as increased circularity. This will, in time, create a new Swedish export industry which also will bring about positive change beyond Sweden’s borders,” concludes Ibrahim Baylan, Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation.
Ma'aden celebrates 5th anniversary of Vision 2030
Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden), one of the world’s fastest-growing global mining companies, celebrates the fifth anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. The Kingdom’s mining champion highlights key achievements since the Vision 2030 launch and plans that reflect its commitment to the Kingdom’s social and economic development.
The Kingdom has implemented significant incentive programs and announced major reforms in the last five years to accelerate the development of the mining industry as a strategic pillar of the Saudi economy, including the recently launched mining investment law to attract investors and pave the way for the full utilisation of Saudi Arabia’s mineral resources, which are estimated to be worth more than $1.3trn. This goes in line with the objectives of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP), one of the most important programs for achieving Vision 2030.
Ma’aden has kept its projects across a range of commodities moving on a strong growth trajectory since 2016. The company has expanded its investment portfolio, refinanced key projects, and made its first international acquisition, laying the foundation for future growth and new investment opportunities in the Saudi mining industry. Despite some challenges in 2020 due to COVID-19, Ma’aden managed to maintain its agility and remained focused on its goal to become a global Saudi mining giant, while adhering to the highest standards of health, safety, and environment.
Located on the east coast of Saudi Arabia, Ras Al-Khair Industrial City jumpstarted the mining industry development in Saudi Arabia, leveraging the country’s strategic location in connecting three continents. In November 2016, Ras Al-Khair Industrial City was further expanded and connected via railway to Ma’aden’s bauxite mine in Qassim and phosphate mine in Al Jalamid, making it a cornerstone of the Kingdom’s mineral and metal production and export industries.
Ma’aden’s integrated ‘mine to market’ aluminium value chain is the largest in the Middle East and one of the largest in the world, with investments over $11bn. Aluminium products of the highest international standards are sold to both domestic and global markets, encouraging the development of additional downstream aluminium-based industries in Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries. Operations are centered around the largest and most efficient vertically integrated aluminium complex in the world, in Ras Al Khair Industrial City, which also houses sulfur and phosphate production facilities.
Intending to capture the full value of Saudi Arabia’s significant phosphate reserves and develop new mining and mineral activities, in 2018, Ma’aden celebrated the inauguration of the industrial city of Wa’ad Al Shamal by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz. Wa’ad Al Shamal is a world-class industrial and mining city in the Northern Borders region of Saudi Arabia. This phosphate super hub will continue to grow with Ma’aden’s latest phosphate megaproject, which is primed to increase phosphate fertilizer capacity to reach 6 million tonnes, making Ma’aden the world’s third-largest producer of phosphate fertilizer and Saudi Arabia the second largest global exporter.
In 2018, Ma’aden also acquired an 85% stake in Meridian, the Mauritius-based fertilizer distribution group, strengthening its position as one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of phosphate fertilizers. This acquisition marked Ma’aden’s first investment outside the Kingdom, in line with the company’s goal to expand globally and significantly contribute to the Kingdom's Vision 2030.
In 2019, Ma’aden commenced construction of the Mansourah and Massarah gold mine, the company’s largest-ever gold project and the Kingdom’s first project to utilize solar power as an energy source. Once operational, the mine and its processing facilities will have a key role in achieving Ma’aden’s target of producing 1 million ounces of gold per year by 2025.
These accomplishments are all due to the steppingstones set by the Saudi Vision 2030, which laid the foundations for creating an attractive environment for local and foreign investments in promising growth sectors and unlocking new ones, in addition to developing remote areas, bringing technologies and knowledge to the Kingdom, establishing specialized and modern industrial cities, and generating diverse job opportunities for Saudi nationals.