Sweden

Kiruna Mine

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Categories

Overview

Mine TypeUnderground
Commodities
  • Iron Ore
  • REE
Mining Method
  • Sub-level caving
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life2048
ShapshotKiruna is one of the world's largest underground mines for iron ore production.

The seismic event in the Kiruna mine in spring 2020 means that production of crushed ore from the mine remains lower than normal and production is expected to be affected for a further couple of years. Measures to secure production volumes also involve higher costs than normal.

In 2022, the permit application submitted in June 2018 to the Land and Environmental Court for existing and expanded mining operations and production in Kiruna was rejected by the Supreme Court. LKAB had appealed to the Supreme Land and Environmental Court and the Supreme Court. LKAB continues to operate in accordance with existing permits and is now working on a new permit application.

Owners

SourceSource
CompanyInterestOwnership
Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB) 100 % Indirect
LKAB is a limited liability company wholly owned by the Swedish state. The Iron Ore business operations include mines and processing plants in Kiruna, Svappavaara and Malmberget in Gällivare.

Contractors

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Deposit type

  • Kiruna-type

Summary:

Deposit Geology The Kiruna iron oxide-apatite mineralisations are located within the volcanic and volcano sedimentary formations of the Kiirunavaara group. Iron mineralisation is found in two stratigraphic positions, with the Kiirunavaara and Luossavaara iron ore bodies and the satellite Konsuln ore body located at the contact of the Hopukka and Luossavaara formations and the Per Geijer mineralisation (Rektorn, Haukivaara, Henry and Nukutus) being located higher in the stratigraphy, at the contact of the Luossavaara and Matojärvi formations and also within the latter. The trachyandesitic Hopukka formation forms the footwall of the Kiirunavaara and Luossavaara iron ore deposits. It is composed of intermediate lavas that commonly show plagioclase phenocrysts in a fine-grained grey groundmass. Magnetite and apatite veins or schlieren are relatively common in the trachyandesite. Porphyritic rhyodacite of the Luossavaara formation forms the hanging wall of the Kiirunavaara and Luossavaara ore deposits. The unit consists of red, grey, or brown pyroclastic tuffs, ignimbrites, and lavas that in places show flow banding texture. In the middle part of the formation, between the Luossavaara and Rektorn ore bodies, there is at least one zone of agglomerate, which exhibits magnetite nodules (e.g., Geijer 1968). The magnetite orebodies are crosscut by felsic dykes that are compositionally similar to the rhyodacite. These dike porphyries are present both in the footwall and in the ore, but they have not been recognized in the hanging wall. The orebodies are also crosscut by at least two generations of mafic dykes. Kiirunavaara Mineralisation The Kiirunavaara iron oxide-apatite orebody intruded the contact of the trachyandesite of the Hopukka formation (footwall) and the rhyodacite of the Luossavaara formation (hanging wall). The orebody is a thick plate that extends from the surface down to a depth of 1300-2400 m, based on current knowledge. The orebody is between 90 and 120 metres thick and dips towards the east at 55-60 degrees. The plunge is towards the north. The original surface of the deposit has been removed by open pit mining. The Kiirunavaara ore consists of massive magnetite that is commonly very fine-grained to more coarse-grained. Hematite is much rarer. In the low-phosphorus magnetite types (referred to as ‘B-ores’) the apatite content is negligible whereas in the high-phosphorus types (referred to as ‘D-ores’) the apatite content may be up to several percent. Other commonly occurring minerals include calcite, actinolite, talc, quartz, titanite and anhydrite. Sulphides are rare, but both pyrite and chalcopyrite are present. The ore commonly exhibits a sharp, intrusive contact to the wall rocks. Magnetite veins and dikes are common both in the footwall and in the hanging wall adjacent to the main ore zone. The Kiirunavaara orebody was most probably formed in several pulses. This is shown in the distribution of the different ore types within the deposit. In general, D-types seem to be more common in the northern part of the orebody (referred to as ‘Sjömalmen’, or the ‘Lake ore’), at the footwall and hanging wall margins and as internal zones throughout the orebody. Although hematite is relatively rare compared with magnetite in the Kiirunavaara orebody, it is present in small concentrations throughout the orebody. The margins of the Kiirunavaara orebody are richer in silicate minerals than the central parts, with the predominant silicate mineral being actinolite. Titanite is preferentially present near the footwall, where it is found in zones mapped as skarn. The mineral distribution is reflected in the geochemical trends, where SiO2 and MgO concentrations are higher at the margins of the orebody and in the P2O5-rich zones, and the TiO2 concentration increases towards the footwall. Other Known Mineralisation in the Area Konsuln is a satellite orebody of Kiirunavaara deposit approximately 600 m long and commonly 20-40 m wide in the central and southern parts, but not wider than 10 m in the northern part of the orebody. Konsuln may have been separated from Kiirunavaara by northeast oriented faults, or that it has formed from one (or more) separate ore lenses. The Konsuln orebody strikes mainly in a northwest direction and is wider to the south. The dip is approximately 70-90° east and northeast. The ore quality in Konsuln varies between B (Fe-rich and P-poor) and D (Fe-poor and P-rich), with more consistent and higher quality ore in the thicker southern part. Sigrid and Viktor deposits are located east and southeast of Konsuln. In the past, these deposits have been mined by open pit methods. Underground mining methods were also used at Sigrid until 1980. Based on previous diamond drilling results the mineralisation occurs in irregular, separate lenses, and veins. The logging and geochemical data shows that the hanging wall mainly consist of rhyolite and the footwall consists of trachyandesite, although there is a mixing between these rock types especially in the footwall. Per Geijer – potential to become Europe’s most important mine for critical raw materials. Promising results from LKAB’s ongoing exploration in Kiruna and Gällivare were presented last spring. The deposit Per Geijer is in close proximity to existing operations in Kiruna. More extensive studies show an increase from 400 million tonnes of mineral resources with high iron content to over 500 million tonnes, and that the Per Geijer deposit contains up to seven times the grade of phosphorus as the orebodies that LKAB mines in Kiruna today. Phosphorus is one of three nutrients in mineral fertilisers necessary for food production and is on the EU’s list of critical minerals. For the first time, LKAB reports a Mineral Resource and further extensive studies in Per Geijer of assets amounting to more than one million tonnes of rare earth metals in the form of Rare Earth Oxides, which are used to produce Rare Earth Elements (REE).

Reserves

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Mining Methods

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Comminution

Crushers and Mills

Milling equipment has not been reported.

Processing

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Production

CommodityProductUnits2022202120202019201820172016
Iron Ore Pellets & Fines Mt 00000000151514
Iron Ore Lump Mt 0000

Operational metrics

Metrics202220212020201920182017
Ore tonnes mined 00000000000027.4 Mt27.5 Mt
Waste
Tonnes processed 0000000000000000
Daily ore mining rate 0000085,000 t

Production Costs

Commodity production costs have not been reported.

Financials

Units201920182017
Capital expenditures M SEK  ....  Subscribe 616   747  
Revenue M SEK  ....  Subscribe 13,275  
Operating Income M SEK  ....  Subscribe 4,102   4,181  

Heavy Mobile Equipment

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AV - Autonomous

Personnel

Mine Management

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