LKAB Minerals looks to sustainability

By Siobhan Lismore-Scott, Emma Hughes
Published: Friday, 21 February 2014

LKAB Minerals highlighted the issue of sustainability in refractories at a number of events in the last 12 months, emphasising the need for renewable energy and more recycling.

Recycling refractories

LKAB Minerals highlighted the issue of sustainability in refractories at a number of events in the last 12 months, emphasising the need for renewable energy and more recycling.

In 2013, LKAB Minerals, then Minelco, presented their refractory and foundry portfolio to members of the Institute of Cast Metal Engineers (ICME). At this meeting the company highlighted how recycling refractory minerals could offset the rising cost of raw materials.

Dr Tony Hutton, assistant technical manager, highlighted how it was possible to reduce raw material costs whilst not compromising on quality for demanding refractory applications.

LKAB Minerals offer a range of reclaimed refractory products. The materials are taken from the user’s site, hand sorted to remove any contamination, crushed and dried and finally processed into grogs or powders depending on customer specifications. Chemical analysis of each material is carried out on a regular basis to ensure consistency. One important customer is an internal one, as the company also works with reclaiming and recycling spent refractories from the LKAB groups iron ore palletising plants in Sweden.

“[LKAB Minerals] are committed to continuing with recycling research and development, improving our processes to provide customers with their exact requirements and becoming more sustainable as a refractory minerals manufacturer and supplier,” the company said.

Minelco becomes LKAB Minerals

Swedish industrial minerals supplier Minelco aligned itself under its parent company brand and became LKAB Minerals in July 2013.

The LKAB group is active in the mining, construction, concrete production, housing, train haulage, harbour operations, explosives, water powered drilling and now industrial minerals markets.

Specialisation and focus

The Magnetite products from the group mines in Northern Sweden are used in heavy concrete applications and as ballasting, and additionally as a source of iron for water treatment. The company also supplies various polymer and coatings applications, where the fine magnetite products adds weight and ferri-magnetism, the huntite hydromagnesite is used as a halogen free flame retardant and the micas for barrier formation and re-inforcement to name a couple of examples. Besides these application focus areas, the company offers a wide mineral portfolio.

“We have gone from being a one mineral company, supplying only iron ore products from the LKAB group mines in the north of Sweden, to being an international multi-mineral company with several unique deposits and with strong supply and customer partnerships around the globe,” said Bob Boulton, CEO.

Boulton added that the company is now strategically focused on developing business that is centred on applications it specialises in, “where we can utilise our mineral and processing expertise to the fullest, delivering added value and offering sustainable mineral solutions to customers worldwide.”

LKAB Minerals facts

Deposits, production and offices in Sweden (HQ), China, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain, UK and the US.

The LKAB group has subsidiaries in 14 countries, with a workforce of 4,000. It has an annual turnover of Swedish Krona (SEK) 3bn ($464m*) and deliveries exceeding 26m tonnes.

*Conversion made February 2014