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ABB provides automation and electrification planning for new mine in Sweden

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Global Mining Review,

Nordic Iron Ore has appointed ABB to scope process control and management systems for a future-proof and fully-digitalised mining operation at the Blötberget iron ore mine.

Global technology company, ABB, has provided mine design consultancy and recommended scope of supply for the opening of the former Blötberget mine near Ludvika in the Dalarna region of Sweden. The mine, which has been closed since 1979, is being redeveloped by mining company Nordic Iron Ore and is transitioning from study phase towards construction.

ABB’s recommendation addresses automation, digitalisation and electrification for long-term, safe, sustainable and efficient mining operations at the site. The technology provider analysed a detailed feasibility study by Nordic Iron Ore and has made a significant advancement on the definitions and scope of supply of the automation and electrification aspects of the mine.

In planning mine design, ABB draws on its comprehensive ABB AbilityTM MineOptimize portfolio of electrification and automation solutions, engineering, digital applications and collaborative services. ABB Ability MineOptimize integrates individual mining solutions into a secure and structured plant-wide system to optimise all stages in the lifecycle – from design and build to operation and service – of any opencast or under-ground mine and minerals processing plant.

ABB automation and digital solutions to meet the challenges in designing and developing a new mine include ABB Ability System 800xA distributed control system (DCS) and cloud-based solution ABB Ability Genix Dashboard, which supports digitalised ways of working with reports and increases transparency. ABB Ability Operations Management System, which maximises coordination between weekly production plans and dynamic situations in the mine to improve efficiency, increase productivity and maximise profitability, is another example. ABB also looked at electrical infrastructure requirements for Blötberget, including surface and underground containers, switch-gears and transformers.

“Mining and the support industries are a significant part of the Swedish economy, with some of the most advanced and efficient mining operations anywhere in the world,” said Lennart Eliasson, Managing Director of Nordic Iron Ore. “There are many challenges when opening a new mine. We want to draw on the strong technology knowledge that exists in Sweden to open a mine with low environmental impact and footprint and that is also competitive and safe. The early involvement from ABB, which has a track record of working with innovative mines in Sweden, ensures that the construction design and planning for the development of the mine can take a significant step forwards and with improved costs and benefits forecast accuracy.”

“ABB can provide assistance at an early stage in mine development for electrification and automation and routinely collaborates with mining companies from initial feasibility studies through to full deployment,” said Björn Jonsson, Hub Manager, Process Industries, ABB. “Swedish mines are already benefiting from ABB solutions, using ABB Ability System 800xA distributed control system and the integrated ABB Ability Ventilation Optimizer.”

The Blötberget iron ore mine is expected to be operational in 2024. Iron ore was mined until 1979 when it was closed due to low iron ore prices. Nordic Iron Ore was formed in 2008 with the main aims of resuming mining operations in Blötberget and Håksberg and conducting exploration of the expansion potential of the Väsman field, together forming the Ludvika Mines, in southern Dalarna.

Nordic Iron Ore and ABB will continue the development of the project and have recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for further collaboration at Blötberget.

ABB has built in-depth sector knowledge, leading-edge technology and global and local project management, engineering and digital transformation expertise from 130 years of working with the mining and minerals industry.

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