LKAB has been granted an environmental permit for the new open-pit mine at Gruvberget, near the village of Svappavaara in Kiruna, Sweden. “We are very pleased, now we can open LKAB’s first iron ore mine in 50 years,” says President, Lars-Eric Aaro. The plan is to gradually increase production at the new mine up to 2 Mt/y of crude ore. The orebody contains both magnetite and hematite, but only the former will initially be mined. This news coincides with International Mining‘s upcoming series on the company’s mines (first article to be published in June).The ruling by the Environmental Court means that LKAB can move ahead with plans to increase production of finished products by 10 Mt/y. “We’re aiming for 37 Mt, and Gruvberget will be an important step towards reaching that target. We must do this to be able to keep pace with our customers who wish to grow. Since the completion of our investments in new pelletising plants and upgraded logistics, the mines have been the bottleneck in the chain of production. Quite simply, we need more iron ore,” says Aaro.“The open pit that is to be initially mined holds about 12 Mt of mineable ore. We are aware that there is at least 25 Mt of magnetite, and the ore is open at depth, which is to say, we don’t know how deep it goes. This means the life expectancy of the mine could extend beyond the first planned phase of eight years,” says Per-Erik Lindvall, Senior Vice President Technology and Business Development.In addition to Gruvberget, LKAB wants to open a new mine in Mertainen, about 15 km outside of Svappavaara, and reopen the old open pit at Leveäniemi.“These three new mines represent reserves of more than 300 Mt of iron ore with an iron content of nearly 60%. All three are close to LKAB’s infrastructure and processing plants. That makes this investment the best iron ore development project in all of Europe,” says Lindvall.The new mine will generate about 30-40 new jobs in Svappavaara. LKAB plans to inaugurate the new mine by firing the first blasting round in late May.