Everything between space and earth
The second day of activities continued as Anders mentioned with a visit to LKAB. Here we were given a guided tour of their facilities and we also got to visit their Visitors Mine. About 4000 people work at LKAB and if you add all the other companies working towards them you understand the importance this company has to Kiruna.
During the visit we got to learn about the mining process and how they create their iron ore pellets which are about 80 percent of LKAB’s production. It is very fascinating when you hear the volume numbers that is processed and shipped every day. Because the mining is done deep underground instead of in an open pit it puts very high demands on the operations. The Visitors mine which we got to visit were about 500 meters below ground, but the actual mining is performed at twice the depth!
Another interesting aspect is that the iron vein goes down in an angle towards the city. If future mining should be possible, a large part of the town must actually have to be moved for security reasons. This is an enormous project which will be very interesting to follow in the future.
For the last day of our trip we finally got some nice weather. Too bad this didn’t happen a few days earlier since we got reports that the chance for northern light was high during our two previous nights. I guess this gives an excuse to return back to this beautiful place another time in the future. Our final stop was at IRF which is the Swedish Institute of Space Physics. Its primary tasks is to carry out basic research, education and associated observatory activities in space physics, space technology and atmospheric physics.
At IRF we were welcomed by Charles Lue, PhD and he gave us an introduction to the research and previous projects that they had been a part of.
Our visit ended with a company presentation for interested students, focused on the Graduate programme. Hopefully we caught their interest and will see some of them at our site in Trollhättan in the future.
Summarizing the trip I would say that we had a lot of fun and personally learned from all the companies that we visited.
Hope to see you again Kiruna!