Specialist consultancy Vysus Group (formerly LR Energy), the global engineering and technology company, has been selected to support international mining and mineral group, Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB), in the modernisation of its fleet of 18 iron ore (IORE) transportation locomotives, which use the Ore Railway in Sweden all year round.
The one year contract, worth a six-figure sum, was awarded to Vysus Group in November 2020 and has options to extend up until 2026. It is anticipated that that project will take up to six years to complete.
Vysus Group will be responsible for the provision of engineering, risk management and regulatory approvals services. This will ensure the work carried out under the modernisation programme meets regulatory and legal requirements, and complies with the European Commission’s Common Safety Methods (CSM). The CSM provides a legal and mandatory framework for the evaluation and assessment of risk associated with engineering, operational and organisational changes to railways.
The modernisation of the trains, which transport iron ore from LKAB’s mining operations in Malmfälten in the north of Sweden to the shipping ports of Luleå and Narvik several times each day, will include upgrades to the onboarding and signalling systems.
The IORE locomotives have been designed to transport extremely heavy loads with a single train transporting as much as 6,800 tonnes of iron ore products. With a traction of 1,200 kilonewtons, it is the world's strongest locomotive. They are 750 metres long, have 68 cars with a load capacity of 100 tonnes per car, and handle millions of tonnes of iron ore products each year.
Through the locomotive's asynchronous engine, kinetic energy is converted into electricity when the trains perform engine braking. This allows for an energy-neutral operation as the locomotive has the ability to feedback energy.
LKAB's investment in the modernisation of its IORE fleet forms part of its newly published strategy to secure its operations beyond the year 2060, which will be made possible through an investment of up to 20 billion Swedish Krona (SEK) over a 20 year period. The upgrade to its fleet further demonstrates LKAB’s commitment to ensuring it maintains a world-class logistics system in order to optimise business performance and ensure safe, reliable and sustainable operations that comply with the CSM.
Mikael Krydzinski, Senior Consultant, at Vysus Group said: "The modernisation of LKAB's fleet of locomotives is an important part of its transformation as it commits to creating sustainable growth before 2045. We are pleased that Vysus Group has been chosen as LKAB's partner to shore up its critical transportation operations, and to help make them safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly.
"Its fleet of locomotives is a critical element of the logistics system, transporting several million tonnes of crude ore each year, and we are looking forward to playing a key role in helping make significant improvements to its operations."
Vysus Group's success in securing this contract with LKAB came directly as a result of the company's proven track record and extensive experience in supporting rail operators, infrastructure owners and companies across the rail transportation supply chain in Europe and Scandinavia.
LKAB is an international high-tech mining and mineral group that mines and processes iron ore for the global steel market. It is one of Sweden's oldest industrial companies and is wholly owned by the Swedish state. LKAB is also one of Sweden's largest freight carriers, responsible for around 35% of the freight on the country's railways.