Luossavaara Kiirunavaara Aktie Bolag, is abbreviated LKAB. This is a mix of Sami and Swedish language, and means Salmon- and Grouse Mountain Coorporation.
LKAB is a high-tech international company and a world leading producer of iron ore products for steel making. The iron ore is being transported by train along the Ofotbanen railway, from Kiruna, Malmberget and Svappavaara in Northern Sweden to the two harbours Luleå in Sweden and to Narvik.
Ice free harbour
Narvik is LKAB's largest harbour, and has a loading capacity of up to 20 million tons iron ore per year. The harbour in Narvik is ice free, and the harbour basin and the fjord surrounding Narvik has a lot of space to offer the big ore ships arriving Narvik the whole year through.
Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the fjord in to Narvik never freezes over in the winter, and with the short distance to the mines in Northern Sweden, Narvik was a natural choice for LKAB as a shipping port. The iron ore is shipped out to the entire world from Narvik.
LKAB and Narvik
LKAB is one of Swedens oldest industrial factories, and was established in 1890. In 1902 the railroad between Kiruna and Narvik was opened. And since then, more than one billion tons of iron ore has been transported along the railroad.
The Sila facility
The latest years, up to 2011, LKAB has invested 20 billion SEK in an efficient 650 meters long, eco-friendly, automated unloading station. The facilty has 12 gigantic deep storage silos blasted in the mountain side, each with a depth of 60 meters. They are run by advanced automation and the specially designed ore wagons can be unloaded in just five seconds. This meanas that an ore train consisting of 68 wagons can be unloaded in 6 short minutes. And below the silos there are tunnels which are in total 2,8 km long, with conveyors for the for iron ore.
The iron ore ships
The ships arriving the harbour to transport the iron ore out in to the world, vary in size, but the average is a tonnage of 75.000 and they are about 200 meters long.
In November 2012 Qing May visited Narvik, she had a tonnage of 206.000 and was loaded with 195.000 tons of iron ore pellets. She then left the city heading for Abu Dhabi with a crew of 25. Qing May is 300 meters long with a width of 50 meters.
The biggest ship ever to visit Narvik, is the World Gala. In 1979 she came and loaded a total of 242.000 tons!