How is it going?
– It’s going well, we are producing 2,000,000 t a year at the right quality and cost.
How was the startup?
– We have not had any major technical problems during startup. From extraction to loading in Narvik things have functioned well.
How do you handle market fluctuations?
– We sell to Europe, Asia and the Middle East so as not to be dependent on a single market. We spread the risk. And we constantly monitor the market to be flexible and able to adjust. We are fundamentally a debt-free company, which makes us stable.
How is the future looking?
– On 19 July 2019 we submitted our application for a permit to start a new mine at Sahavaara. With that permit in place we can more than double production and approach 5,000,000 t per year.
How long can you continue mining operations in Pajala?
– If we are given the new permit, our vision is to be able to continue extraction for another 40 years from now, 2019.
How many people work in Kaunis Iron?
– Currently in 2019, about 350 people are directly employed in operations. Indirectly the figure is much greater, if we count all the suppliers and contractors who work with us.
How many more can you employ?
– If we receive our new permit for extraction at Sahavaara, we will start recruiting for about 275 jobs. This will include 120 new drivers for our logistics chain.
How much is reinvested in the region?
– 182 mSEK locally in and around Pajala Municipality, and 317 mSEK in the region as a whole here in northern Sweden. It is a conscious strategy to use our purchasing needs to be a regional business driver.
Is Kaunis Iron a sustainable mining company?
– Yes, we take great responsibility for this entire concept when it comes to economic sustainability, social sustainability and of course environmental issues, which often take most space in the debate. We feel that socioeconomic factors are sometimes forgotten when we talk about sustainability. We would like to change this. Sustainability is important to us and we want to stand for sustainable development that helps Sweden meet the UN sustainability goals in Agenda 2030.
Are your operations hazardous to the environment?
– We are proud of our environmental work. That our extraction creates an open pit that becomes a hole in the ground is a fact. But our operations do not spread any toxins, and all we use in our process is water, and when the process water is pumped out it complies with the maximum permitted values by an ample margin. Our measurements show that we release less metal and phosphorus than water processed in treatment plants in Stockholm.
It has been said that ore transport spreads dust and ore along the road and rail routes. True?
– It is not true. Our trucks are covered, and on the railway wagons we spread a binding agent over the ore. In addition, our trains are brushed clean of any spilled ore before they roll out. Our measurements show that we do not exceed any limit values on dusting. We have over 400 hours of film footage to show that we do not spread dust.
Your rigs have been involved in road accidents. How can you reduce the risk of more accidents?
– Every accident, big or small, is a tragedy and in itself, a failuere. We always put safety first. For that reason, we work with the Swedish Transport Administration, which is responsible for road safety, to try to create safe conditions based on the factors they can influence. Naturally, our drivers are trained to drive safely. Our vision is of course Vision Zero, at the same time as we respect that road safety is impacted by many external factors over which we have no control.