LKAB_1160x480_Fotograf Fredric Alm.jpg
Photo: Fredric Alm / LKAB

LKAB is investing SEK 45 million in pilot plants to extract phosphorus

Last autumn saw the start of a collaboration between Ragn-Sells and LKAB aimed at recovering phosphorus and rare-earth metals from LKAB’s mining waste. LKAB is now investing SEK 45 million to continue the preliminary study of the patented KMAP process developed by Ragn-Sells’ innovation company, EasyMining, and to build two pilot plants in Malmfälten and Uppsala.

Innovation Company news 23 Apr 2019

Phosphorus is in focus at Ragn-Sells, who are promoting the element as an important natural resource – and one for which they have a circular solution. Last autumn saw the start of a collaboration with the state-owned mining company LKAB in which the Ragn-Sells innovation company EasyMining’s KMAP technology can extract phosphorus and other valuable minerals from mining waste. The laboratory tests that have been conducted so far show that the patented KMAP technology can produce more phosphorus and rare-earth metals from LKAB’s mining waste than anticipated.

– Thanks to the excellent results of our laboratory tests we can now invest with confidence in the continuation of the preliminary study and the pilot plants, says Jan Moström, CEO at LKAB.

Can become a raw material export

LKAB is investing a total of SEK 45 million to develop and prepare the technology for full-scale industrial application at two pilot plants in Malmfälten and Uppsala. Ragn-Sells will operate the plant in Uppsala, where EasyMining is also based. 

–  Our way of living today is built on an unsustainable use of natural resources, says Lars Lindén, CEO of Ragn-Sells.

– It is therefore gratifying that our collaboration with LKAB is contributing to the transition to a more sustainable society where Sweden can become an exporter of phosphorus and other important raw materials.

A good example of circular economy

The pilot phase will run through 2020, and a decision on whether to invest in full-scale production is expected in 2021. With full-scale industrialisation, the production of phosphorus is expected to amount to five times Sweden’s domestic need, so the recovered phosphorus can also be exported. In addition, full-scale industrialisation could produce a quantity of rare-earth metals amounting to approximately two per cent of global production.

– Our collaboration with Ragn-Sells is a very good example of circular economy – of replenishing and recovering resources, says Jan Moström.

– We are going to focus on developing a business in the location that is the best option environmentally, requiring the least goods transport and utilising resources in the best way.