Working around the clock at the world’s largest underground mine


Situated within the Arctic Circle where temperatures fall to -30°C, a fleet of Volvo Construction Equipment G-Series wheel loaders keep warm by shifting 76,000 tons of iron ore. The world’s largest underground mine really puts Volvo’s revolutionary new V-ACT Tier 4i/Stage IIIB engine to the test.

A fleet of Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) wheel loaders operate in temperatures below -30°C at the world’s largest underground mine. Located in Lapland, northern Sweden, the Kiruna Mine is blanketed by harsh snowy weather during the winter months, but despite these extreme conditions, machines work around the clock to transport 76,000 tons of iron ore up two kilometers from below ground every day. LTH Traktor – a sub-contractor of one of the world’s leading iron ore processors, Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB) – ensures that its machinery is as powerful, fuel efficient and emission-friendly as possible to keep the site operating at peak performance.

“Fuel is a huge part of our budget – and with diesel prices continuously rising, it’s vital for us to reduce our fuel consumption for the economics of our business,” says Martin Fredrikson, site manager for LTH Traktor. “But another consideration for us when we purchase construction equipment is that we are contracted to meet LKAB’s stringent emissions regulations – and therefore our construction machinery must too.”

LTH Traktor operates 177 Volvo CE machines at the Kiruna Mine site to transport and load raw ore and grey rock – including 19 excavators, 15 articulated haulers and 43 wheel loaders. Its fleet includes eight wheel loaders from the newly-launched G-Series (one L60G, two L120Gs, one L180G, three L220Gs and one L250G) that are in operation for between 20-24 hours per day.


The best machines for the job
Volvo CE’s new G-Series wheel loaders are lean, clean machines that offer a more efficient, low emissions engine. The V-ACT Tier 4i/Stage IIIB offers high torque performance to work more efficiently at low engine speeds and is combined with perfectly-matched electronic fuel injection for optimal power and low fuel consumption. “Since purchasing the latest Volvo CE G-Series machines, our operators have commented that they are considerably more fuel efficient – and of course the engine and transmission play a big role in that,” says Fredrikson.

Today many markets demand that construction machinery features a Tier 4i/Stage IIIB classified engine that can remove NOx and particulate matter from the emissions. Volvo CE’s G-Series wheel loaders’ regeneration system works effectively in the background to remove these emissions, without having to stop the machine – or even losing any power. By combining the new regeneration system with better fuel consumption and enhanced machine performance, operators can carry out regeneration while machine is still in operation.


Fredrikson says: “The regeneration function works well and we’ve noticed a big decrease in particle emissions. This has been extremely positive for our underground work environment. Volvo’s engines are a lot further ahead in terms of technology – this manufacturer has really listened to the customers and worked hard to meet their needs.”  

Care keeps machines on Track
LTH Traktor works with its local construction equipment dealer – Swecon Anläggningsmaskiner – to find the best machinery for the application and to adapt that machinery to work underground. “The support Volvo CE and its Swedish dealer provides us with is invaluable,” Fredrikson explains. “Swecon specialists attend the site to demonstrate to our operators how to reduce both fuel consumption and machine wear.”   

Swecon’s technicians have the tools and training to service and maintain Volvo CE machinery at peak performance. Using the industry-leading diagnostic technology and only Volvo Genuine Parts, these specialists know how to help customers maximize machine uptime, productivity and residual value through routine wear inspections, comprehensive maintenance and repair agreements.   

Every G-Series wheel loader* comes fitted with CareTrack, Volvo CE’s telematics system, as standard. It provides information for better planning and smarter working – including fuel consumption reports, location reports, fault alerts and service reminders. 

“CareTrack is very helpful for us to measure the machine’s performance,” Fredrikson concludes. “It’s helpful to see which machines suit which jobs best, and our operators can also monitor their own performance. Our main aim is to deliver on the promises we make to LKAB – and to do this we need excellent support for our machines to ensure they’re in operation as much as possible. Volvo CE offers us this support when we need it.”  


(*in regions where CareTrack is available)     

Text: Holly Brace 

Watch the video here:   

Caption 1: Volvo CE’s revolutionary new V-ACT Tier 4i/Stage IIIB engine keeps things moving at the world’s largest underground mine
Caption 2: 15 Volvo articulated haulers and 43 Volvo wheel loaders load and transport raw ore and grey rock around the clock at the Kiruna Mine
Caption 3: Volvo CE’s G-Series wheel loaders’ regeneration system works effectively in the background to remove emissions – without having to stop the machine, or even lose any power

Please visit our Image Gallery to download the picture in high-resolution format:

December 2012

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Or contact:

Clare Gittins               
Director, External Communications     
Volvo Construction Equipment   
Tel: int + 32 4918 60331    

Brian O’Sullivan
Tel: int +44 77 333 50307