The shafts are located in the rock between a bottom tunnel and mountain silo 66 metres below ground level. LKAB wanted to find a way to operate the conveyor belt under the shafts while the project was underway, while ensuring that the work should not be a hindrance to the 8,000-tonne ore trains that operate and unload at the railway terminal.
"We wanted to find solutions in the project that could eliminate the risk factors we had made a survey of initially, while at the same time complying with the need to not affect ordinary operations at the plant. At a project group meeting, we discussed how the aquaculture and subsea industry solves challenges under water using remotely operated ROVs and we started looking for a contractor who might be interested in adapting this type of technology for use at LKAB's plant," says Framnes.
AF Decom and its subcontractor Evirex understood the problem. After a workshop in Narvik, the concept of a remotely-controlled robot that could carry out work in the risky areas was launched.
"We saw from the very beginning that this has many benefits. This is a good safety measure that can actually save human lives where there is a high risk of landslides. In addition, it can carry out repairs while the plant is in operation, thus saving both time and money," explains Bøckman.