Authors: Sormunen, M; Saiang, D

Open access courtesy of:


Cite As:
Sormunen, M & Saiang, D 2022, 'Future underground mining at LKAB Svappavaara: potential to combine caving and stoping methods', in Y Potvin (ed.), Caving 2022: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Block and Sublevel Caving, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 417-432,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

Two of LKAB’s Svappavaara area open pit operations, Gruvberget and Leveäniemi, nestled between Kiruna and Malmberget SLC mines, have been initially considered for transition to underground mining using SLC or block caving methods. However, any underground mining operations at the Svappavaara site will be strongly influenced by external factors. For example, there are presently extremely tight constraints on ground deformation and land use, which are two factors that strongly discourage SLC and block caving methods. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate other alternative underground mining methods that can limit environmental disturbances while maintaining high productivity. Such alternatives may include combination of caving and stoping methods to create a form of hybrid method, with backfilling applied in this scenario. Such methods will decrease mining footprints associated with the cave mining methods. Hybrid mining methods and operations already exist but it is not well understood how they work and how they could be applied to suit more complex deposits. This paper considers the specific settings for the Svappavaara site and discusses how the concept of hybrid mining method can be applied in taking the Svappavaara orebodies underground.

Keywords: hybrid mining method, low impact environment mining, complex orebodies

Baloyi, VD & Meyer, LD 2020, ‘The development of a mining method selection model through a detailed assessment of multi-criteria decision methods’, Results in Engineering, vol. 8,
Bieniawski, ZT 1989, Engineering Rock Mass Classification, Wiley-Interscience, New York.
Boshkov, SH & Wright, FD 1973, ‘Basic and parametric criteria in the selection, design and development of underground mining systems’, in Cummins AB, Given IA (eds), SME Mining Engineering Handbook, vol. 12, New York, pp. 2–13.
Bitarafan, MR & Ataei, M 2004, ‘Mining method selection by multiple criteria decision-making tools’, The Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, vol. 108, no. 7, pp. 493–498.
Brady, BHG & Brown, ET 2004, Rock mechanics for underground mining, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.
Gupta, S & Kumar, U 2012, ‘An analytical hierarchy process (AHP)-guided decision model for underground mining method selection’, International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 324–336,
Karadogan, A, Kahriman, A & Ozer, U 2008, ‘Application of fuzzy set theory in the selection of underground mining Method.’, The Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, vol. 108, no. 2, pp. 73–79.
Laubscher, DH 1981, ‘Selection of mass underground mining methods’, in Stewart, D. (ed) Design and operation of caving and sublevel stoping mines, Society for Mining Metallurgy, New York, pp. 23–38.
LKAB 2016, Anrikningsstudie av hematitmalm från Gruvberget (Concentrating studies of the Gruvberget Hematite), LKAB internal report, Kiruna.
LKAB 2020, A competent persons report on the mineral resources and mineral reserves of LKAB, Sweden – Svappavaara mine, LKAB internal report, Kiruna.
LKAB 2021, Annual and Sustainability Report 2021, viewed 2022-06-21,
Lucas, JR & Haycocks, C 1973, ‘Underground mining systems and equipment’, SME Mining Engineering Handbook, vol. 1, AIME London, pp. 12–17.
Miller, TL, Pakalnis, R & Poulin R 1995, ‘UBC mining method selection’, in J Hadjigeorgiou, AK Mehmotra, R Poulin, R & RK Singhal (eds), Mine Planning and Equipment Selection 1995, Vancouver, pp. 163–168.
Morrison, RGK 1976, A philosophy of ground control, Ontario Department of Mines, Toronto.
Namin, FS, Shahriar, K, Ataee, M & Dehghani, H 2008, ‘A new model for mining method selection of mineral deposit based on fuzzy decision making’, The Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, vol. 108, no. 7, pp. 385–395.
Nensén, P, Nordanfjäll-Roslin, V, Sormunen, M, Lindgren, D, Larsson, A, Rahfeld, A … Stenberg, S 2021, Scoping Study Future Mining Svappavaara, LKAB internal report, Kiruna.
Nicholas, DE 1981, ‘Method selection – a numerical approach. Design and operation of caving and sublevel stoping mines’, in D Stewart (ed), SME-AIME, New York, pp. 39–53.
Nicholas, DE 1992, ‘Selection procedure’, in HL Hartman (ed) SME Mining Engineering Handbook, 2nd edn, Littleton, Colorado, pp. 2090–2106.
Peele, R 1941, Mining Engineers’ Handbook, 3rd edn, John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Saiang, D, Musa, I & Nordlund, E 2020, Pre-Feasibility Study of Alternative Mining Methods for Kiruna and Malmberget Orebodies, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå.
Thomas, LJ 1978, An Introduction to Mining: Exploration, Feasibility, Extraction, Rock Mechanics, Methuen of Australia, Sydney.
Villaescusa, E 2014, Geotechnical Design for Open Stoping, CRC Press, Boca Raton.

© Copyright 2024, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
View copyright/legal information
Please direct any queries or error reports to