tommy.jensen@sbs.su.se johan.sandstrom@ltu.se

Tag Archives: productivity


New music video!


When we first arrived in Kiruna, early 2015, the downturn of the market was making its impact, inside and outside the gates. The mood in general seemed rather low. This song, “Stänger alla kranar” (in Swedish, roughly translated into “Closing all taps”), came out of how different people talked about the on-going and planned cost reductions in the company, but ended in a bricolage of more than just this. So, […]

Storytellers #29 and #30 – using local contractors


The general trend in the mining industry is to increase the use of contractors in order to be more flexible, adaptable and cost-effective. Whether this is achieved can be debated, but the trend is clear and although the markets for iron ore (the Kiruna case) and uranium (the McArthur River/Key Lake case) are different, they are both nevertheless highly influenced by ‘boom and bust’, ‘feast and famine’. Walking the fine […]

Storyteller #26 – balancing between own people and contractors


Next storyteller is a contractor who (just as many of the other contractors we’ve talked) used to work for LKAB. The quotes below are from the part of our conversation where this person reflects on how a shifting balance between using the mining company’s own employees and contractors impact LKAB’s performance. – I think the easiest way for LKAB is to cut away more parts (of the operations), to sell out parts and place […]

Storyteller #23 – if I was the CEO…


Next storyteller is a man from Kiruna who have worked a long time above ground for the company, LKAB. During our conversation, the new CEO, Jan Moström, is brought up. It’s turbulent because Moström, here he comes and, listen now, this is brilliant, because Moström is known as “The Butcher”, but no one has felt any butchering. I use to say in the sauna after [work], I use to say that […]

Working hard or hardly working?


On March 18, local newspapers report that two workers at LKAB:s iron ore mine in Malmberget (125 km from Kiruna) have been caught furnishing a secret sleeping room at work. On March 26, they are fired. Two other workers chose to resign. On March 20, we arrive in Kiruna, and the first person we meet is the man delivering the rental car. He is born and raised in Kiruna, and […]

Load up north


Load up north is an annual fair. What makes it a bit unique, the organizer states, is that the fair also targets recruitment, not only the exhibition of machines and tools. We’re in Boden, Johan’s hometown, so he stops by the fair on August 27 and 28. He meets with a supplier we know very well by now, listens to keynotes arranged by Boden municipality, such as the ones by […]

What is said underground stays…


Is there something special with the comradeship in labour processes in which members perform dangerous tasks, such as in underground mines? We believe so. Ever since Henri Fayol’s famous book on mining and management (at that time called administration) from the early 20th century, the esprit de corps seems to be strong in mining companies. In those times the risks were, of course, higher (many examples from Karl Marx “Capital” are drawn from […]

The Equation?


Iron ore price down = profitmargins down = productivity up = efficiency up = excavation up = specialization up = ‘cutting programs’ up = number of staff down = learning down = esprit de corps down. As a consequence of our talks to different people in and around Kiruna, this equation has been spinning in our minds. Then all of a sudden (at least for us) the CEO of LKAB, Lars-Eric Aaro, was fired! […]