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Urban Transformations

LKAB has been mining the world’s richest and most environmentally friendly iron ore in Kiruna and Malmberget for more than 100 years. Mining began in open pits in Malmberget in 1888 and Kiruna in 1899. LKAB moved operations underground in Malmberget in the 1940s, and during the 1950s in Kiruna.

The ore bodies get purer, richer and bigger the deeper we go. No-one knows where they end. Drill tests have been carried out down to 2,000 metres in Kiruna, and to 1,800 metres in Malmberget.

However, there’s just one serious complication. The ore bodies slope down beneath built-up areas. When open pit mining began it was natural to build housing close to the workplace. No-one knew then that 100 years later we would be mining deep underground.

The communities that sprang up thanks to mining must now be moved if operations are to continue. At Malmberget, several ore bodies lean in beneath the community, but Malmberget’s built-up area has already changed since mining began 100 years ago.

Back in 1900, LKAB built what was then considered a model community at a safe distance away from the mine. In Kiruna the major part of the ore resembles a gigantic slice of bread, and it was shown to lean in beneath the city centre.

LKAB calculates that around 3,000 appartments only in Kiruna will be affacted over the next 20 years as a result of mining operations. Fortunately not all of them need to be removes at once and the transformation can take place in stages. The creation of the new communities is a challenge that faces everyone; residents, municipalities, landowners, authorities, LKAB and so forth. But together we will succeed in making the transformation to pleasant, new communities.