The changed knowledge of the deposit in LKAB's underground mine in Kiruna, with decreasing mineralisation to the south, will not affect ongoing urban transformation. Mining down to main level 1365 in Kiruna proceeds according to plan, meaning that the urban transformation will also continue to about 2035.
"We know that ground deformations caused by mining at today's main level will affect the community for several years to come. Based on what we now know, the urban transformation will not be affected as a result of new knowledge concerning the extent of the mineralization," says Stefan Hämäläinen, LKAB's manager for urban transformation.
Today, LKAB's mining is having an impact on about a third of Kiruna's urban centre. Much of the town centre, Bolagsområdet, the railway area and parts of the Östermalm and Norrmalm districts are being affected. The church, the indoor pool complex and Folkets Hus are some of the buildings within the area that is impacted by mining at the present depth. There is no exact boundary line to indicate where the surface-level impact of mining stops, since planning and scheduling are based on forecasts.
"We know that at least 3,000 dwellings are affected, 6,000 residents must move and 450,000 square metres of residential and commercial space must be replaced; therefore, there is no change in our commitment to the local community and those who are affected will be compensated in accordance with set time plans," says Stefan Hämäläinen.
The time plans for LKAB's purchase and for relocation have not changed. Compensation to property owners and businesses remains unchanged. Previously it has been reported that LKAB sees no end to the mineralisation and that future main levels deeper in the mine may eventually affect an even greater area of the community. New knowledge of the reduced extent of the deposit to the south changes that outlook.
"The mineralisation is still open at depth and to the north towards Luossavaara, so we will now do more testing to gain a clearer picture as to future mining. Therefore, we cannot yet say how, or if, the community will be further affected after mining at the current main level is discontinued," says Stefan Hämäläinen.
To date, LKAB has paid about 6.8 billion kronor and reserved an additional 11 billion kronor for urban transformation. In light of LKAB's new insight with respect to the future of Kiruna, it must be noted that the mine and the community have operated and developed side-by-side in a close relationship for more than 125 years. By 2035 the present-day city centre will have been decommissioned and the new one, three kilometres further east, will have been developed.