Sweden's Minister for Enterprise, Annie Lööf, presided over an opening ceremony for the new Kiruna mine main level which also featured a remote-controlled locomotive, tightrope dancers and other surprises.
"I am proud and happy. This is a major investment that will guaranty jobs. It means a lot for Sweden, but even more for the residents of Kiruna," said Annie Lööf.
Some 240 invited guests attended the opening ceremony, which took place in the rail car workshop on the 1365-meter level. Also participating in the ceremony were LKAB's President and CEO, Lars-Eric Aaro, and Marcus Wallenberg, LKAB's Chairman.
A tear in the eye
The ceremony began with a film depicting the company’s success story. With the touch of a button, Annie Lööf had the honor of initiating an explosion of light and sound effects. The blast marked the official opening. A remote-controlled locomotive, which will subsequently run on the new main level, then rolled up.
"I was very close to tears. It was a very moving ceremony," remarked Lars-Eric Aaro.
Tightrope dancers Klara Mossberg and Lisa Angberg from Cirkus Cirkör presented a dramatic display of aerial art. Light refreshments were served while guests marveled at the spectacle. Celebrations continued at surface level in the new control center, where guests enjoyed a buffet lunch followed by a tour of the control center.
One of Sweden's biggest industrial projects has now opened. Mining in Kiruna is thereby secured for another 20 to 25 years.
"Personnel involved in the project have done a fantastic job. At the same time, we must remember that all of this has been accomplished while the mine has been operating at full production capacity. I can promise you that we'll continue for a further 25 years until, hopefully, we start yet another new main level," concluded Lars-Eric Aaro.
TEXT: JOHANNA FOGMAN
PICTURES: FREDRIC ALM, RÚNAR GUDMUNDSSON