"Finally, we're under way. A good agreement is in place and, as early as this summer, we can begin building our new urban centre. Now, we can build a Kiruna that is better organized, more efficient and more sustainable," says Kiruna's municipal executive board chair Kristina Zakrisson (S).
"The agreement between LKAB and the Municipality of Kiruna secures future mine operation and jobs, and it lays the foundation for a successful future for both LKAB and Kiruna," says Stefan Hämäläinen, LKAB's spokesperson for urban transformation.
The current agreement between the Municipality of Kiruna and LKAB sets the terms for funding of infrastructure including streets, roads and water and sewage systems which are currently located within the area designated for development as a 'Mine City Park' and must now be built in the new urban centre. The Municipality will receive funding for schools, rescue services facilities, a library, bus station and public spaces within the so-called GP2 area, as well as several buildings outside the area, such as Folkets Hus and the indoor pool. Municipal housing company Kirunabostäder will also receive payments for commercial premises. The Municipality will also be reimbursed for initial construction work on the new town square.
Total payments amount to 3.74 billion Swedish kronor, whereof 350 million kronor will be reserved for unforeseen expenditures. LKAB makes annual provisions for managing long-term commitments associated with the urban transformation. To date, LKAB has reserved nearly 8 billion kronor for Kiruna and Malmberget.
The agreement marks the next phase of the urban transformation, which is a consequence of the expansion of mining operations. During the autumn, negotiations with property owners concerning housing and commercial premises will continue.
"All local residents will benefit when we can build more energy-efficiently and acquire modern new premises that are designed to meet our needs. This will reduce operating costs, and the money can instead be used to improve the quality of education and care," explains municipal executive board vice-chairman Niklas Sirén (V).
"We're building a new town for those who live here. We will build a close-knit, vital town centre with shops, restaurants and services; a centre of the sort that residents requested when we conducted our vision survey for the future Kiruna," says municipal executive board deputy vice-chair Ragnhild Nilsson (Samelistan).
Sustainable mining in Sweden is a valuable contribution to global wealth creation, but the mines also create jobs and foster societal development and confidence in the future locally. Not least in the orefields communities. We now have Sweden's lowest unemployment rate, highest average income, fastest-growing small businesses and huge demand for new housing.
However, meeting the challenge of urban transformation successfully and responsibly will require the participation of a greater number of people. We need more construction companies, more entrepreneurs and more people who want to join us on this exciting journey. Everyone is welcome to the orefields communities; here, there are jobs and confidence in the future.
Background to the urban transformation
• In 2013 LKAB opened a new main level in the Kiruna mine at 1,365 metres below zeroing level. Expenditures amounting to more than 12 billion kronor constitute the largest industrial investment in Sweden in modern times. The new main level secures mining operations until 2030-2035, depending on the rate of production, but it also means that much of present-day central Kiruna must be relocated.
• In 2004 Kiruna's municipal council adopted a decision in principle for relocation of central Kiruna. The decision attracted great interest both nationally and internationally. Delegations from around the world are visiting Kiruna to learn more about this world-unique project. New towns have been built in many places, but few towns have been relocated.
• Many local residents have participated actively in studies and surveys of which the aim has been to form a vision of a new town which will soon be a reality. An architectural competition for the new urban centre was held in 2013 and a municipal development plan was adopted by Kiruna's municipal council as of 22 April this year.
• Concurrently, LKAB and the Municipality of Kiruna have negotiated the agreement which was presented today. The agreement lays the foundation for the new town, while the Municipality redevelops the present-day urban centre as an industrial site.