What was the mining boom

Mining boom in Sweden

Sweden has been in a real mining boom for several years. Thanks to its numerous mineral resources, the northern European country has now risen to become the leading mining nation within the EU, says Kaj Lax from the state surveying office in Uppsala.

"Last year 16 million tons of iron ore were mined across Sweden, which is a new record. Never before has so much been produced."

Although Sweden's mining history with the copper mines goes back to the Middle Ages, the move towards becoming a mining nation was only made in the recent past. This only took place when the transition to privatization was initiated with the end of state funding.

"At the beginning of the 1990s we had new legislation, and after that the prices for metals and minerals rose worldwide. Since then we have had a mining boom. Foreign companies that are studying the geology of Sweden in order to subsequently mine these deposits continue to come in Flocks. Mainly iron ore is mined here, although there are plenty of other metals, but iron ore is at the top. "

Foreign companies no longer have to invite them; Sweden's reputation as a country with many natural resources now precedes them. But not only the development of geological deposits has its share in the steadily increasing iron ore production. With the help of new methods, it is no longer a problem to mine profitably even from depths of more than 2000 meters. The iron and steel crisis of the 1970s, which resulted in the closure of numerous mines, has long been forgotten. Of the more than 50 mines that were once there, only eleven are still in operation today, but they are extracting natural resources more efficiently than ever before. The country is thus recording steadily increasing yields. But not only iron ores are increasingly being mined on a large scale in Sweden. Special chemical elements, the so-called rare earths, are also increasingly coming into focus.

"The rare earths are also called high-tech metals because they are mainly needed in green technology and the mobile phone sector. And in Sweden there are some mines where we find these rare earths in abundance. The nice thing is that they are are always present together, i.e. if one of these elements is found, the others are also present, i.e. above all yttrium, europium, neodymium, ytterbium, erbium et cetera, et cetera. "

These elements are not only required for the construction of mobile radio devices, but also in small quantities, for example for wind turbines, energy-saving lamps and special batteries. But the Swedish mining boom also has its negative sides - at least for the roughly 20,000 inhabitants of Kiruna.

"It's the northernmost town in Sweden, Kiruna, and actually it's a typical mining history. When these huge iron ore deposits were discovered a long time ago, the mine attracted many workers and their families who settled nearby Village a city. But then you saw that the deposits were even larger than expected and a decision had to be made: move or stop mining. And the decision was to move the city. "

The move of the city has now started. Only a few kilometers away, Kiruna is to be rebuilt and will continue to provide a home for the miners and their families. The name Kiruna will remain despite the move, according to Kaj Lax. A new name like "New Kiruna" or something similar is not planned, the city will simply be relocated a little.