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Relocation of Kiruna town due to iron ore mine, Sweden

The world largest underground iron ore mine operated for more than 100 years but is now caving in, destabilizing the ground that the town is built upon. Residents are being relocated in an industrial area with unfair compensation measures


The world’s largest underground iron ore mine is located in Kiruna, Sweden. The Swedish iron ore mining company LKAB (abbreviation of Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB) was established in 1890, which makes it one of Sweden’s oldest industrial companies. The mine has been in operation for over a hundred years and has been incredibly important for the Swedish economy [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Relocation of Kiruna town due to iron ore mine, Sweden
State or province:Norrbotten County
Location of conflict:Kiruna
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Land acquisition conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Urban development conflicts
Specific commodities:Steel
Iron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Four thousand households, two major highways, the national railroad, and the majority of the city’s infrastructure have to be demolished and rebuilt.

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Project area:903
Level of Investment:469,672,255.23 USD allocated for the relocation of Kiruna
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:17.037 (2015)
Start of the conflict:18/10/2004
Company names or state enterprises:Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB) from Sweden - Primary actor
Relevant government actors:The Kiruna Kommun and the Swedish Government
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageLATENT (no visible resistance)
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Global warming
Other Environmental impactsFissures, subsidence, cracking and collapsing of ground due to mining
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsEmotional trauma
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:There has not been a resistence to this move articulating environmental injustice. There are some individual opponents to the move, however most of Kiruna's population are complacent to this fact.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[4] News article: Samis sour over time lost to Kiruna move
[click to view]

[1] LKAB's official website
[click to view]

[2] News article: Kiruna being moved 3km east so it doesn't fall into a mine
[click to view]

[3] News article: Forced displacement in Sweden - when a mine company demolishes and rebuilds an entire city
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Alice Owen, Mariko Takedomi Karlsson, Daria Rivin
Last update13/09/2017
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