A recent discovery has resulted in the relocation of the entire Swedish city of Kiruna, with one building at a time being moved.
Situated in Sweden’s Lapland region, Kiruna is a charming town with a population of slightly over 17,000. It’s famous for its gigantic iron ore mine, which includes an underground visitor center. Kiruna’s iron ore mine, managed by the state-owned company LAB, accounts for a staggering 80 percent of the European Union’s supply.
Kiruna has recently come across valuable minerals, including the largest known deposit of rare earth elements in Europe. These particular elements are essential for the production of electric car batteries and wind turbines, making them incredibly valuable resources for eco-friendly technologies.
Ebba Busch, Sweden’s deputy prime minister, proudly refers to Kiruna as a “goldmine” and encourages Europe to take note. She wants Sweden to help reduce the world’s dependence on Russian minerals, which have experienced a significant price surge recently.
Kiruna’s success in iron ore mining makes it well positioned to profit from the rare earth mineral deposit. And relocating the town will make it easier for this deposit to be exploited.
However, Kiruna must find ways to avoid the environmental degradation of past mining.
The daily extraction of ore from the mine, equivalent to the weight of six Eiffel Towers, has caused land deformation along Kiruna’s western border. This issue affects not only the residents but also the town itself. Reports from the local area even mention cracks found in a hospital and a local school that fails to meet building standards.
As a result, it’s not just the rare earth mineral deposit that’s causing Kiruna to relocate. It’s also the damage caused by iron ore mining.
The relocation project seeks to move Kiruna approximately 1.9 miles to the east of its original location. Government officials expect that this relocation project will be completed by 2026.
The relocation project will preserve historic landmarks such as the local church, which was built in 1912.
However, the relocation will impact the cost of living for the nearly 6,000 people who will be moving their homes. According to News18, tenants should expect a rent increase of up to 25 percent.
Image Source: Fiori, https://shorturl.at/bEV19