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Sweden Is Moving Entire Mining Town To New Location

Kitco News

Screenshot from Sweden's YouTube Channel

A Swedish mining company is beginning a daunting task - moving the country's northernmost town of 18,000 people to a new location to save the buildings from collapsing into a giant sinkhole.

Located 200 km (124 miles) above the Arctic Circle, the town of Kiruna is currently sitting on largest underground iron-ore mine in Europe.

The reason for the relocation is that the state-owned mining company LKAB is worried that it dug too deep into the earth, which aggravated the risk of the whole town being consumed by a sinkhole.

LKAB is paying for the relocation, which is going to cost over $1 billion. The mining company is offering to buy properties at 125% of their market value or give the same-sized property in the new town.

The historic mining town was first founded in 1900 and its citizens would like to see a number of historical buildings preserved, which poses the biggest challenge when it comes to the move.

The new location for the town is not far — about 3 km (2 miles) away from where it is now. A few historic buildings, such as the clock tower and the church, have been selected for relocation, while others will be demolished.

Even though the relocation was being planned for about a decade, the actual move is just beginning — Kiruna’s first historic building was transported by a truck only on Wednesday.

LKAB is also building about 3000 dwellings in the new town, including a new city hall, hotel, residential area, business area, shopping district, restaurant, café and community service buildings, according to the city’s website.

The timing of the move? LKAB estimates it will take 20-30 years. “This is the city I was born and raised in. It is really important for me that the surroundings will be as much the same as they are today, even better,” said Nina Eliasson from the Urban Transformation team at LKAB in a promotional video.

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