tommy.jensen@sbs.su.se johan.sandstrom@ltu.se

The Swedish National Treasure


Below is a musicvideo by us (in Swedish) about “The book of LKAB : the national treasure of Sweden”, published by LKAB, the mining company running the Kiruna mine. The book celebrates the first 125 years of mining in Malmfälten and it is available in both English and Swedish. It’s a very informative read, revealing how rich and international the history of mining in the north is. We highly recommend […]

Storyteller #19 – youth and work-life career in rural communities


Next storyteller, from the Swedish case, on living in a remote, small community and finding work in the mine: Where are you born? 40 kilometres from Karesuando and 220 kilometres from Kiruna. How did you end up here? I had to start the gymnasium and, well, then you automatically end up here. A lot of commuting, from the village to the town, to the village again. You lived here [in […]

AC/DC, the groin and science


The frontman of AC/DC, Brian Jonson, once replied to a journalist’s question about why AC/DC has remained so popular since the 1970s, that their music enters the listener through the groin first – men and women alike. Listening to, playing and recording music we can sort of relate to this groin sensation. But what has this to do with science? Nothing says the instrumentalists and the purists. Nothing says those who fear […]

Storyteller #18 – from Canada, on having two families


Next storyteller is a woman, an aboriginal, working at the mill at Key Lake. She talks about the strong social bonds created at work and therefore about having two families, one at home and one at work: Actually, if you talk with anyone here who has been long term they’re going to tell you that ‘this is my family’. We live with them, we work with them over the years. […]

Storyteller #17 – from Canada, life on- and off-site


Next storyteller from Canada, a woman, working above ground, 7/7, here on the social life on- and off-site, and on why she couldn’t see herself returning to a normal 9-5 job: Well here is very social, you are always around people, you are always interacting with people. […] At home it’s a little bit more quiet. You usually just see you family, your immediate family and then go back to work […]

Storyteller #16 – from Canada, on the relation between company and community


Our next storyteller is an aboriginal man, working as a manager at the mine and as a representative of his local community in the north. Mining companies, including their contractors, operating in the north have to hire Residents of Saskatchewan North (RSN) as labor (see previous blogposts on this, just search for the category “Canada” or “Aboriginals”). Below is an extract from our conversation about this: So in Canada you have that […]

Storyteller #15 – from Canada, about social life on-site


Time to introduce some storytellers from the McArthur River uranium mine in Saskatchewan, Canada. This person, a man, a white-collar with Cameco, working 7/7 (seven days on-site, seven days off-site), talks about the social life on-site: The social life here compared to the one back home? Here it’s a… there is more visiting, like I communicate a lot more with people up here. At home I sit and recluse, just […]

Storyteller #14 – on unions and strikes


Storyteller #14 is a man working above ground for over twenty years at LKAB in Kiruna. Below is an extract from our conversation where we talk about the worker collective and the role of the union. – That time, around 1969/70 (the time of the big strike, spontaneously started by a worker in Svappavaara, not a strike organised by the union), when they began getting power over the workers, and when […]

Storyteller #13 – smoke and sustainability


Storyteller #13 is a woman, working in a white-collar position. We asked: – When you look at the mine, what kind of images do you get (in your head)? – When you come back from the mountains, we’re very often in the mountains to ski, so when we drive back into town, then you have the view of the (the old) open pit and the backside of the works, which […]

Storyteller #12 – “when the company sneezes…


…the whole town gets a cold.” This is an old saying, repeated to us by storyteller #12, working for a contractor to the Company, LKAB. – You use to say that when LKAB sneezes, the whole town gets a cold, so in these more difficult times we’re also influenced. We’ve had to lower our prices and all contractors have been summoned to LKAB to lower their prices. – Yes, we’ve […]

Third album out now (in Swedish)!


The third album from the project, “Gruvan makten samhället” (in Swedish), is now on Spotify and soon on the sites of all major digital distributors. On the left-side menu you’ll find the album booklet (in Swedish) in which you can read about all songs. Hope you’ll enjoy it and that you’ll consider spreading it!

Undermining gender


Johan has read “Mining coal and undermining gender: rhythms of work and family in the American west” by Jessica Smith Rolston (Rutgers University Press, 2014). Here are some of his reflections: At the outset of our project we knew that gender would play an important role, particularly given the history and context of the Kiruna mine (also for the Saskatchewan-case). There’s almost a mythology around the miner, a man of few […]

Storyteller #11 – having to move


Storyteller #11 is a local person, working for a contractor to LKAB and the Kiruna mine. This story is about having to move because of the expansion of the mine. The conversation takes place at a local restaurant. – Because we live in this area that will be teared down. All these houses are affected. [detailing where exactly this area is]   – How do you think about this? – […]

Storyteller #10 – education and a good salary


Storyteller #10 is a young person working under ground, educated through the LKAB program at the gymnasial level. – How did you get into the mine? – I went to the LKAB gymnasium (a specific program at the local gymnasium in Kiruna) and then you automatically get an internship during Summer, and sometimes I continued (working) during Summers. When I graduated I ended up under ground. [talk about the content […]