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

Category Archives: Kiruna

A new living room


Besides the sheer physical presence of the mine, one of the first things that strike a visitor to Kiruna is its city hall, commonly referred to as Kiruna’s “living room”. The building is not only architecturally fascinating but also a salute to democracy – an incarnation of an open and transparent society. This building has now been closed and will be dismantled due to the expanding mine. A new living […]

Modular and movable – smart and sustainable?


We’re reading the magazine for the Euro Mine Expo 2018 in Skellefteå, Sweden, a fair and conference for the mining industry that just recently closed (we didn’t participate). It’s always interesting to study what the industry itself considers to be salient issues and themes. The themes of the conference were innovation and business development, sustainability in action, and future outlook. Most of the magazine consists of ads of rather traditional […]

Where mines are, the state is not?


Time to call out the Swedish state? We’re reminded of the role of the state when reading a three-part article series by Jonas Fröberg in one of the largest Swedish daily newspapers, Svenska Dagbladet (the articles are in Swedish). The articles focus on conflicts around mines in the north (Kallak in Jokkmokk municipality is mentioned) between different stakeholders, particularly the Sami people and the mining companies, but predominantly zoom in […]

Mining and Death


Death is always present, explicitly so for people in war zones, civic unrest, starvation etc. How about death and work? For undertakers and professionals in palliative care, for example, death is highly present, but for most of us at work, the presence of death is more shady. It might be in the back of our minds, in a story over-heard in the coffee room, in an e-mail from the boss […]

Storyteller #37 – view of the mine growing up


This storyteller, born and raised in Kiruna, working as “Summerbird”, reflects on the image of the mine when growing up (the image heading the post is by artist Magnus Fredriksson). It has been a very romanticized picture of the mine. The pride of working there. It was quite … It was awesome when you were a child, I remember going outside the gate, waiting for Dad to finish [work], and […]

Storyteller #36 – ears, eyes, chest


Next storyteller works underground and in a conversation (from 2015) with us asks about our ‘bodily’ experiences from being underground. I can imagine for you guys, when you got back up, did you felt swollen? Did you feel something like that? Like heavy, as if your head is full of cotton and… We were down for three hours and we were in the works for four hours yesterday. It’s our […]

A major revision


More academic publishing: first nothing, then two ‘Decision from the editor’ in a matter of days. This time concerning our paper on the Kiruna case. This time we knew we weren’t desk rejected, but sent out for a triple-blind review. The letter says: “The reviewers and assigned Associate Editor have recommended major revisions before publication could be considered.” In other words: the foot is in the door! Two reviews are […]

Not all about mining…


Did you know, it’s not all about mining? It’s also about mushrooms, gardening and art. * Since the 1980s, in an abandoned part of the mine on level 540, the mushroom shiitake is cultivated. The temperature is very even, no insects, basically a sterlie environment, which make the conditions perfect for the mushrooms. * There used to be a garden inside the gates where “they grew tomatoes, grapes, melons and […]

Storyteller #35 – the union and the Summerbirds


Every Summer, LKAB hires several hundreds of so-called “Summerbirds”; people – often young persons who have a break from their studies – that come in to work for a couple of months when ordinary staff are on vacation. As the trend of temporary workers is on the rise in general (although LKAB today work towards decreasing the use of ‘foreign services’), it is interesting to also turn the attention to […]

Storyteller #34 – Kiruna/Sweden/Others?


Another recurrent theme is where the profits from the mining ends up. A common position that we meet is that too little of the surplus is re-invested in the local community and that the owner in the capital Stockholm, the State, grabs too much (and put it to use in the Stockholm area). A manager reflects upon this in a conversation with us: These urban transformations [of Kiruna and Malmberget] […]

Storyteller #33 – work vs community?


Next storyteller is one of the ombudsmen inside the gates, reflecting on the recurrent theme of people doing work in the Kiruna mine but living (and paying taxes) elsewhere: It would be better if they move up, then there might have been more lively here [as in more pulse in the local community]. And there would also be more tax money in this town. This depletes… But if you get […]

New music video!


When we first arrived in Kiruna, early 2015, the downturn of the market was making its impact, inside and outside the gates. The mood in general seemed rather low. This song, “Stänger alla kranar” (in Swedish, roughly translated into “Closing all taps”), came out of how different people talked about the on-going and planned cost reductions in the company, but ended in a bricolage of more than just this. So, […]

Storyteller #32 – next level in the mine?


Just recently, top management has expressed itself in positive terms regarding plans for a new level in the Kiruna mine. The latest one, at 1365 meters below ground, has just recently been completed (although in use for some years already). Expected to last for about 15-20 years, it looks as if the Kirunavaara mine will continue to go deeper, although much is still uncertain. We recalled a discussion with a […]

Storyteller #31 – the role of the union


Next storyteller is one of the local ombudsmen for one of the unions. Our conversation is about how he keeps in contact with the members and what they are interested in. Below, he talks about how members tend to enrol the union in a rather short-sighted way: The members are active when there is a wage movement. Or when jobs are threatened. Then they come. […] Very seldom do they […]