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

Category Archives: Supplier

Empathizing with the subjects of study


We’re reading the book “Mining capitalism: the relationship between corporations and their critics” by Stuart Kirsch (2014, University of California Press). It’s an impressive study, based on more than two decades of ethnographic research related to particularly one indigenous community and its struggle with the OK Tedi mine on Papua New Guinea. We’ll have reasons to come back to this book further on, but one thing strikes us early on. […]

Aboriginals and the labour process (part 3)


One issue related to the labour process at MCA and to life in northern Saskatchewan that has received a lot of attention is health and well-being. In a CVMPP report from December 2014, the effects of the uranium industry’s health and wellness programs on direct employees of AREVA and Cameco are studied (predominantly based on surveys; gaining generalizability but losing context). Reading the report with my visit to MCA as […]

Aboriginals and the labour process (part 1)


The presence (past and present) of indigenous people in northern Saskatchewan significantly influences the labour process of MCA. It’s quite a contrast to Kiruna where the Sami people have a more peripheral, even marginalized position. People established in northern Saskatchewan are sometimes referred to as Residents of Saskatchewan’s North (RSN). There are about 37000 RSN and more than “85% of the population in northern Saskatchewan identify themselves as Aboriginal [Cree, Métis, […]

Arriving at the McArthur River uranium mine


Hosted by Cameco Corporation, Johan spent four days in November at the McArthur River mine site. Below, a short text about his first impressions. At noon I arrive at Westwind Aviation hangar 3A in Saskatoon. It’s a good day. The air is high, not too cold. The bag is checked and together with three other workers, I board the plane. After a short stop in Prince Albert (“there is no […]

Well-known but unspoken


LKAB dominates Kiruna. Does it sound too simple? Is LKAB with its Kirunavaara mine dictating the terms of conditions in Kiruna? The complex relation between LKAB and the community of Kiruna, with its different civil society associations, small and medium-sized firms, politicians, citizens, nature and the mine with its massive infrastructure, can be understood through storytelling and metaphors. So far the stories and metaphors we have come across suggest an […]

Load up north


Load up north is an annual fair. What makes it a bit unique, the organizer states, is that the fair also targets recruitment, not only the exhibition of machines and tools. We’re in Boden, Johan’s hometown, so he stops by the fair on August 27 and 28. He meets with a supplier we know very well by now, listens to keynotes arranged by Boden municipality, such as the ones by […]

The red line


LKAB’s core process seems to be taking place below ground (and there are about 500 kilometres roads underground in the Kirunamine) and above ground at the closely related plants. This is what the company refers to as the ”red-line”, basically coinciding with what is happening ”inside the gates”. The control of the red line is crucial as all disruptions to the red line are very costly. But if the labour […]

Mining a community


At the time of our first visit, we are told that about 40-45% of all work-hours carried out in the Kiruna mine is done by contractors. Some of them live temporaily in Kiruna (with different duration), something that is rather visible. Some buy and/or rent houses in town, but they are not maintained and temporary houses (we heard the expression “containerliving”) can be observed in the town’s industrial areas. In a […]