Monster Moves – Malmberget
The Swedish Mining Town of Malmberget in the Arctic Circle is being moved – house by house – to firmer ground to escape falling into the ground which is unstable due to extensive mining. Malmberget is known as a major site for the extraction of iron ore from deep mines by the company LKAB. The iron ore mining started in 1741 at the Illuvaara mountain, later known as Gellivare malmberg and eventually just Malmberget. The first train transporting iron ore was loaded in 1888 – this was the beginning of the great iron ore rush which would change the entire area of Northern Lapland.
Right down the centre of Malmberget, the deep mine has reached daylight and thus created a huge hole called Kaptensgropen (“The Captain’s Pit”). In March 2012, Gropen was joined with a new pit resulting from the ‘Fabian’-deposit caving in as planned, and has grown southwards as the deep mining continues, and thus divided the town while making the old town centre uninhabitable and forcing many institutions (e.g. the two existing cinemas and the church) to move to the western part of Malmberget or, even more commonly, to the neighbouring town of Gällivare.
The future of Malmberget is currently uncertain, but prospecting by LKAB indicates that even more of Malmberget may have to move in the future. The moving of several large residential houses owned by the mining company, as well as private villas, has been a major issue locally for the past few years