The town of Kiruna is situated in the most remote area of Sweden, 145 kilometres above the Arctic Circle. Kiruna looks no special from the first glance – vast areas framed by massive mountains of Kirunavaro and Luosavara, modest residential buildings, and a large industrial district. However, it is no secret for the locals that shafts of the iron ore mines in the outskirts of the town – the largest in the world – extend deep underground and stretch below the streets where people walk and drive every day.
The underlying problem – it is becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile an ever-increasing appetite of the mine with the needs of the residents. The mine is threatening to swallow the city, for which it is actually a source of living. Large underground cavities formed by iron ore mining increase the risk of soil sinks in the very centre of the city with a population of about 18 thousand.
About 90 percent of the European iron ore is currently extracted in Kiruna, and the supply of it in the global markets is only growing. The mine shafts continue to extend forwards the town centre, therefore, sooner or later, the time will come when the building walls start cracking because of the sinking soil. Clear cracks are already visible on the ground and they progress towards the direction of the town centre.
The town has faced the uncomfortable choice between poverty and total destruction. This meant that either the mine has to be completely closed, leading to mass unemployment, or the town has to withdraw to avoid imminent destruction. Such choices reminded the existential curse. However, Kiruna residents did not give up, and finally, the city authorities launched an ambitious project that offers to move the town centre 3 kilometres away and start all over again.
According to the plans, the centre of Kiruna should move eastward along the new main street, as far as possible from the mine located in the west. The town already has picked a place for the main square, with a new modern future town hall. Another 20 key buildings, including a wooden church built in 1912, reminiscent of traditional indigenous Sami homes by its shape, will be disassembled and then reassembled in a new location.
Fasadus UAB participates in the Kiruna city relocation project. The company’s team is restoring the main building of the town, its heart and the main symbol of this residence – Kiruna City Hall – on the new patch of land.