Imperiled City to Move 2 Miles East

Kiruna, Sweden, threatened by iron ore mine that sustains it
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2013 9:54 AM CDT
Entire City to Move 2 Miles East
The Swedish town of Kiruna is set to move two miles east to allow deeper iron ore mining beneath the city center.   (?)

The city of Kiruna, Sweden, is having the ground yanked out from under it, literally. Over the next 20 years, the city, which sits some 90 miles north of the Arctic Circle, will move itself two miles east, in a relocation effort the Wall Street Journal calls "virtually unprecedented." Kiruna is home to the largest iron ore mine in the world (what's extracted from it in a day could construct six Eiffel Towers, notes the AFP), and that very identity is what's forcing the move. Nearly a decade ago, the country's state-controlled mining company alerted Kiruna to the fact that recovering more iron ore from the Kiruna mine meant digging deeper—digging that may ultimately cause the city's center to collapse.

In May a deeper main level of the mine was opened, reports the Rail Engineer, and now the clock has really started. The entire city center and some 3,000 apartments and homes will be uprooted; most buildings will be razed, but 19 historic ones will be transported to the new location, notes the Epoch Times. Because the town's economy is so dependent on the mine, residents are largely in favor of relocating, but concerns persist, from whether the timetable can be met to the amount of compensation residents will get for their homes. (In a similar vein, an entire Alaska town is set to vanish by 2017.)

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