Mining pace determines ground movement

Mining operations cause movement in bedrock and affect the surroundings both below and above ground. As mining proceeds deeper and deeper, the ground and the surrounding communities are affected.

LKAB has a many measuring units located around the communities.

As the iron ore is mined from the rock and brought to the surface, the ground gradually sinks. Mining generates vibrations, ground deformations and movements that are monitored and controlled so that any impacts can be dealt with in plenty of time.

Ore is an economic concept. It is the size and quality of the ore that determines if it is worth mining, i.e. whether or not it is worthwhile building tunnels and moving machinery ever deeper into the mountain. However, the shape and location of the ore bodies determine where any ground movement will occur and how communities will be affected.

En bild som visar gropen som uppstår mitt i Malmberget på grund av gruvbrytningen.

In Malmberget, there are around twenty ore bodies that run in a south-westerly direction under the town. 

Mining takes place in around a dozen of these. In Kiruna, there is one huge ore body that runs under the city. Gradually, mining is moving deeper into the mines and the ground above is being affected.

6 Eiffel Towers

Amount of steel per day




Measuring units

How iron ore is mined

LKAB's mining method, sub-level caving, leads to the formation of cavities in the rock when the iron ore is mined. These cavities are then filled with waste rock that collapses down. This causes automatic clogging, and the more ore that is mined, the more the mountain above sinks. The ground surface is affected and eventually ground deformations occur.