The Land and Environment Court has determined by how much the ground surface may move by establishing environmental conditions for ground movements. This means that for the area to be inhabited, ground movements must not exceed the maximum permitted measured value.
Before this value is reached, the local plans for the area must be changed from commercial and residential areas to industrial areas. No mining is permitted under areas where people live or reside. Therefore, any housing must be moved and the areas converted into industrial areas.
What is a local plan?
A local plan determines how the land and water are to be used and what buildings may look like within a certain area of a municipality. Only the municipality may develop and adopt a local plan, i.e. change how an area is to be used.
Ground movements are measured regularly
You cannot see with the naked eye that the ground is moving. Accordingly, the mine and the surrounding area are monitored by an extensive system of geophones located underground, and metering plinths placed above ground. Readings from the measurements are important for drawing up prognoses regarding mining and to increase safety in the mine. The results also constitute important data for how ongoing urban transformation can be best implemented.
Twice a year, in May and September, measurements are taken in all 600 locations. In addition, partial measurements are recorded four times a year. The data is collected and analysed at LKAB and sent to the County Administrative Board and the municipalities. The measurement results determine when an area must be vacated and demolished.
Urban transformations are planned several years ahead. Before the ground surface is affected, i.e. when the area must be redefined as an industrial area, it is still possible to live in the area for some time. It is only once the area has to be fenced off that it is no longer permitted to live there.