Inside the European city nicknamed ‘the Abyss’ because it’s sinking into the ground | World | News

The Swedish city of Kiruna, established around 125 years ago, is facing an unprecedented challenge as it gradually sinks into the ground due to mining activities.

In response to the imminent danger of collapse, local authorities have devised an ambitious plan to relocate the entire city “building by building, wall by wall”.

The mining city, featured prominently in the new Netflix hit “The Abyss”, released on February 16, highlights the struggles faced by its inhabitants amid the collapse and the resulting impact on the world’s largest iron ore mine, Kiirunavaara.

“The Abyss” revolves around Frigga (Tuva Novotny), head of security at Kiirunavaara, who grapples with the dilemma between her family and her responsibility towards the mine as it faces unprecedented challenges.

The film, which premiered in Swedish cinemas on November 15, delves into important issues such as mining, environmental consequences, and the social impact of industrial activities on a community.

Sweden, the largest iron ore producer in Europe, relies heavily on Kiruna, which hosts the world’s most advanced underground mine.

However, extensive drilling for resources has led to structural issues in the city, with cracks emerging in the residential area, causing subsidence and posing a threat to the city centre.

Mining company LKAB’s recent revelation of a potential large reserve of rare earths near Kiruna adds a new dimension to the city’s challenges.

The identified deposit is estimated to contain around 585 million tonnes of ore, with significant quantities of praseodymium and neodymium oxides, crucial components for manufacturing electronic devices, electric vehicles and other high-tech products.

Sweden’s Minister for Energy, Trade, and Industry, Ebba Busch, acknowledges the potential of rare earth mining to enhance electrification and reduce dependence on external suppliers, particularly China and Russia.

However, the mining is not anticipated to begin for another 10 to 15 years.

In light of the newfound potential beneath Kiruna, authorities have initiated a massive relocation project, aiming to move the entire population and buildings approximately three kilometres away from the current site.

The meticulous process, dubbed “building-by-building, wall-by-wall,” includes structures like the local Lutheran church, listed as a historical monument since its construction in 1912.

The 23,000 residents of Kiruna have welcomed the decision, demanding the new city to incorporate more pedestrian areas and green spaces.

The future city, covering 450,000 square metres, is expected to be fully operational by 2035, designed with a focus on sustainability and offering solutions for sustainable mobility.

Source link