Mining company LKAB won’t pay for earthquake damage to homes in Arctic Sweden

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Some of the Malmberget area in Arctic Sweden is fenced off because of the risk of collapse. (Nils Eklund/Sveriges Radio)
Some of the Malmberget area in Arctic Sweden is fenced off because of the risk of collapse. (Nils Eklund/Sveriges Radio)
People living in the arctic towns of Kiruna and Malmberget say their homes have been damaged by earthquakes caused by nearby mining, but the company has not paid compensation to any claimants in the last five years.

After an earthquake last year, Johnny Häll reported damage to his home. “A crack in the wall and bricks that had loosened over the windows,” he tells Swedish Radio.

The inhabitants of both Kiruna and Malmberget are slowly being moved to new sites, because of the generations-long mining process that threatens the towns.

Company says damage not related to mining

But of the 72 families who have reported mining-related damage to their homes, not one has received direct compensation from the mining company, LKAB, which is owned by the Swedish state.

The company spokesperson, Anders Lindberg, says their experts do not think the damage can be linked to the mining work.

But in 10 cases the reports of damage have led to LKAB buying up the properties early. Eventually as many as 10,000 town residents could be moved to new homes.At the Swedish Home Owners’ Association Ulf Stenberg says people should photograph their properties over time, to be able to prove how these looked previously.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Canadian province of Quebec announces plan for northern development, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  Finns begin to abandon lawsuits against Talvivaara mining company, Yle News

Greenland: Greenland pioneers Arctic tourism & mining, Cryopolitics Blog

Norway: Production uncertain beyond Q2 at iron-ore mine in Arctic Norway, Barents Observer

Russia: Mining accident death toll rises to 36, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Relocation of Arctic town underway in Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States:  Could good mining jobs actually hurt Bush villages?, Alaska Dispatch News

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