Gallivare and Kiruna, Sweden Week 60 20th-25th June 2012

Just in case anyone is wondering what we are eating.

Beef and a few veggies and a bit of gravy.

From the slow cooker.

And for pudding half a copycat Mars bar (thankyou Lidl) each.

I'll bet you think we take it in turns to have the biggest half!

After passing the avalanche we stopped by a lake for a couple of days R & R.
Just enough room and just far enough from the road.

And enough trees for a washing line.

But we were also close enough to the road to surprise these reindeer using it as a hoof path.

To the north of the road is Sjarnja National Park - Europe's biggest quagmire.

Not sure who was more surprised.
After a couple of nights we continued east so we could turn north.

We stopped at Nabreluokta, the site of the first Saami church in Sweden.

Built in the 16th century it was burned down shortly afterwards.

Rumour has it that the Shamanist Saami weren't impressed with the idea of being converted.

North to Galivare.

A mining town that didn't look at all like a mining town.

Railway station on the Inlandsbahnen.
We picked a weekend to visit.

Everything closed.

But at least we could park easily.
The mine, with spoil heap and ventilation tower on the hill.

We think copper.

There seem to be two town centres.

We found the supermarket after a few bridges and loops.

The best stocked we've seen for a while so we purchased a load of supplies to carry us through Norway.

As we passed through Svappavarra we took a small detour.

Thought we'd visit Gruvberget, a copper mine started in 1654. Rock broken by fire and water, before explosives.

Unfortunately there was more recent mining in the way.

While turning round in an old gravel pit we watched a reindeer for a while. I don't think he was overly impressed.

Pulled into an old layby on part of the old road to Kiruna.

We'd pulled off the main road and noticed a path. Followed it to discover the clearing then a bit of walking to find the road in.

The church in Kiruna.

Largest town in this part of the world. Population around 20,000.

The iron ore body is through the middle of two hills. Kirunavarra and this one is Luossavarra.

Originally open cut mining then underground.

The office above the mine.

Apparently the architect thought a building that looked like the UN headquarters in New York would be appropriate.

Luossavarra Kirunavarra Co Ltd.

The underground mine portal.

We are in a large 40_ seater bus, about to enter the right hand tunnel.

Just as well we aren't in Tardis.

Just enough clearance.

534m underground.

The magnetite ore body is at a 60 degree angle.

Tunnels from the foot wall into the orebody are used to drill and blast. The orebody collapses. Its dug out, crushed, by train to an ore lift, thence to the surface.

About 30 million tonnes per year.

What else would Ali do on her birthday.

A visit down under!

The ore is dried and pelletised for shipment through Narvik (Norway port is ice clear all year round) or Lulea (Baltic port).

This drill was used for horizontal tunnels.

While its a very large underground mine its small by Aussie iron ore mine standards.

It survives because of the ore quality. Magnetite rather than haematite.

We had coffee as part of the tour.
Had a look around the mine museum.
The rubbish bin is shaped like one of the ore lifts.

Though a tad smaller.

No lights in the tunnel from the portal, just reflectors.

Much easier to see.

A model of the mine surface and town.

Once the ore body has been dug out the head wall collapses.

The red line on the model is where subsidence is currently observed.

As the mine goes deeper the whole town will be effected by subsidence.

There's a project to move the town.

Another visit to the supermarket.

And a trip to clas ohlson, last seen in Manchester, to see if there's anything we need!

Tornadalen, Sweden Week 60 26th June 2012

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