Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Moving Mountains

Apparently it is actually possible to move mountains - or, well, enough of them to have a noticeable effect, anyway.

The Swedish town of Kiruna is located on Kiirunavaara mountain. More to the point, it's above an iron ore min that is the economic driver of the town, supplying most of the local jobs. You might expect a sad story about how the mine will soon clase and the little Arctic town will die, precipiotating the demise of a way of life...

But no! Fear not. There are still 800 million tonnes of crude ore in the ground. While there's no danger of running out of ore to mine just yet, it seems that enough has been taken away that the foundations of the town above it are becoming unstable.

So they've decided to move a big chunk of the town away from the mining area. They picked the new site just this month.

Sounds like a costly endeavour - and it is - on the order of ~4.3 billion US dollars, not including rerouting the railway and roads. To move about half the building in the town by about 4 km. But I guess the income from the mine must be worth it, since it sounds like there aren't too many Kirunians making much of a fuss... or should I say, undermining the mayor's plans...

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