Mining in Sweden
Mining is a traditional industry in Sweden. Its history extends back over a thousand years. Its metal ore and other mineral resources, and knowledge about how to use them, have been major factors in building the prosperity the country enjoys today. The historic Falun Copper Mine was for hundreds of years the most important industrial site in the country producing, at times, up to two-thirds of Europe's copper requirements.
The following centuries saw deposits of base metals, gold, silver and iron ore discovered and exploited. Notable early discoveries include the giant iron ore mines of Kiirunavaara and Luossavaara discovered during the 1730's and operated today by Luossavaara - Kiirunavaara AB. In 1924 prospecting in the Skellefte district led to the discovery of the Boliden deposit and the foundation of Boliden Limited now listed in Toronto. Historical restrictions on foreign participation in Sweden's mining industry have led to its domination by a small number of large domestic mining companies. Until recently the State took a major role in the mining industry through State run exploration and the right to acquire a major stake in any new mining venture. In 1991 however, following a change in Government and an application to join the European Union, Sweden adopted new policies to encourage foreign investment including cuts in the level of taxation, better business conditions and the privatization of state industrial interests. These new policies extended to the mining industry with the lifting of foreign investment restrictions and the abolition of State participation in mining projects. A new mining law was introduced to give effect to these new policies.
The attraction of post 1991 Sweden has been recognized by a number of major exploration companies that have developed a significant exploration presence in recent years.
SWEDEN AT A GLANCE
10.23 million (2019)
Iron ore, zinc, lead, copper, gold, silver, uranium
Despite its relatively small size, Sweden's share of world iron ore output is about 2%, and is the only iron ore exporter in Europe.