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Peterstravels Leave nothing but footprints take nothing but photos and remember that souvenir is being carried for over 10000 miles!!

Lapland, The Stig and a large Hat

SWEDEN | Tuesday, 22 May 2012 | Views [499]

I know I said no more waterfall but the Storfosen is the largest by volume in Scandinavia and it was a mighty sight. I have now travelled north above the 66 degree mark and now I’m officially in the Arctic Circle, in Swedish Lapland. I spent the night in a town called Gullivare, which like Kiruna owes its existence to large deposits of Iron Ore. The mine in Kiruna just a few miles north is the largest deep Iron ore mine in the world, with reserves that are as yet unknown and a purity of 60% this is also a very profitable operation. Unfortunately the English tour had been cancelled due to low numbers and as I did not speak Swedish I was refused permission, on safety ground to join the Swedish language group. As you can imagine having come all this way I was bitterly disappointed, but I’m a “Lee” and there is always a way! I waited till about 10 minutes before the tour was due to go and made “friends” with a very pleasant Swedish couple who were only too pleased to escort me down the mine! His name, yep, “Stig”. We descended to level 540 metres below the original surface about 350metres below today’s level. The mine produces some of the most environmentally friendly ore in the world and as well as having a 60% purity they have also developed a techniques that further concentrated the ore into pellet form for export via train to Narvik some 120kms away in Norway. The large miners hat is a buffet style help yourself to iron pellets. At the bottom of the mine they are mining at 1345metres below the surface, the problem is that the ore vein is at an angle and in the 1960’s they realized that the town above was going to collapse into the mine so since then as the go deeper under the town them move the buildings above to another location away from where they will mine. In the panoramic view of the town nearly all the buildings in the right two thirds of the picture will be moved! Oh! And railway and the lake, which has already been dammed twice to stop flooding. The other interesting thing about Kiruna is, it’s where the first space tourists will take off from either later this year or next, but I don’t think that’s in my budget!

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