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Mining Regions and Cities Case of Västerbotten and Norrbotten, Sweden

image of Mining Regions and Cities Case of Västerbotten and Norrbotten, Sweden

Sweden’s northern region, Upper Norrland, is one of the most important mining regions in Europe and has the potential to become a global leader in environmentally sustainable mining. With the largest land surface and the lowest population density in Sweden, Upper Norrland contains two sub regions, Västerbotten and Norrbotten. Both sub regions host the greatest mineral reserves in the country, containing 9 of the country’s 12 active mines and providing 90% of the iron ore in the European Union. Upper Norrland has the potential to become a global leader in environmentally sustainable mining due to its competitive advantages, including a stable green energy supply, high-quality broadband connection, a pool of large mining companies working closely with universities to reduce the emissions footprint across the mining value chain, and a highly skilled labour force. Yet, the region must overcome a number of bottlenecks to support a sustainable future, including a shrinking workforce, low interaction of local firms with the mining innovation process and an increasing opposition to mining due to socio environmental concerns and land use conflicts. This study identifies how Västerbotten and Norrbotten can build on their competitive advantages and address current and future challenges to support a resilient future through sustainable mining.

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Foreword

The mining sector is relevant for the economic development and well-being of countries and regions. Raw materials are essential for the production of goods and services and the development of new technologies. They can also play an important role in the global transition towards a zero-carbon economy. The subnational dimension is critical to delivering better policies for economies specialised in mining activities. Unlike other industries, mining is geographically concentrated in those areas where the deposits lie, creating particular interactions with local communities and the environment. Mining specialisation generates a number of opportunities, including greater investments, technological innovation and higher-wage jobs. Yet, it also brings challenges, including vulnerability to external shocks, and environmental and social impacts. These positive and negative impacts are amplified at regional and local scales.

English

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