Mining in the area has caused the foundation rock beneath the town to subside more – and more quickly – than expected. If buildings around the centre aren’t taken away, researchers say that they could simply sink into the ground.
But with admirable northern pragmatism, the local council has said that it regards this as an opportunity for new development.
Christina Dahnér, Division Manager at the Technology and Geology department at the mining company LKAB, said: “Subsidence at this rate will affect the railway as early as 2008. This will be kept under control by refraining from mining and excessive use of ore.”
The move could mean that Kiruna is “extended” towards the top of Haukivaara mountain, and down towards Lake Luosssajärvi. There has been even been talk of developing a town centre with waterfront facilities, such as quayside restaurants and walkways.