Mining companies have been jostling for position over the last six months in a bid to strike a deal with Harriet Svensson and Siv Wiik after the two friends struck gold while out picking blueberries.
“The whole thing is just like a fairy tale. We’re going to crack open a big magnum of champagne after all the papers are signed,” Svensson, 64, told The Local.
Canadian mining firm Hansa Resources said it planned to begin drilling immediately for what Swedish government surveyors believed was the largest reserves of gold and zinc ever discovered in Sweden by private individuals.
“We would like to congratulate the prospecting team consisting of Siv Wiik and Harriet Svensson for their exciting find, which has generated interest all over Europe,” said CEO Jeff Gale in a statement.
Under the terms of the joint venture, Svensson and Wiik will receive 4.2 million kronor from Hansa Resources, while also retaining 20 percent ownership of the Storkullen project. To earn its 80 percent interest, Hansa will be required to fund work programmes of 12 million kronor over a four year period.
“Siv and I are going to travel to Whitecliff in Australia and search for opal. We’re going to stay in the caves there. It has always been a dream of ours,” said Svensson.
The two women first became friends almost forty years ago. In 1969, Harriet Svensson moved from a nearby village to Siv’s home town of Överturingen, 480 kilometres (300 miles) north of Stockholm. Siv, 69, retired some years ago from her job as a church warden, while Harriet continues to work as a matron at the local school.
As veterans of the mineral hunt circuit, the two women quickly returned to their car to collect their geological tools when they spied minerals while they were out looking for blueberries. Knowing they had hit on something big, the two women returned home on the evening of their autumn find and quickly took out a mining concession on 800 hectares of surrounding land.
“My great hope now is that this will provide job opportunities for people in the region for years to come. It is generally reckoned that each individual miner will generate five new jobs. I hope the miners drill deep, really deep, and keep finding minerals all the way down to the earth’s mantle,” said Svensson.