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Sweden holds 60% of Europe’s iron ore deposits and prospecting carried out to date shows that iron ore resources have the potential to increase production volumes three-fold, from 25 million tpy in 2010 to 90 million tpy by 2025.
Growing demand for metals and minerals is driven by increased living standards in both industrialised and developing countries, the report says, creating a particularly optimistic vision of the country’s iron ore production.
According to the report, Swedish state miner LKAB is planning to increase production to at least 40 million tonnes by 2025. The country's only iron ore producer until yesterday, it produced 26 million tonnes in 2011.
Planned projects by junior miners such as Dannemora, Northland Resources and Avalon could increase production further.
Northland Resources opened its first Swedish iron ore mine in Kaunisvaara on October 18, and aims to produce 4.2-4.3 million tpy.
Potential reserves across Sweden of 40 million tonnes of iron ore could also be exploited, the report said.
Good geological conditions, a positive climate for investment, political stability, and a relatively straightforward taxation regime are seen as promising signs for increased mining in Sweden.
But growth could be hampered by limitations in regional labour capacity and rail infrastructure, as well as national limitations in engineering competency and delays in issuing environmental permits.
Planned rail investment in the Norrbotten region of northern Sweden, where most of the country’s iron ore is mined, will only cover 60% of the intended capacity increases.
Mining is expected to contribute 3-5% of GNP growth and more than 20% of the investment in industry in Sweden between now and 2025.
The mining industry in the country employs about 10,000 people but, with production increases, another 10,000-15,000 jobs could be directly added to the sector alongside 30,000-35,000 new opportunities for indirect employment.
Other minerals, such as copper and zinc, could also see significant production level increases.
SveMin is an employers’ and industry association for mines and mineral and metal producers in Sweden, with a membership made up of 50 companies and 6,000 employees.
Iron ore production in Sweden could triple over the next 13 years to reach 90 million tpy, according to a report published earlier this week by industry body SveMin on growth prospects for the country’s mining sector.