Mining heritage as a resource for sustainable communities


This project examines the legacies of mining in the context of communities around the Nordic regions of the Arctic in order to inform contemporary discussions on the future of mining communities in the Nordic Arctic. The project is conducted in close cooperation with the Nordic Centre of Excellence REXSAC – Resource Extraction and Sustainable Arctic Communities. At the heart of the project is the material remains of mining, from ecological damage to operational equipment and infrastructures that persist long after the end of activities and the end of mining-generated incomes. Mining sites are often sites of cultural memory, central to the identity of the communities that depended upon them. Yet different communities have taken very different approaches to these legacies, from actively interpreting them as industrial heritage, using them as a basis for new economies, to leaving them as non-economic places of local memory.

In this research project researchers from KTH and Stockholm University cooperate to explore how communities in the Arctic can handle the material and immaterial legacies of mining when building post-industrial futures. We use approaches from industrial and cultural heritage studies, history, archaeology, and physical geography to understand how communities can deal with legacies of mining – societal as well as environmental. Through field research, archive work and interviews with stakeholders, we explore how even the most physically resistant mining legacies are constantly open for reinterpretation by different groups and thus able to support different visions for the future of local communities. With mining in the Arctic as a subject of intense contemporary debate and the future of mining communities in Norrbotten under considerable scrutiny, lessons from around the Arctic can help inform responsible decision-making.

Funding agency: Swedish Research Council

Duration: 2016-2021

Belongs to: Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment
Last changed: Jun 03, 2019