The mining industry in Sweden produces roughly 2% of the world's iron ore. While this may not seem like a much, it is a rather large percentage considering that the surface area of the country counts for less then 1000th of the earth's entire surface area. In Europe, Sweden is the largest iron ore distributor.
Swedish mining companies mine mainly for metal ores, such as iron ore and non-ferrous ore. While iron is most commonly mined in Sweden, copper was more actively sought after in the earlier stages of development in the Swedish mining industry.
The mining industry in Sweden plays a major role in the country's economy. Alone, it employs 0.5% of Swedish industrial laborers.
The Kiruna-Malmberget district of Sweden contains the most valuable iron-ore concentration. This district also holds Sweden's largest copper mine, Aitil. Sulphide ore deposits are found in the Skelleftea district and in the central regions of Sweden.
Swedish mining companies became recognized for their high quality iron ore in both the 18th and 19th centuries. Because the ores were free from phosphorus and sulfur, Sweden gained their dominant spot in the world's mining industry. Ores that contained phosphorus and sulfur were found in Sweden, but there was no use for them until steel processes were developed that could use such deposits. The demand for both iron ore deposits helped Sweden gain worldwide recognition for their mining industry.
Mining companies in Sweden concentrate on efficiency and economy. The majority of Swedish mining companies look to adapt new methods and technologies to help the industry expand to the height of its potential. This is done with a strong concentration towards:
Currently, there is a strong push to reduce the hazardous conditions for Swedish miners and to find ways of doing so through the use of highly developed machines. While there will always be enough work in the mining industry for Swedish laborers, the risks involved with the job can be diminished through technological advancements.
Mining conditions in Sweden are mostly underground as ore bodies will incline steeply and work down in depth. Sweden is home to the world's largest underground iron ore mine.
Most Swedish mining companies are apart of the Swedish Mining Association, which aids in maintaining a fair representation of both the owners of the companies, owners of the mines and the industrial work force.
As mining is a major factor in the success of the Swedish economy, the country is continually looking for means to improve their methods in order to meet exportation demand and to maintain their reputation as the country with the most valuable iron ore deposits.