Production stopped – inspection of the Kiruna mine is under way

May 19, 2020

Following a seismic event in the Kiruna mine early on Monday morning, intensive inspection of the mine is now under way. All production has stopped and there is at present no forecast as to when it will resume. Regular follow-up meetings are being held, after which decisions as to further measures are being taken.  

The seismic event occurred at 3.11 a.m. on May 18th. The event had a magnitude of 3.3 on the local magnitude scale and occurred at a level of -1,146 metres (from zeroing point) in the mine’s foot-wall. The mine was evacuated and 13 people who were at work under ground left their work sites and returned to surface level.

On Monday morning rock technicians began inspecting certain areas, which are far from the seismically active area, with focus on determining damage to roads, water lines and electrical infrastructure. Both minor and significant rock falls, as well as some breakage of water lines, were noted. Repair work in the form of shotcreting of some roads began on Monday.

The seismic activity has since abated and has started to approach a more normal level. 

The rock technicians are successively informing mine supervisors as to which areas are safe to enter. The supervisors have thereafter been instructed to inspect their respective work areas and work sites. This means that some hundred people has been under ground  during the day, engaged in inspection among other things. No production is in progress.

“We are now focussing on securing the Kiruna mine and beginning necessary repair work. Once this work has been completed we will take a decision as whether to start production, and when production begins, it will be on a small scale. We live with a seismically active mine and we have internal expertise, sophisticated monitoring systems and well-established procedures for safety measures. Safety always comes first,” says Nils Stenberg, mine manager in Kiruna.