Anita Ylivainio loves the atmosphere – and blasting

“Blasting is so cool, you really get to see the results!”

Anita Ylivainio at Svappavaara

Anita Ylivainio swapped a regular retail job in Kiruna trade to become a blaster in Svappavaara. It was not something she saw in her future, but she sent in a job application on the off chance that she might get it. Since starting, she hasn’t regretted a minute of it.

What do you do at work?
“I make pellets. I work as a loader, so after the drillers have done their thing, I come in and load salvoes for blasting. This also includes scanning and connecting the salvoes. Now that I’ve worked here for over a year, I also get the opportunity to be the “blast boss”, which means I have responsibility for the blast.”

What’s the best thing about your job?
“Everything! My colleagues, of course, and that I get to be out in the fresh air almost all the time – now is the absolute best time, when the sun is shining and the moisture drips from the rock walls. It is almost like when I have a week off from Wednesday, I start missing going to work because it is so much fun. It is a wonderful atmosphere, everyone greets you in the morning. We are like a big happy family. it is also so cool with blasting, that you really get to see the result.”

What is most challenging thing about your job?
“There are clearly some challenges with outdoor jobs. It is not always fun when it is 20 degrees below freezing and the wind is blowing. It is also a bit uncomfortable when we find old dolor in the ground that have to be blown up. But otherwise, the challenge for me is to continue to develop on the job and learn as much as possible. The next item on the list is driving licenses for trucks and forklifts. I hope I can get them. There’s always something new to learn, but it is fun.”

How did you end up at LKAB?
“I worked in retail before and enjoyed it too, but I felt I wanted to try something new. My daughter saw that LKAB was looking for loaders at Svappavaara and thought I should apply. My first thought was “Me, loader? Never!”. But I applied and got and interview and to my great surprise I got the job. The first day I set foot in here, I immediately felt that I would be happy here.”

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
“Spend time with the family. I have dogs that take quite a lot of my time. I enjoy working out – in normal times I work out pretty much at the gym – and being outdoors, especially now during the spring. I ski and run. On the weekends I often go to the Tornedalen, to Kangos where I have my roots. In the fall I hunt moose. I spend a lot of time out in nature.”

Facts of life

Name: Anita Ylivainio.
Lives: Kiruna, 42 km southwest of Svappavaara and 6,435 km northeast of Chicago.
Worked at LKAB: Since October 2018.
Title: Blaster.
Best Features: I am always happy, I like to talk and I try to make sure everyone feels good. They usually say I am like a little mom at work.
Biggest fault: Sometimes I do not really trust the fact that I know as much as I actually do.
Last movie / TV series you watched: A lot of Discovery Channel. I like to watch Gold Rush.