Kaptensspelet

Kaptenslaven


Useful Information

Location: Seletbacken 3, 983 32 Malmberget.
(67.178052, 20.673944)
Open: no restrictions.
[2022]
Fee: free.
[2022]
Classification: MineIron Mine SubterraneaMining Museum
Light: n/a
Dimension:  
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Kaptensspelet, Seletbacken 3, 983 32 Malmberget.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1913 Kaptensspelet built.
1980s renovated by the County Council.
2013 reopened to visitors.

Geology

Malmberget's ores are hosted in Precambrian volcanic rocks. The entire deposit complex has been largely metamorphosed to gneiss and strongly folded. The apatite-bearing iron ore consists of a number of ore sheets that may have originally been connected. The main ore zone is 6.5 km long.

The principal iron ore mineral is magnetite, some areas contain significant amounts of haematite. Apatite contents vary considerably, the average phosphorus content is lower than 0.8%.

Description

Kaptensspelet or Kaptenslaven, both names are actually not translatable, is a headframe. It was erected on top of the Kaptensgropen ("The Captain's Pit") iron mine, hence the name. It was in operation for fifty years and was used to hoist men and machines down into the mine and back up. After almost 20 years of decay the County Council finally decided to renovate it into a public lookout tower over the town. It seems there was some kind of fight between Gällivare Municipality and LKAB, the mine operator. As we understand the municipality renovated the headframe, although it was actually owned by LKAB, while LKAB erected a fence without permit. LKAB fenced the tower off, so despite being renovated, people were not able to use the tower. The situation stalled and the tower remained closed.

The tower was finally opened to visitors at its 100th anniversary in 2013. It was again renovated and binoculars were installed. We are not sure if it is actually open to the public or not. It was at some point open without restrictions, at some point it was open for two guided tours daily. We do not know the current state, but we guess it's best to ask at the tourist office first. If you know more, please email us.

The headframe has huge wheels for the cables of the mine elevator. The cables from the elevators were running over the wheel to a nearby engine house. It is definitely a unique industrial heritage, unfortunately it is not very well advertised. And it is rather unclear if Kaptensgropen is an open cast or underground mine, probably both. A headframe makes no sense for an open cast mine. It seems the huge pit to the south formed about one or two decades ago as a result of the collapses in the underground mine. The pit has already been filled in with slag from the still operating mines. As the mining continues the town is relocated. It is a pure mining town which was built solely for housing the miners. As a result constantly new houses are built and old ones are demolished, depending on the growth of the mine.

The County Administrative Board of Norrbotten demands a safety distance and wants everyone who lives within a radius of 500 meters from the mine to be moved away. LKAB, on the other hand, wanted to save money and thus allows people to stay. Finally, in 2012 there was an agreement to relocate the whole town until 2032. But in 2020/2021 the main step in the relocation of Malmberget was made, and most buildings are already demolished. We have no idea if the headframe will stay where it is, be relocated, or be demolished. As far as we know it is not protected as a historic monument.