LKAB InfoMine Kiruna

Kiruna Iron Ore Mine

Useful Information

Location: Kiruna. Tour starts at the Tourist Office in Kiruna.
Open: All year daily 9, 15.
Fee: Adults SEK 240, Children (6-15) SEK 50, Children (0-5) not allowed, Students SEK 140.
Classification: MineIron mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: Ar=20,000m².
Address: Kiruna Tourism Office, Tel: +46-980-18880, Fax: +46-980-18286. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1647 iron ore discovered.
1890s start of open pit mining.
1960s underground mining started.
1970 steel markets declined and workers laid off.
1990 market recover, mine reopens.


The ore seam at Kiruna is 4 km long, 80-120 m thick and reaches a depth of 2 km. Kiruna Mine is the largest and most modern underground iron ore mine of the world.

The Kiruna orebody was formed at around 1,600Ma ago following intense volcanic activity. Iron-rich solutions precipitated the iron on to a syenite porphyry footwall. Then the ore bed was covered by further volcanic deposits, quartz porphyry, and sedimetary rocks. Later the whole body was tilted to its current dip of 50 to 60°.

The ore contains a very pure magnetite-apatite mix, black ore contains less apatite than grey ore. Containing more than 60% iron, the ore is of extremely high quality. Magnetite means, the ore contains enough iron to become magnetic. This rare feature of this ore was used hundreds of years ago to make the first compasses.


The visit of the LKAB InfoMine Kiruna is really impressive. The visitors see a still operating mine, which is the biggest iron ore mine in the world. The tour starts with a slide show and a film in a modern multimedia auditorium. Then the visitors mine 540 m below surface is entered by coach.

The so called InfoMine is located above the present production level, which is between 775 m and 1045 m. The different mining technologies used at Kiruna are explained.

Mining started at Kiruna as an open-pit mine, but in the 1960s it went underground. The tour also includes a mining museum, which offers a look back on the mine's history.

Very few people work underground. The seams are drilled by remote operated drills. Huge Finnish-built driverless wheel loaders, follow computer-controlled routes and only stop at piles of broken rock to collect the ore. At this point an operator sitting in front of a TV screen on the surface loads the ore and carries it to shaft where is is dropped to the 1,045 m level where it is crushed and then hoisted to the surface to be processed.

A recent article in the Daily Telegraph (September 25, 2004) states that geological forecast say that fissures spreading from the mine and it is feared that that in 20 years time the whole town will disappear into the mine.

Text by Tony Oldham (2005). With kind permission.