Rich in natural resources and a major producer of alternative energy

The County of Norrbotten is the northernmost region in Sweden and borders on the Norwegian counties of Troms and Nordland and the Finnish region of Lapland. Norrbotten covers a territory of 98,911 square kilometers and has long coast to the Botnia Bay. The region is rich in natural resources, among them metals, minerals and forests and is a major producer of hydropower. Regional infrastructure includes a well-developed network of roads, railways and airports. There are a total of five airports in the region, of which the Luleå airport is the biggest. The region is a major exporter of iron ore, all of which is exported by the Malmbanan, the railway connection between the mines in Kiruna and the Norwegian sea port of Narvik.

Norrbotten has a population with significant Sami and Finnish minorities.

The region is governed from the regional capital of Luleå.


Regional stories

Ore production record in northern Sweden
Base metals and precious metals increase most, while iron ore production remains at historically high level.
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

The Swedish mining industry might be in a state of crisis. However, at the same time, 2014 was the most productive year for Swedish ore production ever, BarentsObserver reports.


Ore production reached an all-time high for the fifth consecutive year with a total production of approximately 81 million tons, the newspaer informs.

Production of...

Lower price, bigger pain for iron miners
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

Iron ore producers all over the Barents Region take crisis measures as prices drops to new lows. For the Swedish LKAB company, 2014 profits plummeted by more than 90 percent.

The dramatic drop in iron prices is hitting Sweden's biggest iron miner with full force. In 2014, the company got its year-on-year operating profit cut by 93 percent, the LKAB Year-end Report reads. President and CEO Lars-Eric Aaro is now announcing a string of crisis measures, among them cost cuts of 700 million SEK (€73 million) and a staff reduction of 400 people, BarentsObserver reports.

Prices on iron ore in late 2014 dropped to USD 66/ton, the lowest level in five years. And the...

Iron prices bring down Barents miners
After several golden years, a string of regional mining companies is threatened by closure. One of the smaller mining companies in Scandinavia, the Northern Iron, is increasingly struggling to make ends meet.
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

The Barents Region is highly rich in minerals and metals and iron ore production is conducted in northern Sweden, Norway and Russia. While regional production has increased steadily over several years, the current downturn in raw material prices threatens the companies with a major setback.

“We believe we can make it”, a company representative of Northern Iron in Kirkenes, Norway, said in a company presentation in Kirkenes this week. The Northern Iron has not made net profits since it started up mining in Arctic Norway in 2009, and deficits are steadily growing. However, the company still appears confident that it will make it through the industry downturn, BarentsObserver reports....

Mining sector expects 20 golden years in Lapland
Barents gold is currently mined in several parts of the region, although Finland stands out as the leading European goldminer. With an annual output of five tonnes, Lapland is expected to produce gold for at least another twenty years.
By Elizaveta Vassilieva, Barents Secretariat

As the price on gold has reached record heights, the Barents Region brings its noble riches to the fore, BarentsObserver reports.

Gold is produced in several parts of the Barents Region. In Norrbotten and Västerbotten gold has been mined for years. The Swedish metals company Boliden operates production at the Aitik mine (Norrbotten) and the Boliden Area (Västerbotten). The combined annual production in these two mining areas amounts to about 3.5 tonnes of gold.

The Swedish mines have been producing gold over a relatively long time, although their output is significantly smaller than Finland’s. Lapland is considered as the number one goldminer not only in the Barents Region, but also in Europe...

In windy Arctic, a new emerging power center
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

While neighboring Norwegian and Russian regions put their faith in Arctic oil and gas, the northern Swedish region of Norrbotten is becoming on of Europe’s bigger producers of wind energy.

When in full swing around year 2020, the Markbygden wind park will generate enough energy to cover up to eight percent of the total Swedish demands. The 450 square kilometer area outside Piteå in northern Sweden will be turned into a major regional center for power generation. A total of 1101 wind generators, some of them up to 200 meters high, will produce about 12 TWh. The companies Svevind and Enercom are investing up to 55 bilion SEK (€6,2 billion) in the project.

The Markbygden project is unique in not only in the Arctic, but in all of Europe.

Data collected by BarentsObserver show that wind energy up till...