An entire town has to move before the ground caves in

Sweden’s northernmost town has to be uprooted and moved because the ground is caving in.

The town of Kiruna was built more than 100 years ago on top of the world’s largest underground iron ore mine, reports Vice. But now cracks are starting to show and Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag (LKAB) — the company that owns the mine — is an orchestrating an ambitious move two miles east.

Several 100-year-old homes are being lifted entirely off the ground and then placed onto wheeled platforms, which then transfer them to the new location.

Unfortunately, not every building will survive the transition. Two-thirds of Kiruna will be demolished. For residential buildings where residents have owned their apartments for years, LKAB is paying them market value of the apartments plus an additional 25 percent to soften the blow. But many are worried that when they have to move, they’ll have to revert back to renting.

“LKAB even told us it was non-negotiable. It was incredibly rude,” Inga-Lill Lundström, an apartment resident who’s losing her home, told Vice.

LKAB employs thousands of Kiruna residents, so closing the mine was never an option. The company anticipates it will take until 2035 before the move is complete, although it isn’t ruling out moving the town even further east to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

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