In this section you will find short descriptions of old and closed mines and quarries that have become rather famous of several reasons. Some might be of cultural/historical importance, or contain an array of minerals that attract mineral collectors. Other sites might be of educational value or just places to make excursions to. Most of the mines that are described on this page are no longer in operation. However, most of the mines are so called "utmål;" the mining is discontinued but one or more persons, and/or juridical persons, have the right to reopen them for excavation. The site list of finds is by no mean complete, just an example of some of the mines in our region and what minerals might be found.
The owners of these mines disapprove of any attempt to damage or ruthlessly exploit the mines or waste rock piles. Therefore, always seek permission from the land and/or mine owner before entering the area. Remember, jumpers or rock drills, dynamite, and other heavy equipment are not a part of an amateur collector's outfit.
The county of Norrbotten contains a vast amount of mines, not operational ones, too. For more information: see the literary references at the end, or contact the closest tourist center.
Aitik, the largest open pit mine in Europe, is situated southeast of Gällivare. Here, at the Aitik-mine, is Boliden Limited engaged in the mining of minerals - principally zinc, copper and gold. The mineral content in the ore is relatively low, but large in volume. Currently, amateur geologists are declined to enter the area for commercial and safety reasons. However, interesting finds have occurred and the mine might, in the near future, become accessible for amateur geologists.
Bergsmannivaara, a small mining field with copper deposits, is about 3 km from Svappavaara toward Kiruna on the east side of the road (E10).
The mine is next to the Gällivare - Ullatti road and has been exploited for copper. Chalcocite has been commonly found at this site. Also, among other minerals, native gold has been found.
Gruvberget, 3 km west of Svappavaara via Kiviniemivägen, was already in use in mid 17th century. Today, the numerous copper mines are shut down. Several of the mines are located in a north to south direction, of which the central mine is Storgruvan, and had deposits of bornite, malachite, and azurite.
Kuokula zinc- and copper ore deposits
The ores are located about 5 km north of Kopparåsen's railway station along Malmbanan. These sites contain chalcocite and bornite ore with isolated traces of sphalerite carrying impregnations of pyrrhotite.
The steep slides are said to contain deposits of semiprecious stones.
The mineral deposits are located in the vicinity of Kurravaara village. The old mines, Iso Gruvivaara 1,5 km south, and trenches at Nya Kurravaara, 1,5 km northwest. The mineral deposits in the area consists of svavelkis and impregnation of chalcopyrite in semi-transformed Kiruna-greenstones.
The Laver area is 40 km west of Älvsbyn, on the north side of the Älvsbyn - Arvidsjaur road. Ore deposits were found on the south slope of Renberget. The mineral area, itself, is about 30 km long and up to 10 km wide in a west to northwest and east to southeast direction. The rock bed contains mainly porphyry. Chalcopyrite and pyrrhotite dominates, thus, creating an impregnation between the crack fillings. Usually, the ore is jointed with skarn. Among the skarn-minerals are chlorite and biotit dominating, but, also, magnetite, sericite, granite, epidote, gahnite (zincspinell) tourmaline, quarts, and plagioclase can be found.
The Svappavaara minefields contains minerals like: apophyllite, chabazite, diopside, epidote, gypsum, hematite, calcite, chrysocolla, quarts, microcline, natrolite, stilbite, tinticite, frondelite, apatite, fluellite, kidwellite, etc.
Manak is in the municipality of Jokkmokk, situated about 19 km north of the village of Tjamotis. High contents of uranium appear in form of uraninite in the pegmatite rock. The mineralization forms a zone of roughly 2 km. Only a minor part of the mineral deposit is exposed. However, uranium rich blocks can be found in the surrounding moraine.
The Nautanen-area contains about a dozen copper ore deposits and is located northeast to east of Koskullskulle. Included in the 9,3 km wide Nautanen-area are: Liikavaara, Sorvainen, Nietsajoki, Fridhem, Snålkok, Juoikama and Sakakoski. These sites have been either in operation or subjects of investigation. Most commonly found are copper minerals. Iron ore and gold occurs, too. Some other minerals that are found in this area are: tourmaline ( in pegmatite), magnetite, bornite, apatite, multicolored chalcopyrite, pyrite crystals and chalcocite. Native gold has been found in Fridhem's mine. Gold panning occurred in the eastern parts of the area, in the 17th and 18th century.
Nasafjäll's silver mine
Nasafjäll's mine is in the parish of Arjeplog, next to the Norwegian border, on the southeast slope of Nasafjäll (Mt. Nasa) at 1000m altitude. The shortest hike is from the Norwegian side. Extraction of minerals began in 1636. The mines are situated along the metalliferous vein, ranging a total of 1200 meters. The main extraction site alone ranged about 500 meters. A graphite rich schist can be found at the fringes of the quarts deposit. Sometimes the quarts is accompanied by calcite veins. In the quarts you can find: glands or cavities filled with sphalerite, pyrrhotite and galena, and sometimes even stibnite and boulangerite, and, also, smaller amounts of pyrite, arsenopyrite, and chalcopyrite. The richest ore found, was said to contain 50% lead with 1,4 kg silver per ton. Furthermore, abundant amounts of rock crystals and combinations of sphalerite, pyrrhotite, and a dark sulfur minerals have been found.
15 km in east northeast direction of Jukkasjärvi and 1,5 km south of Leppäkoski is Pahtavaara. The area was in use already in the 17th century. The ore, copper pyrite, is a mix of anchorite and quarts.
The Rappukoski deposits are exposed on both sides of the Kalix river, and is a part of the Aitik minefield. The rock mainly consists of quartzitic micaceous gneiss, but also of conglomerate and greenstone and a genetically more recent granite and pegmatites. The copper mineralization is attached to a layer of calcic skarn. In this layer, a system of small cracks developed during folding. These fractures are filled with quarts, calcite, hornblende, chalcopyrite, bornite, and molybdenite.
Sjangeli copper deposits
The ore field was discovered in the roadless country in 1696, 30 km southwest of Abisko in the Jukkasjärvi parish. Ore has been extracted on and off for a long period of time. The richest ore find contained 15% copper and 3grams of silver per ton. Beautiful samples of chalcocite and bornite have been found in these deposits. About half of the ore-body is located on Norwegian soil.
Ultevis is northwest of Jokkmokk and 20km north of Tjåmotis. The deposit is located on a high plateau where in the 1940s manganese was prospected for. However, no larger deposits were found and, thus, no extraction were started. On the other hand, beautiful specimens of bixbyite, opal, petalite, scheelite, viridine, topaz, svabite, piemontite, tourmaline and hollandite, where found.
Northwest of Kiruna lies one of Sweden's most recent copper mines, Viscaria. Mining was discontinued recently.
Extraction of iron ore has taken place on several locations around Vittangi and Masugnsbyn. Also, the area is known for pyrite and graphite deposits. The bed-rock has attracted many mineral collectors to this area.
- *Literary notes
- Malm i Sverige 2
- Erland Grip, och Rudyard Frietsch
- Almqvist & Wiksell Informationsindustri AB, Uppsala, 1973
- ISBN 91-20-03191-2
- Nyttosten i Sverige
- Per H. Lundegårdh
- Almqvist & Wiksell Boktryckeri AB, Uppsala, 1971
- Die Mineralien und Fundstellen von Schweden
- Hans-Jürgen Wilke
- Christian Weise Verlag, München, 1997
- ISBN 3-921656-41-9