National Geographic : 1963 Apr
KODACHROMESBY WINFIELDPARKS (ABOVE cooler at midnight than at noon. The radio reported Kiruna that day the warmest town in all Sweden. From Kiruna and from Gillivare, 60 miles southeast, about 400,000 carloads of iron ore-16,400,000 tons-roll away each year to the steel mills of the world. Kiruna by itself furnishes about three-fourths of the iron ore mined in Sweden. (And Sweden has more than nine-tenths of Europe's high-grade ore 50 percent iron or better.) Arctic Dwellers Bask on Beach I found Kiruna bustling with building activity, trying to keep pace with its rising population of more than 26,000. Across the town lake, swimmers and sun-bathers crowd ed a sand beach; it might have been a scene from the French Riviera, but for the Lapps who strolled the steep streets in brightly em broidered tunics and tasseled caps. This was Kiruna in summer. But for sever al weeks each winter, the city's 3,800 miners emerge to a sunless world of moonlit snow. 482 Kiruna Center nestles between two moun tains of iron ore, Kiirunavaara and Luos savaara (page 488). With a young engineer, Ake Janson, I wandered through the heart of Kiirunavaara, a mountain drilled as full of holes as an anthill. The sound of dripping water was spasmodically drowned out by the roar of drills. We pressed against the walls to let squat ore cars trundle past, carrying the heavy blue-gray rock to the crushers. Kiruna and Gallivare iron travels a long way to market. More than three-fourths of it goes by rail to the year-round port of Narvik, on the coast of Norway, for shipment mostly to German, Belgian, and British steel mills. West Germany buys nearly half of Sweden's iron ore exports. Through occupied Narvik, during World War II, the Swedes grudgingly supplied the Germans with Kiruna ore. Electric locomotives pull the trains on all Sweden's main-line railroads. From Narvik a continuous electrified rail line reaches south 1,355 miles to Trelleborg, far away at the southern tip of Sweden (see supplement map).