Like a number of Arctic towns, Jokkmokk in northern Sweden is experiencing population decline and both public and private employers face growing challenges in finding the right competences. On top of this, a decision is pending concerning future establishment of an iron ore mine in Kallak situated just outside of Jokkmokk. The local authorities are therefore seeking to determine how best to support future development. Ramboll was commissioned to develop a report giving an overall picture of the current situation and exploring three alternative future scenarios as a basis for municipal planning with or without future mining operations.
Ramboll’s report examines the expected outcomes with or without investments in a proposed iron ore mine and includes statistical modeling and analysis of population trends, business, employment, housing, land use and transport infrastructure.
According to Johannes Henriksson, project manager at Ramboll, the aim was not to reach conclusions about whether a mine is a good or a bad for the municipality, but rather to gain an understanding of how it would influence the municipality's development and how the local authorities can promote a positive development in the region.
“Our analysis reveals that whilst the population would temporarily increase and taxable income would rise by SEK 60 million when the mine opens, it will not reverse long term population decline in Jokkmokk. This shows that the municipality should continue to invest in other areas and take action to make the town more attractive for residents, business, and industry,” explains Johannes Henriksson.
Councillor Robert Bernhardsson concludes, “It is very clear that Jokkmokk cannot solely focus on a mine. It requires a broader and more strategic mindset.” Alternative investment areas identified in Ramboll’s report include the tourism industry where employment growth is stronger than for the rest of the country.