Malmberget February 2023
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The town of Málmmavárre/Malmivaara/Malmberget (meaning ore mountain) has three names because of the Indigenous Sámi people and the Finnish minorities. In 1888 the area was connected to the trainline, which enabled large-scale exploitation of ore and at the same time made Indigenous practices such as reindeer herding difficult. Today, the town is slowly disappearing, with the former city centre having collapsed as a result of landslides following underground mining; it has been replaced with a (more than) 250m-deep ‘pit’ that splits Malmberget into two halves. Today (2023), most inhabitants have left the town, and their former homes have been fenced off and are being demolished. Despite this, or precisely because of it, birds and sometimes even elks populate the areas behind the fences. Now, with most of the buildings dismantled, the nearby copper mine is clearly visible from Malmberget.
Erzberg (also meaning ore mountain) is likewise exploited for iron ore. It lies high in the Austrian Alps, and the town of Eisenerz (meaning iron ore), at the foot of the mountain, is shrinking. With a long mining tradition, it has many buildings that are under preservation orders, dating back to the 16th century. The mountain of Erzberg has been reshaped through blasting and is now sculpted like a pyramid between the stony neighbouring mountains with woods and pastures. Since the exploitation of iron ore requires an ever-diminishing workforce, the town is losing more and more of its inhabitants. Statistically, it is primarily young women that are leaving the area. As in Malmberget, the town has the highest average age in the country, and local practices of urgent heritage are highly developed among citizens.
Malmberget November 2022
Malmberget October 2022
Wienwoche September 2022 @ Geological Survey Vienna
Malmberget July 2022
Erzberg September 2021