Minerals in Barents, The transportation needs in the Western Barents region

February 2014
GeoVista AB
Hans Lindberg, Hans Isaksson
Olof Martinsson

The report Minerals in Barents, The transportation needs in the Western Barents region was ordered by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) from GeoVista AB and it was published on February 2014.

The key focus in the publication is to report on the development of the minerals industry and in particular study the increased demands on transport systems in the region. The study aims to cover the Western Barents region as a whole.

The report also summed up underlying parameters which control the development of the minerals industry, the relevance of different information emanating from the industry to the planning and development of transport infrastructure, and discussed the effect those external factors, infrastructure in particular, have on regional development. 

The geological potential for mineral deposits in the Western Barents region is very high and the region also offers potential investors low political risk and corporate legislation. Another important parameter is the status of existing infrastructure to transport the products from a developed mine.

This study on metallic and industrial mineral deposit data in the Barents region has primarily been based on the Fennoscandian Ore Deposit Databases and is geographically divided into nine major territories; Troms fylke, Nordland fylke and Finnmark fylke in Norway, Västerbottens län and Norrbottens län in Sweden, Lapland region, Northern Ostrobothnia region and Kainuu region in Finland, and finally Murmanskaya oblast and Republic of Karelia in Russia. In the report we call this area the Western Barents region.

The increased need for transport solutions in the region will require investments, or to be otherwise addressed, in the following areas: 

• Increased capacity on Malmbanan, Kiruna – Narvik as well as Malmberget – Luleå. Possibly also including Kiruna – Malmberget. 

• A new railway between Svappavaara and Kaunisvaara, optimised in relation to other mineral deposits along the way, like the Vittangi, Lannavaara, Masugnsbyn and Pajala deposit clusters. 

• A possible continuation of this route from Kaunisvaara to Kolari, the Hannukainen area and further eastwards to Sodankylä and Sokli. A route that probably also should be optimised following a mineral asset study of the area. Such a study could also be extended to cover a south-north railway route alternative from Kemijärvi to Sodankylä, bending eastwards through the Lapland greenstone belt and optimised according to mineral deposits. 

• A transport solution from the Kallak iron deposit being developed in Jokkmokk, possibly including other deposits along the way, a major overhaul of Inlandsbanan between Jokkmokk and Gällivare. 

• Possibly a transport solution south-west of Kiruna. 

• In the short-medium term Laver, in southern Norrbotten, may produce a large volume of crude ore. However, the product volumes from Laver will be minor. 

• Possibly a specific transport solution in western Västerbotten, will be needed since Nickel Mountain now also considers producing an iron concentrate that will impact the transport system in the area. 

• In Finland, a transport route to the Mustavaara iron deposit was studied by the Finnish Trafikverket but the project was not identified as of sufficient national economic advantage for mineral and forest transports. 

• In Norway, most deposits are located rather close to the sea and thus, transport will be solved from there. The Karasjokk iron ore field in southern Finnmark is one exception. 

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