Workshop in Bergslagen for the Swedish Mining Innovation PhD student network

2 –5 May 2022

Balancing cultural heritage, resource extraction and environmental values in historic mining areas

This workshop focuses on the complexity of the historic Bergslagen mining district in southern Sweden, where collision points between mineral exploration, mining, tourism, industrial heritage, environmental protection and mine reclamation in small geographic areas commonly exist. We will visit both historic mining area such as the famous Sala silvermine and modern mines such as the modern Garpenberg and Lovisa base metal mines. We will learn about the importance of the mines for generating work via current mining or tourism, and also about environmental challenges caused by historic mine waste. We will visit the birthplace of rare earth elements at Bastnäs, and learn about ongoing work to assess the critical element resource potential of historic mine waste, and discuss key challenges and opportunities for resource extraction in southern Sweden.

Preliminary program

Monday May 2 – Arrival in evening to Sala, accommodation at Gillet

Only for those who need long distance travel to get to Sala. Those who live within driving or train distance (e.g. Örebro, Uppsala, Stockholm) can join at Sala on the morning of May 3.

Tuesday May 3 – Tourism, heritage, exploration and remediation in The Sala area

We will get a tour of the unique historic mining environments at Sala silvermine, where the County Administrative Board of Västmanland is currently coordinating a 150 MSEK remediation program commissioned by the Environmental protection agency of Sweden. Meanwhile, the area is still the focus of active mining for dolomite, and ongoing exploration drilling for zinc, lead and silver. The area around the historic mine is urbanized and enjoys several forms of cultural heritage and environmental protection, which creates specific challenges for both mining and remediation. We will meet key representatives from the exploration and tourism sectors and Sala commune to get their different perspectives on the Sala area, and discuss whether mining, cultural heritage, tourism and environmental protection can co-exist.

Venue: Direktörsbostaden, Sala Silvergruva AB

Topics (titles are tentative)   

  • The historic mine as a modern tourist attraction Jennie Hesslöw, Sala Silvergruva AB
  • Preserve and secure, remediating remains from 500 years of mining in SalaMichael Nilsson, Sala municipality
  • Restarting the mines – Modern exploration near historic mines at Sala and Falun Erik Lundstam, Alicanto Minerals
  • Natural resources, jobs and sustainability in Bergslagen: Reflections on the possible return of mining to a mining region, Patrik Oskarsson, SLU
  • KEYNOTE: Experiences from Cobalt, Ontario Charles Dumaresq, Mining Association Canada
  • Discussion point: Can mining, cultural heritage and remediation co-exist in the same area?

Activities: We will have tours around the historic mine, looking at both the historic workings and modern activities related to remediation and exploration.

Hotel: In Sala

Dinner: In Sala

Wednesday May 4 – Deep, modern mining at Garpenberg

This day focuses on the Garpenberg success story, with a tour to Boliden’s Garpenberg mine. Discovery of rich sulphide lenses at great depths quickly shifted Garpenberg from a peripheral deposit in Sweden, to one of the largest Zn mines in Europe. We will take part in the discovery history of the new lenses, visit Sweden’s most modern mine, and learn about the importance of the mine to the commerce and to Hedemora commune.

Venue: Garpenberg mine, Boliden Mineral AB

Topics (titles are tentative)

  • The modern mine at Garpenberg TBA, Boliden Mineral AB
  • Importance of Garpenberg to Hedemora Jon Danielsson, Hedemora commune

Activities: Visits to the facilities at the Garpenberg mine

Evening: Departure towards Fagersta

Dinner: Fagersta

Thursday May 5 – Re-mining and small-scale mining in depopulated areas

This day we visit the western parts of Bergslagen, where unlike Sala, many communities have undergone serious depopulation and decay following closure of mines, e.g. Stråssa. Still, there is potential to revive these communities, both via discovery of new ore lenses, or via re-mining of old mine waste. This includes the numerous historic mines of the Bastnäs area, the type-locality of rare earth elements which are of interest for the green energy transition. However, many challenges related to both poor knowledge of the metal content of secondary resources, and an unclear legal framework for mining old mine waste remain. We will learn about several key projects and resources for critical elements in southern Sweden, and discuss the conditions and effects of mining them. We will also visit Lovisagruvan zinc-lead mine; Sweden’s smallest mine, and end the day with a visit to brewery

Venue: Industrilandskap Bergslagen, Stripa

Topics (titles are tentative)

  • Secondary resources in mine waste Alexander Lewerentz, Geological Survey of Sweden and Mattias Bäckström, Örebro University
  • The Norra Kärr REE deposit Axel Sjöqvist, Axray consulting
  • Legal and social conditions of critical element extraction in southern Sweden Åsa Hill, Federation of Swedish Farmers.


  • Short field visit to the birthplace of REE
  • Visit to Lovisagruvan – Sweden’s smallest mine
  • Visit to the Stripa brewery

End of event : Bus travels back to Sala via Örebro and Västerås

More information

The workshop is for the members of the Swedish Mining Innovation PhD student network. Travel and accommodation costs are provided for all members.

More information about Swedish Mining Innovation PhD Student network

Organizing committee


Top picture: Sala Silvergruva. Photo: Kenneth Hammarström






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