Episode 2

The Hole

Episode Producers

Andreas Fernandez & Ali Valizadeh

Malmberget, known as “The Ore Mountain“,  is a locality and mining town situated in Norrbotten, with 5,590 inhabitants in 2010.

Malmberget is known as a major site for the extraction of iron ore from deep mines. The iron ore mining started in 1741 at the Illuvaara mountain, later known as Gellivare malmberg and eventually just Malmberget. The first train which transported iron ore was loaded in 1888 – this was the beginning of the great iron ore rush which would change the entire area of Northern Lapland. In Malmberget there was plentiful employment, but no dwellings – a striking resemblance to the conditions during some of the gold rushes in North America. During the first years, workers lived in shacks built from wasted dynamite crates.

Right down the centre of Malmberget, the deep mine has reached daylight and thus created a huge hole called Kaptensgropen -“The Captain’s Pit”. In March 2012, Kaptensgropen was joined with a new pit resulting from the ‘Fabian’-deposit caving in as planned, and has grown southwards as the deep mining continues, and thus divided the town while making the old town centre uninhabitable and forcing people out their homes.

Today Kaptensgropen is being filled up with stone which is dug up as a by-product from the underground mines. Kaptensgropen will eventually be filled in, but the uninhabitable area is continually growing as underground mining undermines the area and seismic events caused by the mining regularly shake the remaining parts of Malmberget.

The future of Malmberget is currently uncertain, but prospecting by LKAB indicates that even more of Malmberget may have to move in the future. The moving of several large residential houses owned by the mining company, as well as private villas, has been a major issue locally for the past few years.

View of the massive crate

My name is Rickard Johansson. I was born in Malmberget. I’m thankful and proud for the time and upbringing I got to have there. I’ve now been living in Piteå studying music for a couple of years, currently at Luleå tekniska universitet.  

I’m one of two songwriters in the band RIKE and we released our debut album in the end of May. ”The Hole” is a song on the album I wrote about Malmberget. I wrote what was on my mind one night and the song pretty much wrote itself.

THE HOLE

My family tree was planted there It has gone so long since then But we still see each other when There is the ringing of the bell

I remember days of old,
when I was young and I was home Seems so distant and now I dream of a place that I can’t go

To be back is unreal
The old Happy town lack of feel
No more kids just running around And no smiling teens can’t be found

Ooh, it all has been taken by the hole Ooh and no one seems to care anymore Ooh, we have to go, back into that hole

Just thinking bout makes me sad After all this Time it’s still that bad You don’t know, what you’ve had Until it’s taken away and you go mad.

Ooh, it all has been taken by the hole Ooh and no one seems to care anymore Ooh, we have to go, back into that hole.

My childhood in Malmberget is something I think alot about. I have so many great memories from that Time. We lived in a lovely neighbourhood that is now behind the fence and torn down. This neighbourhood was the best thing I knew. We always had family and friends around. Seems like we always did fun things.  My friends and my familys dearest friends lived on the same street, some of them just a block away. We threw these great neighbourhood partys where everybody joined and had a great time.

In my older days I’ve been up there a couple of times. I remember one time i slept over at friends house in Malmberget and in the morning I went behind the fence where it is a risk of collapse to try to map out where our street once was. I think I was just trying to cling on to something that’s clearly not there anymore, get some closure..

I have so much to say about Malmberget, this is the short version.

Rickard Johansson

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