Holiday in Scandanavia
Gällivare (S) to Jokkmokk (S)
Monday 9th July 2007
After this mornings standard ritual of eating breakfast, showering and packing up the gear, we had some time to spare before we had to go to catch the bus. We had to be there at 09:20. So after a bit of talking and discussing various things we say it was 09:15 already! So quickly got into the cars, dropped the key of at reception and drove to the pickup point. Fortunatly we were on time and could get into the touringcar that would bring us to the mine in Malmberget.
Once we arrived there we entered one of the central buildings for a video and some other information.
We are going on a special bus that will take us for a tour of the mine. Ofcourse you can't enter the mine in your normal clothes. At LKAB (the state company that exploits the mines) they have a strict safety policy. So everybody had to change into welly's, a helmet and a special coat.
Then it was time to get on the bus. It was pretty clear that this bus enters the mines quite frequently.
The seating arrangement in the bus was also a bit different, more geared towards personel transportation.
In the mines there is a maximum speed of 50km/h. Ofcourse there are places were the limit is lower. The first part of the trip took us 800 meters down into the mine. So that is way below the sea level that we crosse at 600 meters. With this bit of driving we only saw quite a small bit of the road network of more then 300km that is down there.
We stopped at a garage to take a look at the special shovels they use in the mines.
Our guide explained some more about the vehicle.
Nice detail is that the drivers cabin is mounted to the side of the vehicle and the driver is also sitting sideways. This is done because of the frequent forward - backward motions that have to be done. This is the most ergonomic seating arrangement.
Much of the information in the mines can be found on the walls. They have signs and text. If you know how it works it is enough information to find your way in the mines.
Next stop was for a bit of explaining about the way they drill the small holes in the rock. These holes are filled with explosives which are ignited every night (at night nobody is in the mines).
After this short explanation we went to a control room. Here they controle the machines that do al the drilling (from a maximum distance of 7km). They can also controle the machines manually with a joystick to, for example fix a problem. All of this to minimize the time personel has to spent in potentially dangerous situations.
Another safety point that could clearly be seen was the concrete on the mine walls. The spray a layer of about 5cm thick everywhere in the mines to keep rocks from falling down. If the concrent on its own isn't enough, the use steel rods to strengthen the walls. If that doesn't help they try reenforcing the concrete. And if that doesn't work they close of that section of the mine.
The whole mine has an extensive airventialtion system. It is so good that you can smell any of the exhaust fumes from the trucks that thunder by. It is just like being at ground level.
We then took the bus down another piece until we were more than 1000 meters under ground. There we waited for one of the big skips to come by that cary the chunks of rock that contain the ore. These trucks can cary more than 100 tons, so they are quite big :). Unfortunatly due to the lack of light it was not possible to get any photos. How dark it was you can see on the movie below.
Around 13:00 we were back above ground. We could change into our normal gear, got some folder material and a bag of iron ore. Then it was back on the bus and back to the cars. There we first had some lunch and got on our way to Jokkmokk. Unfortunatly the weather wasn't that great, so the roofs had to stay on.
On the way we found a cabin where they sell smoked fish. We took two of them for diner!
At the campsite we quickly checked on the internet for the weather forecast. They say it will remain dry and as the prices for the cabins on this site are a bit high we decided to set up the tents.
Then it was time to cook some diner.
When we were at the ICA we found they sell one of our favorites from our last trip!
It is a shame they don't sell this milk in the Netherlands, it is very tastefull, but it bit hard to drink.
Then we planned to route for tomorrow and updated the website.