A new chapter in Pajala’s mining history

Mining and iron working took place in the Pajala region as early as the 17th century. This is a long and deeply-rooted history. For more than a century, Norrbotten has been dependent on a successful mining and steel industry. Industry has characterised our towns and communities, our culture and our landscape.


With a strong conviction and huge local commitment, we were able begin to write the next chapter in Pajala’s mining history in 2018. Our chapter. We were indebted to no-one, and we were convinced that we would be able to create a profitable and vibrant base industry. We shared that conviction with investors, stakeholders and partners who believed in us wholeheartedly and gave us a solid foundation. We knew we had a unique iron ore product with high iron content and considerable environmental advantages, and we knew how much would manage to produce and ship. Free of debt and realistic production goals, we could start to build our Kaunis Iron. There were many who wondered whether it really was possible to restart the mine in Pajala. There were doubters. We showed it was possible. Daily we show that it is possible.


Important years


The miner Northland Resources starts an open pit to extract iron ore in Kokkovuoma. The first ore transport leaves in December 2012.



Iron ore prices stagnate. Northland Resources falls on the stock market and begins reconstruction on 8 February.



The price of iron ore falls heavily. In October, Northland Resources ceases production and in December, the company is declared bankrupt.



Abcede AB takes over part of the operation – the concentrator, the truck workshop and the train wagons.



On 19 February, Kaunis Holding AB buys up Abecede AB and all the remaining assets in the Northland Resources bankruptcy estate, and changes its name to Kaunis Iron AB.

A cluster of Swedish investors put up almost 600 mSEK and mining recommences in Kaunisvaara.

“We have created a completely new business model which we are working to, and have three good customers. So it looks very good,” said Anders Sundström, Chair of the Board of Kaunis Iron, to Di TV and Expressen TV on 29 May.


On 25 June, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency petitions for Kaunis Iron’s environmental permit to be revoked.


18 July, Kaunis Iron restarts ore extraction.

“It is an enormous day for both Kaunis Iron and Railcare, but also for Pajala Municipality, which is booming, and all the jobs that are returning,” says engine driver Anna Helmersson to regional daily NSD in August at the première – the departure of the first ore train.



By May, we reach full production at an annual 2,000,000 t of iron ore concentrate.


“It’s going fantastically well”, says Per-Erik Lindvall, CEO of Kaunis Iron to NSD in June.


On 17 July, Kaunis Iron applies for a new operating permit for the existing operations and in addition two new mines – in Sahavaara and Palotieva.

Mining operations employ about 350 people.



In February, the company announces that the first year of production showed an impressive closing with net sales amounting to 1,619 mSEK and income after financial items amounting to 389 mSEK.



Despite a turbulent world market, Kaunis Iron closes off a record year with net sales amounting to 2 901 Mkr, and with profit after financial items of 1 237 MKr. The mine is in production 24/7 and the mining operations engages 531 persons out of whom 368 are employed directly by Kaunis Iron.



The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s petition to revoke Kaunis Irons’ environmental permit is rejected and Kaunis Iron continues its operations. The verdict limits the mines’ yearly production to 7 million tons, which matches the current level of production.  

“This verdict is important for the Swedish industry, it shows that granted permissions are valid”, says Klas Dagertun, CEO of Kaunis Iron.