Mining: A changing industry

Today, there are 16 mines in Sweden, producing more than 70 million tons ore every year. By 2030, the Swedish government estimates that there will be about 50 mines producing well over 120 million tons (Regeringskansliet 2013; SGU 2013; see ICMM for a similar global trend). There are high hopes of economic growth, new jobs and a renaissance of some rural communities. Undoubtedly, mining has had, and will continue to have, a central role in our increasingly resource-intensive civilisation.

- The mining industry  is going through changes that also open up for other dilemmas. Higher demands on financial return and an ongoing automatization implies that white collar workers share of the total amount of workers is increasing. The stationary, locally anchored, workers share decreases in favour of fly-in/fly-out workers and independent subcontractors, Tommy Jensen explains.

Increasing automatization and globalization

Research, and mining companies, predict that the number of ”hands” needed in the labor process will be reduced, concentrated to those how perform maintenance. The management and supervision of the company and its machines can, however, be performed anywhere in the world.

- In other words, there is rather distinct signs that the organizing of rocks is more and more characterized by a stakeholder model that is more complex and globally connected than what previous studies has researched and analyzed. The  double characteristics of mining – as being part of the old as well as the new economy – is the starting point for this study, says Tommy.

Tommy says that the project is important because it can contribute with empirical and conceptual knowledge about (i) how a modern mine is organized and how it affects the labor process, (ii) how this could be understood in terms of power, and (iii) it can help actors involved to better articulate (put into words) their role, situation and possibility to act (discretion) related to the changes in the labor processes.

Two cases are in focus, the Kirunavaara iron ore mine in Sweden and the McArthur River uranium mine in Canada.

Results in music

Some of the results of the study are communicated through music - listed to the album via the link below.