SGU's mission is to provide society with geological information. This includes producing statistics on how much metal, minerals and aggregates are produced in Sweden.
On this page, we present interactive charts and tables that provide an overview of current mineral resources statistics: what is produced and how much, employment and exploration costs.
While the number of mines has fallen from around 240 in 1900 (mines and mining fields) to 12 in 2021, production has gone in the opposite direction. In 2021, ore production was the highest ever with 88,6 million tonnes. Ore production largely follows the economic cycle. In the diagram, the depression of the 1930s, the recession after the Second World War and the oil crises of the 1970s make a clear impression with declining production. The economic boom of the 1960s gave high domestic and foreign demand for ores. The corresponding increase in demand in the 2000s is driven by the outside world, mainly from China and other Asian countries. The diagram also shows the large increase in supply in Sweden from 2010 onwards, which is mainly due to increased ore production in LKAB's mines and Boliden Aitik, but also increased production in other mines.
Copper, lead and zinc
Production of base metals was rising until 1986. After that, production fell and reached a lower level until the financial crisis of 2008–2009. From 2010, metal production has increased significantly, which is due to the international economy.
Gold and silver
The silver production has been constantly rising. In the 2010s, better enrichment processes led to a significant increase. In recent years, however, production has decreased due to lower silver contents in the ore. Gold production was long dependent on the Boliden mine in Västerbotten, where 1933 still stands as a record. The rising gold production in recent years comes from several mines with gold in the portfolio. The Aitik mine now produces the largest quantities of gold.
Mines are usually a long-term business. Of the mines in operation today, eight are older than 50 years. The oldest mine, the Garpenberg mine, is mentioned in written documents as early as the beginning of the 14th century, but mining is much older than that. Archaeologists have found traces of metal handling in the area from as long as 2 400 years ago.
This diagram shows mines and mining fields. The structure of mines is different now than before. In the past, the technology was relatively simple, which led to many small mines, while modern technology has made possible fewer but larger mines. This has meant the closure of a large number of mines. Those who remained have a much more efficient production. Another consequence is that the mining industry is now established in far fewer places.
The mining industry is a process industry with large mechanical and computerized production processes. Something that usually mean job losses. Despite this and the fact that the number of workplaces has been fairly constant since the 2000s, the increasing production has meant more employed persons. Since 2000, employment has increased by 65 percent.
Women in the mining industry
For a long time, female workers in the mining industry were extremely rare. Nowadays, the proportion grows by a few percent for each year. Since 2000, the number of women working in the mining industry has increased by 12 percent.
The exploration efforts increased dramatically in the early 2000s when the international demand for metals took off. In recent years, international exploration has been declining slightly, in contrast to Swedish exploration, which has picked up again after a few weak years. However, it is very near-mine exploration that is increasing and not exploration for new mines.
Industrial minerals and natural stone
The production of industrial minerals and natural stone has a slightly declining trend.
There are more than 60 different types of minerals, rocks and similar raw materials that are included in the concept of industrial minerals. It can be, for example, limestone, as in the diagram above, which is used for cement production or as fillers in paint as well as in the steel industry. Industrial minerals are used in many places in spatial planning, often without being noticed. Other industrial minerals can be, for example, iron ore used for Falu red paint and rödfyr used for gravel tennis courts. Deliveries of industrial minerals increased by about 8 per cent in 2021. This was a reversal of the declining trend seen in recent years.
Dimension stone quarries are spread over large parts of Sweden. Granite, gneiss, diabase and gabbro are mined in the bedrock. In the younger sedimentary bedrock in southern Sweden, mainly Ordovician limestone. In the mountain bedrock, deposits of limestone and slate are mined. About 40 percent of mined granite, gneiss and diabase are exported as trading blocks for further processing. Production in the dimension stone industry increased significantly in 2021 compared with 2020. During the year, 216,000 tonnes of finished products were delivered in 2021, in the form of trading blocks, semi-finished products and finished stone products from 57 dimension stone quarries operated by a total of 24 companies.
The report Statistics of the Swedish Mining Industry is published once a year and contains detailed information on Swedish ore production as well as statistics on the production of energy peat, natural stone, industrial minerals, national interests and mineral rights.
Last reviewed 2023-01-24