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Scrutiny can drive progress in Norrland

Peter Lindvall, Malin Christoffersson, Mari Gustafsson and Lenitha Andersson-Junkka are editors-in-chief and publishers for NSD, Norran, Piteå-Tidningen and Norrbottens-Kuriren, which is behind the joint venture Framtidsfabriken.
Peter Lindvall, Malin Christoffersson, Mari Gustafsson and Lenitha Andersson-Junkka are editors-in-chief and publishers for NSD, Norran, Piteå-Tidningen and Norrbottens-Kuriren, which is behind the joint venture Framtidsfabriken.

The green industrial boom has put northern Sweden on the world map and created excitement for the future. But the war in Ukraine, a painful recession and loud voices questioning the big projects are dark clouds in the sky

Krönika 11 april 2023 11:12

Northern Sweden has been experiencing a significant industrial boom that has put the region on the world map and sparked optimism about the future. However, amid the grand visions of progress, there are concerns about a potential threat to this momentum. The ongoing war in Ukraine, a painful recession, and growing skepticism about major projects all loom as challenges to the region's development.

As of April 2023, journalists at Norran, PT, Kuriren, and NSD have been monitoring the industrial boom in Northern Sweden for over a year. The region is undergoing a profound social transformation, with new industrial establishments and a transition towards greener processes impacting people's lives. Interviews with individuals who have moved to the region from other countries, as well as those already living there, reveal the challenges and opportunities presented by this transformation.

However, the past year has seen significant changes globally that have impacted the region. A war in Europe has led to a recession and energy crisis, prompting a reevaluation of how society manages resources. As people struggle with rising food prices, interest rates, and energy costs, questions have arisen about the viability of electricity-intensive industries in a region where electricity supplies are already strained. There is also debate about Sweden's responsibility to take a leading role in addressing global issues such as climate change.

Despite the challenges, there are opportunities to turn adversity into progress. Scrutiny and criticism of industrial projects can help refine and improve them, while difficulties can spur innovation and creative solutions.

The journalists at Framtidsfabriken have reported on the region's development, including plans to mine Europe's largest deposit of rare earth metals in Kiruna, the investment in carbon dioxide-free steel production in Gällivare, and the growth of the battery factory in Skellefteå. However, there are also concerns about conflicting interests in Kiruna, where the mining plans conflict with reindeer herding.

In Gällivare, a significant investment in Dundret is underway, which is considered an integral part of an appealing society that aims to attract workers for Hybrit's investment in carbon dioxide-free steel. The immense project will be subject to a detailed plan that will undergo public consultation.

Meanwhile, in Luleå, the process of obtaining permits and planning for the Luleå industrial park and its surrounding infrastructure is ongoing. This includes the dredging of the port of Luleå, which will become Sweden's second-largest port. Over in Boden, H2GS is experiencing noticeable growth, with the company hiring more employees.

Skellefteå remains at the forefront of societal transformation, with an expansion of the Northvolt battery factory currently underway. The municipality's population is increasing, and new homes are being constructed throughout the region, resulting in more frequent traffic queues. Furthermore, English is becoming an increasingly important language, and Norran has launched an English-language section of its news site.

Piteå boasts ample wind power resources, but it has yet to attract significant investment. The question remains: will Piteå remain a commuter town, or will it also receive substantial investments?

As the third supplement from Framtidsfabriken is published, journalists are looking ahead to the future and considering what society will need to do to continue the region's development. Challenges such as electricity supply, access to skilled labor, and infrastructure development will need to be addressed, and the voices of all stakeholders must be heard in the debate about the region's future.

Here you will find Framtidsfabriken's third supplement as an e-newspaper:





You can also read the supplement online.

Lenitha Andersson Junkka, editor-in-chief and publisher Norrbottens-Kuriren, Malin Christoffersson , editor-in-chief and publisher Norran, Mari Gustafsson, editor-in-chief and responsible publisher Piteå-Tidningen, Peter Lindvall, editor-in-chief and publisher NSD

Fakta om Framtidsfabriken

Framtidsfabriken is an investment in journalism about the development in northern Sweden that NSD, Norran, Norrbottens-Kuriren and Piteå-tidningen are behind.

Journalism is gathered at nsd.se/framtidsfabriken, norran.se/framtidsfabriken, kuriren.nu/framtidsfabriken, pt.se/framtidsfabriken.

The editor for the venture is Jonny Vikström.