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The mining resource cycle and settlement demography in Mala, Northern Sweden
journal contributionposted on 28.06.2021, 05:01 by Dean Carson, Lena Maria Nilsson, Doris A Carson
Research on the demographic impacts of mining in sparsely populated areas has focused primarily on relatively large towns. Less attention has been paid to smaller villages, which may experience different impacts because of their highly concentrated economies and their small populations, making them more vulnerable to demographic "boom and bust" effects. This paper examines demographic change in four small villages in northern Sweden, which are located close to several mining projects but have evolved through different degrees of integration with or separation from mining. Using a longitudinal "resource cycle" perspective, the demographic trajectories of the villages are compared to understand how different types of settlement and engagement with mining have led to different demographic outcomes in the long term. While the four villages experienced similar trajectories in terms of overall population growth and decline, their experiences in relation to more nuanced indicators, including age and gender distributions and population mobilities, were different, and potential reasons for this are discussed. Due to data limitations, however, the long-term demographic consequences of mining for local Sami people remain unclear. The paper problematises this research gap in light of general concerns about mining impacts on traditional Sami livelihoods.