Kirkenes is the administrative centre of S0r-Varanger Kommune and the capital of official Barents cooperation. It is also an area where Norwegians, Russians, Finns and Sami meet and mingle.
Population (town): 3 500
Population (municipality): 10 000
Situated on the shore of the Arctic Ocean
'The capital of the Barents'
History of boom-and-bust economies, much like other towns dependent on a single resource
- Most livelihoods have relied on fishing and iron ore mining
- Ambition to become a global transportation hub
- Northern Sea Route from Europe to Asia
- Pushing for rail link from the Arctic Ocean to the Baltic Sea
- Considerable immigration from Russia
Kirkenes - the changing face of mining
- Dominated economic and social life in Kirkenes for the most of the 1900s
- Opened first iron mine in 1906, closed it in 1996
- Built houses and infrastructure
- Sponsored local sports, culture and arts
Transforming to a more diversified economy
- From mining town to a town with a mine
- Rise of tourism and cultural entrepreneurship
New era in mining?
- Australian-owned Northern Iron Ltd. reopened the mine in 2009, welcomed enthusiastically
- Criticized for dumping waste in the fjord and not giving enough back to the community
- The mine was closed due to bankruptcy in November 2015, four hundred people lost their jobs
All photos: Eileen Espiritu