Sweden’s northernmost city of Kiruna is moving two miles (3 km) east because iron mining has made the ground beneath it unstable. On May 17, the Swedish government released a documentary detailing progress of the move that began in 2014, sparking renewed interest in the logistical feat. But Kiruna isn’t the first settlement to relocate:
As an iron mine on the border of Hibbing destabilized its foundations, a mining company paid for a steam crawler, logs, horses and tractors to pick up and pull the buildings two miles (3 km)south between 1919 and 1921.
When Chinese mining company Chinalco began excavating a toxic open copper mine in 2012, it built a new town six miles (10 km) away for the 5,000 residents of nearby Morococha, and even provided moving trucks.
A 1956 damming project would have put the town of Tallangatta under 6 ft. (2 m) of water, so the town transported its 1,000 residents and timber buildings–including four gas stations, two hotels and four churches–five miles (8 km).
The discovery of gold deposits under the Siberian town in 2014 prompted authorities to dig up streets in search of nuggets. After protests by locals, a mining company agreed to pay $5.7 million in relocation costs.
This appears in the June 06, 2016 issue of TIME.
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