New Yet Old? The Brownfield/Greenfield Distinction in a Historical Mining District in Sweden

Authors: Marcus Wallner*,
Topics: Land Use, Natural Resources, Environment
Keywords: mining, brownfield, financial risk, Sweden, property
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Iberville, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The categories of “brownfield” and “greenfield” are used in the extractive industry to distinguish between projects in already exploited and previously unexploited areas. Brownfield projects are generally associated with less financial risk and fewer legal obstacles. By drawing on case study research on a long-planned, contested iron ore project in the historical mining district of Bergslagen in south-central Sweden, this paper explores the instability of these categories and the “politics” of their use. While the mining company and certain public authorities assert a continuity between previous operations in the area and the current plans, nearby house owners argue that the company’s project cannot only be understood as a reopening of an old mine. This “classification struggle” suggests that the mining project’s widely recognized brownfield status is more complex than it appears at first sight.

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