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From Ankara to Boliden — "Here I get to contribute to world-class mining"

Moving from a capital city with 5 million inhabitants to a small town in northern Sweden, where you've never been and know no one, is a daunting thought for many. Yet, that's exactly the step Merve Çolak took in the autumn of 2022, after spotting an ad on LinkedIn and securing a job at Boliden. Her driving force? The desire to learn and develop within the mining planning department.

A typical workday doesn't seem to exist for Merve Çolak. As a mine planning engineer in the Boliden office, she works on projects that can span months to decades. But she's also on the ground in the mine itself, stepping in for practical operations support or covering for someone on parental leave. Merve's background includes several years working in mines in Turkey, both underground and open-pit, so she brings practical expertise to the table.
"One reason I got the job was my experience in both areas," Merve says.

Mining planning: being part of everything

From her university days, Merve focused on mining planning, a specialized field requiring knowledge of specific software and tools. She discusses the vast scope of projects, noting that mining planning involves everything: designing the mine's layout and operation, timelines, extraction volumes, and sustainability — with land restoration already a significant component at the planning stage. To outsiders, the massive scale can be hard to grasp. However, Merve's passion lies in advancing her field and mastering the latest technology.

The enthusiasm is evident as she shares what her role at Boliden allows her to do: "Here, you're part of world-class mining operations. You're always learning something new, and there's a great openness to new methods. Boliden is at the forefront of technical innovation and environmental awareness. You're part of the surrounding community. What we do is clearly connected to the rest of the world, as part of sustainable development," Merve continues.

"Yet, I never feel stressed at work: both managers and colleagues ensure we maintain a good work-life balance. For me, it's perfect: the job is enriching and varied, but I also have time to spend with my daughter and pursue hobbies."

Befriending the winter

So, what hobbies does a former Ankara resident take up in her new life in Västerbotten? Merve moved here with her husband and daughter in November 2022. Anyone living in northern Sweden knows what that means: the start of the darkest and coldest season, challenging even for locals.

“I could accept the cold, the winters are cold in Ankara too”, says Merve. But the darkness was harder to deal with. The first winter was tough. I didn’t know anyone, and I hadn’t even been to Sweden before.

So what do you do? Well, Merve decided to become friends with winter.
"I took up cross-country skiing and often go on my leisure time with friends and family. I've also started ice skating, teaching my daughter so we can do it together. I've even tried winter swimming in the river! It was something I never thought I'd manage, but once I was in, it was amazing," Merve says with a laugh.

International community in "Enough city"

Her husband works at Northvolt, and the family lives in Ursviken outside Skellefteå. Both Merve and her husband work in teams with colleagues from around the world. The working language is primarily English, but Merve mentions she's picked up some technical Swedish for days in the mine.
"But my three-year-old daughter speaks better Swedish. She's bilingual but switches as soon as she sees her preschool teacher."

The international work environments make it easy to find other expats with similar experiences to socialize with. 

To summarize, Merve says:
“Skellefteå is not very big, but it’s also not your typical small town. Those of us who have recently moved here call it ‘Enough City’, as it has everything you need without having to go very far.” 


Boliden Head Office

Boliden Group
Klarabergsviadukten 90
P.O. Box 44, SE-101 20 Stockholm
Tel: + 46 8 610 15 00
Fax: + 46 8 654 80 90