STOCKHOLM - Sweden scores high in international rankings of mining nations, but concern is growing that the Scandinavian country is selling its vast underground resources far too cheap.

While concession fees are kept deliberately low in order to attract miners, critics say all nine million Swedes could and should benefit the same way that their Norwegian neighbours all profit from their national oil wealth.

“This is something we own together,” said Jesper Roine, associate professor at the Stockholm School of Economics. Besides, he added, minerals have an intrinsic value even before they are dug out of the earth, and they should be priced accordingly, the way all other raw materials are priced.As it is now, the Swedish state earned only a little over 30,000 euros ($41,000) in concession fees in 2012, the last year for which figures were available.

Why this tiny number? Because fees are a mere 0.2 percent of total output value, of which three quarters go to the landowner and only one quarter ends up in the state treasury.

By comparison, Canadian provinces typically charge 10 to 15 percent, and Australia implemented a 30 percent mining tax in 2012.

Some economists and environmentalists suggest increased mining fees in order to safeguard the natural environment of Sweden’s mineral-rich north, while also saving up for a huge nest egg to help future generations.

Behind the debate is a fact that may surprise: Sweden is known for its slick design and ingenuous high-tech, but it also produces more iron than any other European nation and boasts the world’s two largest underground ore mines.

Its mineral resources are attracting the attention of business heavyweights from across the globe.

Avalon Minerals and Dragon Mining, both Australian companies, have prospecting and concession licences in Sweden. Canadian company Eurasian Minerals has exploration projects in Sweden, one of them in cooperation with Chile’s Antofagasta.