The Municipality of Rana sits just below the Arctic Circle, and stretches from the national border with Sweden to the Norwegian Sea. Its northern border goes through the glacier Svartisen and Saltfjellet, and to the south it goes through the Okstindan mountain range, which has the highest peak in Norther Norway: Okstinden, standing at 1915 metres above sea level.
Rana has a long history of being the foremost industrial municipality in Nordland. There have been mining activities in the municipality since the 1860s. In 1946, the Storting decided to establish an ironwork at Mo, due to the rich iron ore deposits and plentiful hydroelectric resources in the area. This led to a rapid development in the community. Production at A/S Norsk Jernverk and Norsk Koksverk A/S dominated employment in the municipality until 1988, when poor profitability and a need for restructuring led to shutdowns and a dramatic reorganization of the municipality's trade and industry.
There are viable mineral deposits several places in the municipality. The ironwork has been converted to a smaller steel mill based on scrap iron. Most of the municipality's industry is related to iron and steel production, though there is also some mechanical industry and research facilities. The independent research organization SINTEF has a branch here, focusing on environmental, processing and materials technology.
The municipality is well-suited for agriculture and forestry due to its fertile soil, rich in lime and schist. Agriculture is characterized by intensive dairy production, vegetable farming and some meat production. Fishing is of minor importance, and only in certain areas. Rana has 10 percent of the county's total logging activities.
Rana also has a number of tourist attractions. In the summer, there is a boat connection across Svartisvatnet, for easy access to the glacier Østerdalsisen. There are more than 100 known limestone caves. The most famous of which is Grønligrotten, where guided tours are offered in the summer months. There are large stones indicating where the Arctic Circle intersects with the E6, and just nearby is the Arctic Circle Centre. 100 metres south is a standing stone, commemorating the Yugoslavian prisoners of war who worked and died on Saltfjellet in the period 1942–1945. Further north, at Stødi, are three listed Saami sacrificial stones. Rana Museum, which is part of Helgeland Museum, is located at Mo, and 8 kilometres outside the town centre along the E 12 is Stenneset, and open-air museum of old buildings. Saltfjellet offers plenty of hiking opportunities, as well as lodging in cabins. Nordland Theatre is headquartered at Mo, and the National Library also has a branch here.
Rana's contribution to the "Footprints in the North" project is Umbukta Coaching Inn. This old coaching inn is situated on an old thoroughfare to Sweden. The local history is closely tied to this coaching inn, and there are also remains of Mesolithic settlements nearby.
Area (km2): 4.464
Administrative centre: Mo i Rana
Key industries: Industry and mining, service, agriculture, forestry