Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of March 24, 2015


Miner loses two fingers in ‘crushing’ accident at Svea
A man in his 40s had two fingers severed during an accident involving a conveyor belt in the mine at Svea, according to the governor of Svalbard. The victim was transported by helicopter to Longyearbyen Hospital following the accident at about 5 a.m. Wednesday. The company has halted work involving the conveyor belt to investigate the equipment and instruct employees on operating it properly.

Disruptive visitors peeing, defacing Larsbreen ice cave
Tourists peeing and “tagging” the ice cave on Larsbreen is a growing problem that is seriously marring the experience for other visitors, according to a guide who leads tours there. “A tourist group I took in said they got the impression that the cave was used as a toilet,” said Vladimir Prokofiev, a guide for Spitsbergen Outdoor Activities. He said visitors are also breaking off ice formations and carving their names on walls, and the problem has gotten worse instead of better after he made an appeal on Facebook asking visitors to behave responsibly.

Store Norske union leader set to be Longyearbyen’s mayor
Arild Olsen, 37, the union representative for workers at Store Norske, appears likely to become Longyearbyen’s next mayor this fall after ascending to the top rank of the local Labor Party. Labor represents seven of the 15 representatives on the Longyearbyen Community Council and the current leader, Christin Kristoffersen , has stated she is stepping down after October’s municipal election. A financial crisis at Store Norske has been the dominant local issue for several months but Olsen, who has served five years on the council, said he won’t be a “yes man” for the company if he becomes mayor. “To emerge as Store Norske’s man in a job like this would be political suicide,” he said. “But I know the cornerstone business well and I think that just might be a great advantage. I’ve experienced their ups and downs, and know the needs of the company.”