Tag Archives: coal mining

SAME SAME, BUT DIFFERENT: Barentsburg and Pyramiden avoid layoffs and mining remains strong, but transit is harder and no one is vaccinated as they share Svalbard’s COVID-19 struggles

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Photo by Alena Kutsenko

There’s no layoffs (although hours and seasonal hires are being cut), but travel to/from their home countries of Russia and Ukraine is even more of a hassle than for their neighbors from mainland Norway. The economic situation is also somewhat better because they’re maintaining significant coal mining activity, but nobody’s been vaccinated yet.

Call it a classic case of “same same, but different” compared to Longyearbyen as Svalbard’s Russian settlements of Barentsburg and Pyramiden struggle with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and this week’s long list of new restrictions threatening to choke off much of the already subpar the spring and Easter tourism season.

MINE 7 TO CLOSE IN 2028: Last Norwegian coal mine to shut down when Longyearbyen’s coal power plant does; Store Norske will then dismantle mine and focus on ‘greener’ energy

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The “cornerstone” of Longyearbyen’s 115-year existence is set to reach its final end after a years-long phaseout, as Mine 7 is scheduled to cease operations in 2028 and be dismantled during the next two years, Svalbardposten reported Friday.

NEW POWER PLANT ‘WITHIN TWO TO FIVE YEARS’: Norway’s government says new climate-friendly energy facility will be in 2022 budget; fate of Mine 7 and Store Norske uncertain

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A major and accelerated transition from a coal-fueled to a climate-friendly power plant in Longyearbyen, with a new facility in the 2022 budget that is operating within two to five years, was announced Monday by Norway’s government.

The announcement, if fulfilled, means the city’s 38-year-old coal plant will shut down well before the end of its theoretical life expectancy – although it will decommissioned in phases. It also means Mine 7 will lose its essential purpose of supplying coal to the power plant, leaving uncertain the fate of the last mining operation by Store Norske and other Norwegian companies that have been the foundation of Longyearbyen’s existence for virtually all of its 115-year history.

ALARM ABOUT ADVISORIES ACQUIRING AUSTRE ADVENTFJORD (AGAIN): Russia and China (still) interested in coal-rich land near Longyearbyen, attorney tells Norway (and media)

austreadventfjord

This may sound familiar: Russian and Chinese companies are among those interesting in buying the coal mining rights to a large tract of land near Longyearbyen, an attorney representing the holder of those rights is telling Norway’s government and media.

Unsurprisingly, headlines appear nationwide Wednesday about the prospect of a major advisory gaining a potentially large economic/political foothold in Svalbard after it was first reported by NRK. But the coverage also noted the issue has surfaced repeatedly beginning in 2014 when the family-owned company that owned the land announced it planned to sell it – and how that ended up being what many called essentially a “ransom demand” to pressure Norway’s government into paying a heightened price to buy the land.

GO WITH THE FLOE: Store Norske joins ‘renaming’ craze with new logo reflecting shift from ice-hard mining tradition to rapidly moving transition to multitude of industries

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First the governor lost its manhood and now only days later Store Norske’s ice-hard embodiment has gone soft.

Mining and/or tourism? Government friend and/or foe? Store Norske’s unpredictable future takes more volatile turns

sveadebate

The question used to be what options, if any, were possible at Svea since coal mining was shutting down. Now the dilemma is it might be possible to have mining and other new activities already occurring – but government officials who’ve been so supportive in the past might block some or all of those options this time.

Hard core exhibition: ‘Kullfolk’ shows a rock-solid workforce, now nearly vanquished, to a new era of ‘soft people’

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“Miners don’t like having their picture taken,” said Birger Amundsen, minutes before presenting a room filled with about 30 enormous portraits of the workers’ dirty faces from the past 25 years in Svalbard.

Furthermore, the longtime journalist and author said he’s sad to see the coal miners being replaced “soft people” in tourism, an industry “without a core,” but since the room of his photos is at Svalbard Museum it means most of the people looking at his exhibit will be – wait for it – tourists.

Coal’s last gasp? Store Norske may decide next week to end mining in Svalbard as coal price crisis persists

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Judgement Day for Longyearbyen may occur as soon as next week.

Deciding if Store Norske should cease its coal mining operations is among the items on the agenda when the company’s board of directors meets Sept. 3, according to Svalbardposten.

Sacrifice for thee, but not for me? Prayers for global action and local coal mining launch ‘climate pilgrimage’

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As the first step in a “climate pilgrimage,” it was a precarious one. Prayers for leaders to help the global community by taking action to combat climate change – accompanied by prayers for leaders to help the local community by keeping coal mining alive in Svalbard.

Loan plea: Yeas, nays and frays

Erna Solbert at Arctic Frontiers 2015

The prime minister wants to keep tapping the Arctic’s energy resources at full speed despite huge price crashes. Opposing interests say it’s embarrassing pleas to keep coal mining alive in Svalbard weren’t rejected immediately. And some advertising guy earned 15,000 likes on Facebook in a couple of days for alleging the government is planning a mass sale of assets, including half of its land in Svalbard.