Tag Archives: Store Norske

Coal-hearted reality: TV series about Store Norske’s last mine keeps it real – and real entertaining, say workers and watchers

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Want to a see grizzled old-time coal miner brusquely musing about starting his shift for the “most dangerous job on the planet” while ominous music thumps in the background? Change the channel.

Abandon all hope: Svalbard’s 10 biggest stories of 2017

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We’re not going to spin it: the year known as 2017 was a disaster – literally.

An avalanche early on shook the community and its leaders to its foundations, climate change inflicted maybe its most humiliating impact on us yet, Barentsburg suffered through two fatal crashes and the hope of some kind of future in terms of Store Norske’s coal mines suffered a death far more painful than even the most pessimistic envisioned.

The (much) higher price of failure: Cost of dismantling Store Norske’s main mines doubles to 1.5B kroner

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Norway’s government has made it clear they’ll pay whatever it takes to shut down virtually all coal mining in Svalbard – and it turns out they’ll pay dearly as the estimated cost is now twice the 750 million kroner originally estimated.

Birther movement: Jan Morten Ertsaas returning to the town he was born in as the new head of Store Norske

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Jan Morten Ertsaas is one of the few people today who can say they were born in Longyearbyen and one of his first jobs was spending a year working at Store Norske’s coal purification facility. Now, decades after departing for the mainland, he is returning to lead the company as it struggles to find a rebirth.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Jan. 16, 2018

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Organized fireworks celebration proposed for next New Year’s
A communal New Year’s fireworks show next year is being proposed by a Longyearbyen resident who says it will be safer and more environmentally friendly.

Keep the lights on: If Santa could bring Longyearbyen one thing for Christmas? Opening mines, safe housing top wish list

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It was a perfect symbolism for Christmas in Longyearbyen in 2017 – the locals dancing and singing as they circled the town’s official tree whose lights were dark (a seemingly laugh-it-off error that turned out to be deliberate sabotage). Because the top item on the wish list of many locals comes to down to one thing: keeping the lights going at something significant where they’re being turned off.

Higher price of failure: Shutdown of Store Norske mines will cost far more, take longer than thought, minister says

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It turns out shutting down and dismantling the Svea and Lunckefjell is going to cost a lot more than expected. With Parliament scheduled to debate the issue Thursday, at what point does the cost get so high it would be more sensible to spend the money reopening the mines?

Apparently, never, according to the head of Store Norske.

Lots of fire, but no heat? Hundreds of torch-carrying protesters object to mine shutdowns, but trade minister stands by proposal

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The government’s spin is the mines may be closing permanently, but there will be significantly more jobs locally during the shutdown period as Longyearbyen attempts to transition its economy. It doesn’t appear many locals are buying the argument.

FINAL CLOSURE: Government recommends permanent shutdown of mining at Svea, Lunckefjell

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Hopes of resuming large-scale coal mining in Svalbard were dashed Thursday morning – probably permanently – as the Norwegian government is recommending Svea and Lunckefjell remain closed, and that maintenance of the mines cease and most of the infrastructure be removed. 

A minefield of uncertainty: Store Norske Administrative Director Wenche Ravlo resigns just before government announces future intentions for coal company

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In nine days Store Norske will learn if Norway’s government wants to resume or end large-scale coal mining in Svalbard. But now local workers must cope with another huge uncertainty – who will be in charge of which transition the company takes in the future.

Administrative Director Wenche Ravlo announced publicly Tuesday she is resigning as of March 1 next year. The resignation officially presented to the company late last week comes just before the government releases its proposed budget for next year, which is expected to include a recommendation on whether to resume operations at the Svea and Lunckefjell.