Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Sept. 26, 2017


Final fate of Svea and Lunckefjell mines may be determined Oct. 12
The few employees left at Svea will learn if the government supports resuming operations at the coal mine, as well as the one nearby at Lunckefjell, when the proposed national budget for 2018 is submitted Oct. 12. “There are three options,” said Terje Blikfeldt, one of four workers at a table in a breakroom earlier this month at Svea, where he’s worked for more than 20 years. “The first is full throttle and a start-up of coal mining. The second is another year of suspension and the third is the horror scenario: full stop and starting work on removing all traces.” Store Norske Administrative Director Wenche Ravlo said the board of directors is endorsing either a full resumption or full halt since the cost of logistics of maintenance during the suspension are problematic. She estimated it will take about 900 million kroner to resume operations, about 60 to 70 percent of which would need to come from the government.

Italian hiker rescued after night stranded on mountain
An Italian tourist who got trapped on a mountain this weekend was rescued after a search that lasted overnight, according to The Governor of Svalbard. Officials were notified at 4:20 p.m. Saturday the man was on a mountainside and needed assistance coming down, but due to language problems it was unclear where he was. in good condition in the morning hours. It was not possible to search by helicopter due to strong winds, so about 30 rescuers with the governor’s office and Longyearbyen Red Cross scouted the mountains west of Longyearbyen, where Telenor reported the phone signal appeared to originate from. The governor’s Polarsyssel ship was also deployed to light up the mountainsides, and the man was spotted on a knoll between Bjørndalen and Litle Bjørndalen.  The man, in a conversation with officials, “stated that he is not cold and has good equipment. But he seemed anxious,” said Police Chief Lt. Vidar Arnesen. The man was brought down from the mountain between 5 and 5:30 a.m. Sunday and brought to Longyearbyen Hospital, but no significant injuries were reported.