Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of April 10, 2014


Two Svalbard beach cleanup projects get 1.1M in government grants
Two Svalbard beach cleanup projects are receiving more than 1.1. million kroner in funding from the Norwegian Environmental Directorate as part of an 80-million-kroner nationwide marine pollution removal effort. The Longyearbyen organization Aktiv i Friluft, which received 1.3 million kroner last year and cleared 6.4 tons of trash from seven beach locations near town, will receive 500,000 kroner for five planned cleanups this year. “We received lots of good feedback last year,” said Silje M. Hagen, the project’s manager. “I hope people are interested in making a dedication effort this year as well. By picking up garbage we get to enjoy the scenery while we get to places where we would not be otherwise.” The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) will receive 634,050 kroner for beach cleanup projects involving ships belonging to the organization. AECO has already received funding for a three-year cleanup project that also focuses on other efforts to lessen litter such as reducing the amount of disposable plastics on ships.

New Store Norske leader: we may do more mining at Svea
New Store Norske Administrative Director Jan Morten Ertsaas is plenty familiar with the company’s long and storied mining history, but is facing a unique situation since the mining has been almost entirely eliminated. Instead, his primary duty will be presiding over the dismantling of the infrastructure at the company’s two main mines at Svea and Lunckefjell during the next few years. Yet he isn’t completely giving up on the idea of doing some extractions in the meantime. “It is possible that we will remove coal in Svea along the way to reduce the costs of keeping Svea community warm. But only if it makes a positive contribution to the project and the risk is acceptable.” While he only worked for a brief time at Store Norske while growing up here before departing for the mainland, his father Knut Ertsaas was head of the company from 1966 to 1970 and remained at the company until 1988. The younger Ertsaas started his new job April 1, replacing outgoing director Wenche Ravlo.

Longyearbyen School gets special gold baton for annual relay race
Longyearbyen School is one of 25 schools in Norway chosen to receive a gold baton for “long and faithful service.” The batons are used during relay races organized by the dairy company Tine, with more than one million students running more than 340,000 kilometers in the events, according to the company. “We have worked a lot with the Tine batons and arrange a race every year as a school year end for upper secondary students,” Knut Halvorsen at Longyearbyen School said.