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Coal mining in the Arctic on the way towards future  

Bjørn Arnestad, managing director of the Norwegian coal mining company “Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani” (SNSK), has commented on the future of his company and on the Svalbard white paper of the Norwegian government that has recently been published (see below). There are enough coal reserves, including mines that do not exist yet, until 2023, but SNSK still needs to develop new business ideas for the time after 2023. Shipping services across the then most likely largely ice-free Arctic Ocean might be an option, according to Arnestad. About the white paper, he said that he is as satisfied with it as if he had written it himself, as the Norwegian governmnent puts clear emphasize on future coal mining on Spitsbergen.

The fact that there is a relationship between coal mining and climate change has obviously not had an influence on this strategical decision, although – officially – highest environmental standards are supposed to be paramount for all economic activities in Svalbard and climate change has been identified as the one major single threat to the arctic environment and ecosystems.

It seems almost ironic that the coal mining company SNSK might benefit from climate change by utilizing new shipping routes in then ice-free waters.

Coal mining: future activitity in the Arctic?
(mine 7 near Longyearbyen)

Source: Svalbardposten (16/2009)

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last modification: 2013-10-21 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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