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Monthly Archives: July 2008 − News & Stories


Coal production in Sveagruva profitable

In 2008, about 2 million tons of coal were mined already until early July, more than 300 000 tons more than expected. This together with rising prices on the world market makes for smiling faces in the management of the Norwegian mining company Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani (SNSK), which is making profit – a rare event in the long history of the company. SNSK expects to have paid its debts back by the end of the year. The coal is exported to Europe, where about 60 % are used in energy production and 40 % in the steel industry.

The area of Svea from above.

Coal production in Sveagruva profitable

Source: Svalbardposten

New station in Ny Ålesund

Ny Ålesund is becoming increasingly popular as a base for polar research. The latest newcomer from the far east, after China and Korea, is India, which opened a station in early 2008. Russia has already expressed interest and may be the next nation to follow. Italy, that has already a station in Ny Ålesund, plans to open a “climate tower” to conduct atmospheric research, which is expected to be operational in the summer of 2009.

The Indian research stations in Ny Ålesund. 

New station in Ny Ålesund

The German research stations in Ny Ålesund.

The German research stations in Ny Ålesund.

Sources: Svalbardposten, Svalbard Science Forum

Prominent visitors to the ice

Spitsbergen has had a larger number of prominent visitors in June and July. In late June, members of the three Scandinavian royal families went on a cruise into the ice on board the Swedish icebreaker Oden, and ministers of a number of countries visited Longyearbyen and Ny Ålesund to meet colleagues and to discuss issues including climate change. The seed vault near Longyearbyen, opened earlier this year, was also high on the wishlist, but the doors usually remain closed, even for high-ranking visitors such as former US-president Jimmy Carter, who wanted to visit the seed vault in early July together with CNN-chef Ted Turner, multimillionaire George Soros and Google founder Larry Page.

According to the local newspaper Svalbardsposten, 76% of the local population consider prominent visitors unimportant. 

The Swedish icebreaker Oden with the Scandiavian Crown Princes on board.

Prominent visitors to the ice

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