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Daily Archives: 18. November 2009 − News & Stories


Tough times in Bar­ents­burg

The 400 inha­bi­tants of the Rus­si­an mining sett­le­ment Bar­ents­burg have to live with dif­fi­cult work- and gene­ral con­di­ti­ons. After a fire in the mine in ear­ly 2008, when 2 peop­le lost their lives, mining was stop­ped for a while; cur­r­ent­ly, 30,000 tons per year are mined to keep the local power plant run­ning. Full pro­duc­tion on a level of 120,000 tons per year, still low on a glo­bal sca­le, will not come befo­re sum­mer 2010 – one year later than ori­gi­nal­ly hoped for. A miner has now com­p­lai­ned through the press about bad con­di­ti­ons, such as insuf­fi­ci­ent work power and equip­ment and, as a result of this, more or less regu­lar­ly occu­ring dan­ge­rous situa­tions. Also the wages of about one Dol­lar per hour are not exact­ly rea­son for hap­pi­ness.

The lea­ders­hip of the mining Com­pa­ny Trust Ark­ti­ku­gol does not show any under­stan­ding for the com­p­laints.

In Novem­ber 2009, Trust Ark­ti­ku­gol has lost a Nor­we­gi­an court case regar­ding use of heli­co­p­ters in Spits­ber­gen. Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties have denied the Rus­si­ans to use heli­co­p­ters for other pur­po­ses than tho­se direct­ly con­nec­ted to the mining acti­vi­ties of Trust Ark­ti­ku­gol. This is, in prac­ti­ce, restric­ted to trans­port of per­so­nell bet­ween Lon­gyear­ben and Bar­ents­burg. The Rus­si­ans want to offer com­mer­cial flights for sci­en­tists and tou­rists, in the case of the lat­ter at least to offer trans­por­ta­ti­on from Lon­gyear­ben to Bar­ents­burg also during the win­ter. They refer to the Spits­ber­gen Trea­ty, which makes clear that all signa­to­ry powers and their citi­zens have equal rights for com­mer­cial acti­vi­ties in Spits­ber­gen.

Mining in Bar­ents­burg: Cur­r­ent­ly a diff­cult affair.

Tough times in Barentsburg

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten (46/2009)

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