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Home* News and Stories → New coal mine at Lunck­ef­jel­let offi­cial­ly ope­ned

New coal mine at Lunck­ef­jel­let offi­cial­ly ope­ned

The mining com­pa­ny Store Nor­ske (SNSK) has ope­ned the new coal mine at Lunck­ef­jel­let, bet­ween Sveagru­va and Reinda­len, offi­cial­ly on Tues­day (Febru­a­ry 25). Next to miners and com­pa­ny offi­cials, the local admin­stra­ti­on from Lon­gye­ar­by­en and Nor­we­gi­an media were pre­sent at Lunck­ef­jel­let. Miner Ter­je Nyland has cut the sym­bo­lic cord to mark the ope­ning. He was deter­mi­ned to do so by lot, rather than an offi­cial taking the job, a nice ges­tu­re by the mining com­pa­ny.

It is 14 years ago a new coal mine was ope­ned on Sval­bard for the last time.

The first ton of coal left Lunck­ef­jel­let alrea­dy on Octo­ber 25 as part of the pre­pa­ra­ti­ons for mining, which are now almost finis­hed. Soon, ever­ything is sup­po­sed to be rea­dy for a dai­ly pro­duc­tion of 10,000 tons coal.

SNSK is cur­r­ent­ly expe­ri­en­cing eco­no­mi­c­al­ly chal­len­ging years. Pri­ces on the world mar­ket are under pres­su­re, and the risk con­nec­ted to exchan­ge rate fluc­tua­tions is high. A 1 % loss of the dol­lar rate may cost the com­pa­ny up to more than 1,2 mil­li­on Euro. The last time Store Nor­ske has finis­hed a year with a posi­ti­ve result is several years ago. A nega­ti­ve result is expec­ted also for 2014, alt­hough the pres­su­re is expec­ted to les­sen due to first bene­fits of the new mine. On the other side, cos­ts for the ope­ning of the Lunck­ef­jel­let mine as well as incre­a­sed cos­ts at Svea Nord, whe­re pro­duc­tion is get­ting into mar­gi­nal sta­ges, are incre­a­sing the pres­su­re.

Store Nor­ske has publis­hed the fol­lowing figu­res for 2013:

• Pro­duc­tion: 1,855,000 tons of coal (2012: 1,229,000)
• Inco­me: 1,32 bil­li­on Nor­we­gi­an Kro­ner (2012: ca. 160 mil­li­on)
• Sales: 2,135.000 tons of coal (2012: 701,000 tons)

The eco­no­mi­c­al situa­ti­on of the new mine at Lunck­ef­jel­let, plan­ned to be pro­duc­ti­ve for 6-7 years only, is descri­bed as mar­gi­nal by com­pa­ny lea­ders alrea­dy given cur­rent mar­ket con­di­ti­ons. Store Nor­ske invests in rese­arch which is sup­po­sed to incre­a­se sales pri­ces or gene­ra­te addi­tio­nal inco­me from, for examp­le, tech­ni­cal upgrading of coal. On the long term, the com­pa­ny has hopes for fur­ther new mines near Sveagru­va (at the moun­tain Ispal­len) and Lon­gye­ar­by­en (Ope­raf­jel­let).

New future mines are poli­ti­cal­ly uncer­tain. Peop­le in Lon­gye­ar­by­en are, howe­ver, awa­re that coal mining is still by far the most important sin­gle eco­no­mi­c­al fac­tor to sup­port local jobs and accord­in­gly the popu­la­ti­on of Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Coal-bea­ring lay­ers at Lunck­ef­jel­let. Foto: Mal­te Joch­mann, SNSK.

Lunckefjellet, Spitsbergen

Sources: SNSK Bedrifts­nytt, Sval­bard­pos­ten (09/2014)

By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (1): Spitz­ber­gen – vom Polar­licht bis zur Mit­ter­nachts­son­ne”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!

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last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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