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Store Nor­ske bai­lout

The Nor­we­gi­an coal mining com­pa­ny in Spits­ber­gen, Store Nor­ske Spits­ber­gen Kul­kom­pa­ni (SNSK), has been in dif­fi­cul­ties for a while (see Decem­ber news: Coal mining not pro­fi­ta­ble: Store Nor­ske cuts 100 jobs). The low world mar­ket pri­ces for coal are the main rea­son. The SNSK has alrea­dy cut a lar­ge num­ber of jobs, which is rea­son for ner­vous­ness in a place as small as Lon­gye­ar­by­en, which may suf­fer stron­gly from a signi­fi­cant loss of jobs, both eco­no­mi­c­al­ly and social­ly.

Hence, a decisi­on by the Nor­we­gi­an government comes as a reli­ef for many in Lon­gye­ar­by­en: As minis­ter of eco­no­mic affairs Moni­ca Mæland announ­ced during a press con­fe­rence, SNSK will get a credit of 500 mil­li­on Nor­we­gi­an kro­ner (about 60 mil­li­on Euro). The com­pa­ny had asked for 450 mil­li­on NOK, less than it will actual­ly get now.

Mæland made it clear that the credit does not come without some con­di­ti­ons: it is not to be taken as a gua­ran­tee for the long-term exis­tence of coal mining in Spits­ber­gen. Future government poli­tics in Sval­bard, which set the frame­work for the deve­lo­p­ment, are to be defi­ned in a government poli­cy state­ment (“Sval­bard­mel­ding”), which comes every 5-10 years. The next Sval­bard­mel­ding is cur­r­ent­ly under pre­pa­ra­ti­on in the minis­try of jus­ti­ce. The cur­rent credit still needs appro­val from the Stor­ting (Nor­we­gi­an par­lia­ment). And the land pro­per­ty of the SNSK, which is an important local land owner, is to be trans­fer­red to the government. This shall streng­t­hen Nor­we­gi­an sov­er­eig­n­ty and is likely to be more of a sym­bo­lic cha­rac­ter, rather than having major prac­ti­cal con­se­quen­ces.

The credit for SNSK has led to com­mon reli­ef in Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Coal mining in Spits­ber­gen: an indus­try with future or only with a lot of histo­ry?

coal mining, Spitsbergen

Source: NRK

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: 2015-05-12 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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