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Home* News and Stories → Drastic downs­ca­ling of coal mining indus­try

Drastic downs­ca­ling of coal mining indus­try

The low coal pri­ces on the world mar­ket make life even more dif­fi­cult than expec­ted for the Nor­we­gi­an mining com­pa­ny Store Nor­ske Spits­ber­gen Kul­kom­pa­ni (SNSK). Alrea­dy in spring, the Nor­we­gi­an government, which is owning almost all shares, had to help the SNSK out of trou­ble with a loan. Due to the dra­ma­tic situa­ti­on, the manage­ment has deci­ded to take some drastic steps:

  • The pro­duc­tion in the mines at Sveagru­va (Svea Nord and the new mine in Lunck­ef­jel­let) will be stop­ped. A mini­mum crew of about 50 miners will ensu­re main­tai­nan­ce to keep the opti­on of future pro­duc­tion avail­ab­le.
  • If the coal pri­ces do not reco­ver until 2019, the mines at Sveagru­va will be clo­sed.
  • The pro­duc­tion in the smal­ler mine 7 near Lon­gye­ar­by­en will be incre­a­sed. 45 miners (until now 24) are sup­po­sed to pro­du­ce 155,000 tons per year (cur­r­ent­ly 70,000) .
  • Fur­ther occur­ren­ces near mine 7 will be pre­pa­red for mining to ensu­re a pro­duc­tion peri­od of at least 10 years.
  • The admi­nis­tra­ti­on will be down­si­zed.

The main­tai­nan­ce mode in Sveagru­va will requi­re an annu­al bud­get of 95 mil­li­on Nor­we­gi­an Kro­ner, which will have to come from the owner (the gover­ment), accord­ing to the plans of the manage­ment. Nego­tia­ti­ons with the government are star­ted immedia­te­ly.

Altog­e­ther, the num­ber of jobs in Lon­gye­ar­by­en and Sveagru­va will be decre­a­sed by 150. Tog­e­ther with tho­se jobs alrea­dy lost recent­ly, the num­ber of employees is down­si­zed by 150 wit­hin 18 mon­ths.

Many peop­le in Lon­gye­ar­by­en are worried now about the future. A lot of jobs in many com­pa­nies still depend on mining, and the fear is the­re that a mas­si­ve downs­ca­ling of the coal indus­try and rela­ted eco­no­my would have a major nega­ti­ve impact on the local eco­no­my and socie­ty. The poli­ti­cal deba­te about the future eco­no­mi­c­al struc­tu­re of Lon­gye­ar­by­en has star­ted. One of the mea­su­res to fight the eco­no­mi­c­al pro­blems is the envi­sa­ged incre­a­se of the har­bour faci­li­ties.

Facing a dark future: miner in Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

miner in Longyearbyen

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten (36/2015)

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last modification: 2015-10-13 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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