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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Longyearbyen mining history – 11th April 2016

Longyearbyen mining history – 11th April 2016

Longyearbyen has been a coal mining settlement since it was founded by the American John Munro Longyear in 1906. In 1916, Longyear sold the place to the Norwegian Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani which soon called their mining village Longyearbyen. The meaning is the same as the original name, just the language has changed.

Exactly 100 years later, Store Norske is just a shadow of itself. After some good years, it was a narrow escape from bankruptcy. Mining has a lot of history in Longyearbyen, but not much of a future.

We had a good look of some of this history. Taubanesentrale (cablecar main station) is occupying the highest part of Longyearbyen, towering above the village like the town’s landmark. Some years ago, Store Norske planned to move their headquarters in there. Nothing came out of this. Concerts are held there every now and then, maybe it will be a museum in the future.

Mine 3 is already a museum. Has not been one for long, it was closed to visitors in 2009. Last year it was opened for guided excursions again, currently the only chance for tourists to see a mine from the inside. Not below ground, the mine proper still needs to be secured properly. But they want to get this done soon.

Gallery – Longyearbyen mining history – 11th April 2016

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

The large crane, locally known as Titan crane after the manufacturer, was used for shipping coal. Now it is just a reminder of old and quite different times.

last modification: 2016-08-12 · copyright: Rolf Stange