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Home* News and Stories → Coro­na-cri­sis hits local eco­no­my bey­ond tou­rism

Coro­na-cri­sis hits local eco­no­my bey­ond tou­rism

The Coro­na-cri­sis has hit Lon­gye­ar­by­en hard: tou­rism and ser­vice, both major fac­tors for the local eco­no­my, have lar­ge­ly col­lap­sed, lea­ding to a high level of unem­ploy­ment. Many fear losing their live­li­hood.

But also sec­tors out­side tou­rism and ser­vice are affec­ted: accord­ing to Sval­bard­pos­ten, the mining com­pa­ny Store Nor­ske Spits­ber­gen Kul­kom­pa­ni AS has redu­ced the work­for­ce in mine 7 near Lon­gye­ar­by­en by 8 peop­le becau­se the demand for indus­try coal has col­lap­sed on the inter­na­tio­nal mar­ket. The­se workers have alrea­dy moved to Sveagru­va to take part in the lar­ge clean-up that fol­lows the end of coal mining the­re.

Coal mining in Svalbard: hit by the Corona-crisis

Coal mining in Spits­ber­gen is hit by the Coro­na-cri­sis
(archi­ve image, Svea Nord).

Also a major cus­to­mer of Sval­sat (Kong­s­berg Satel­li­te Ser­vices på Sval­bard) has gone bankrupt due to the Coro­na-cri­sis, accord­ing to the web­site Highn­orth­news: the glo­bal com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons com­pa­ny One­web had the plan to pro­vi­de the who­le Arc­tic north of 60 degrees of lati­tu­de with high-speed, satel­li­te-based inter­net. 648 satel­li­tes should have been part of that pro­ject, 74 of which have alrea­dy been lifted up to the orbit sin­ce August last year.

Major ground infra­st­ruc­tu­re in high lati­tu­des is nee­ded to con­trol the satel­li­tes and to trans­fer data both ways, ser­vices that are pro­vi­ded by Sval­sat, a com­pa­ny that runs a lar­ge park of anten­nas on Pla­tå­berg near the air­port in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. One­web hat a major con­tract with Sval­sat. A num­ber of anten­nas dedi­ca­ted to the One­web pro­ject has alrea­dy been built, the­re was men­ti­on of 60 One­web anten­nas in total on Pla­tå­berg.

Svalsat, Spitsbergen: hit by Corona

Sval­sat near Lon­gye­ar­by­en: also hit by the Coro­na-cri­sis.

The future of One­web and of the arc­tic inter­net pro­ject, inclu­ding the lar­ge invest­ments that have alrea­dy been made, is uncer­tain.

Sval­sat has a rela­tively small num­ber of employees, but is its­elf an important cus­to­mer for many other local com­pa­nies. Sval­sat has a num­ber of other important cus­to­mers, inclu­ding lar­ge orga­ni­sa­ti­ons such as ESA and NASA.

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last modification: 2020-04-23 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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