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Barentsburg: old mine

360 degree panorama

Ent­ran­ce to an old mine in Bar­ents­burg. Com­pa­ri­sons with old pho­tos show that this was pro­bab­ly the loca­ti­on of the very first coal mine in Bar­ents­burg!

Several smal­ler, most­ly Nor­we­gi­an com­pa­nies clai­med pro­per­ties in Grønfjord, known as Green Har­bour, in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry. Geo­lo­gi­cal inves­ti­ga­ti­ons were made and a hut was built here and the­re to add some strength to the claim, but nobo­dy made it to the sta­ge of actu­al mining until the Dut­ch Neder­land­se Spits­ber­gen Com­pa­gnie (Nespi­co) bought the pro­per­ty on the east side of Green Har­bour and built a small mining sett­le­ment which they soon cal­led Bar­ents­burg, after Wil­lem Bar­entsz who dis­co­ve­r­ed Spits­ber­gen in 1596. The first mine from that peri­od (Nespi­co, not Bar­entsz) was most likely exact­ly in this posi­ti­on, on the south side of Glad­da­len, just a few metres behind today’s buil­dings.

The mine ent­ran­ce that we can see here today is cer­tain­ly not from the Dut­ch peri­od in the 1920s, but from a youn­ger date.

Nespi­co came into finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties alrea­dy after a few years and stop­ped mining in 1926. In 1932, the pro­per­ty was taken over by the Rus­si­an Trust Ark­ti­ku­gol who still own and run Bar­ents­burg today.

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last modification: 2020-01-17 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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