International news within the industry of mining and metal, Dec, 17 2018
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Artic life after coal mining

Abandoned aerial tramway previously used for transporting coal. Photo: Wikimedia, credit: Marius Fiskum
Abandoned aerial tramway previously used for transporting coal. Photo: Wikimedia, credit: Marius Fiskum
Published by
Markku Björkman - 16 Sep 2018

In Svalbard, humans and animals try to adapt to climate change. The city of Longyearbyen adapts to a life after coal mining. The industry has ruled society over the past 100 years. "It was a company town," says former mining worker Håvar Ferdingøy, to the Finnish daily, Hufvudstadsbladet.

Longyearbyen, with over 2,000 inhabitants, could be like any small community in northern Norway. Small colourful houses and townhouses, the main street lined with shops and restaurants, a local newspaper, a cultural centre... All this surrounded by staggering beautiful mountain peaks and a deep fjord.

But the city also has a swimming pool, a school with 270 students, two daycare centres, a hospital ready to carry out operations around the clock and an airport of up to four departures per day. In other words, an infrastructure that most other Nordic small towns can only dream of.

The main reasons are the geographical situation and the Svalbard Treaty. To the nearest Norwegian city on the mainland, Tromsø, it is 960 kilometres. When an accident occurs, you have to manage yourself. The Svalbard Treaty is an international agreement that gave the eye group to Norway in 1920.

The agreement still affects today's life in Svalbard. Norway wants to maintain a "stable and robust Norwegian family-friendly society" in Longyearbyen to secure the Norwegian presence in the Arctic.

Earlier, until just a few years ago, the mining operation stood for stability. Since 1916, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompaniet has started the economy, not rarely with the support of the owner, the Norwegian state, according to HBL.

Today, only one mine is in operation, Mine 7, but traces of mining are visible everywhere in the small town. Along the mountainsides, the cable car runs as previously transported coal from the mines down to the harbour. On the slopes, old plateau buildings cling to tall piles, it is the entrance to the oldest mines, today protected cultural monuments.

One of the abandoned mines, Mine 3, has been opened to visitors. The mine was in operation between 1971 and 1996, but inside the mine, it seems that the business has just stopped, writes HBL.

Source: HBL