In 2013 there were two fatal accidents in the mine. In April a Ukrainian worker died after being hit by a falling stone block. In June another worker from Ukraine was killed in a rock fall. In September a worker had to amputate a leg after an accident.
After the last accident the mine was closed and Trust Arktikugol had to pay a NOK 1.3 million (€155,400) fine for violations of the Norwegian Working Environment Act.
The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority has decided that the mine now can start production again. It was the general lack of safety that made the authorities demand the mine to be shut, but since then the Russian company has followed orders from Norwegian authorities, and the situation is changing to the better.
“They are changing the course to get a safer working environment – that is at least the impression we have”, Johan Furebotten from the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority says to NRK. He believes that the changes that have been made, will lead to a decrease in the number of accidents in barentsburg.
The coal mine in Barentsburg was reopened in 2010 after two and a half year break following a fire in 2008, as BarentsObserver reported.
The company is closing down its biggest mine in the Kola Peninsula following plummeting raw material prices. Consequences will be dramatic for Zapolyarny, the industrial town located along the border to Norway.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
“This sends a clear message to Russia that things aren’t so good when it comes to basic journalistic values in Norway either” The firing of BarentsObserver’s Editor Thomas Nilsen has led to massive reactions from journalists and other protectors of press freedom.