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Svalbard coalmine halts production

Svea mine is now closed down. The nearby Lunckefjell mine has a highly uncertain future.

The world’s northernmost mining company lays off up to 150 at its Lunckefjell coalmine in Svea.

The board of directors in Store Norske decided Thursday evening to halt production at Lunckefjell mine at Svea for a period of up to three years.

Only maintains work will be carried out in the period, reports NRK.

The mine in Lunckefjell opened in February 2014, but the company’s economical situation has worsened significantly due to tumbling coal prices on the world market. Lunckefjell mine is located near the older Svea mine in the inmost part of Van Mijenfjord, south of Longyearbyen. A road over a glacier is built for transporting the coal from the underground mine to the harbor by the fjord.

Production will, however, continue at Gruve 7 (Mine 7) near Longyearbyen, the main settlement on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago.

Store Norske is state own. 

Coal mining on Svalbard is a controversial issue. Environmental groups claim Norway’s coal mining in times of climate changes is a paradox and want to see an end to such activities. Burning of coal is a major source for greenhouse gas. Coal mining is, however, considered important in order to maintain Norway’s settlement policy on the Arctic archipelago.