Hard times for Svalbard coal company

The port of shipment for coal from the Lunckefjell mine is located in the Van Mijenfjord on Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago.

Norwegian state-owned coal mining company Store Norske on the Svalbard archipelago is in a serious situation because of low prices on coal. The company is now in dialogue with the State, employees and the bank to secure further operations in 2015.


The price on coal is creating large problems for Store Norske. The prices are now 40 percent lower than when the new coal mine in Lunckefjell was planned. The mine in Lunckefjell opened in Februar 2014.

The price of coal has for the last year been down to almost $71 per ton, while Store Norske need at least ten dollars more per ton to make a profit. There are few signs that this is going to happen, and the company’s board calls the situation ‘serious’, newspaper Svalbardposten writes.

At a meeting on Monday the board decided to enter a dialogue with the owners of Store Norske, the employees and the company’s bankers in order to secure further operations in 2015.

370 of Svalbard’s about 2600 inhabitants work in Store Norske, and a shut-down of the company would have had huge impacts on the local community in Longyearbyen, the largest settlement on the archipelago.