Population boom at Svalbard?


Politicians on Svalbard believe that the Arctic archipelago will have a population increase of 10 to 20 percent over the next five to ten years.


Leader of the local board in Longyearbyen at Svalbard, Kjell Mork, says to NRK that far more people will move to Svalbard over the next years. Both the university at Svalbard and tourism industry will expand. In addition there are plans to open a new coal mine, which will ensure further production at the mining company, Store Norske Kullkompani. Almost half of all living at Svalbard work in the mine company or in related industries. The local politicians at Svalbard are working on a new area development plan for Longyearbyen, which will decide the extent and direction of Svalbards growth over the next years. General Secretary of the environmental organisation WWF, Rasmus Hansson, is very critical to continued coal mining at Svalbard. In Hanssons opinion this production is in total conflict with the Governments environment efforts.