The production halt came after a fire in the local mine in 2008. Sea water was pumped into the mine to extinguish the fire, which subsequently destroyed equipment and required a major overhaul of production.
Production restart was further complicated by low coal prices, NRK reports.
In 2009, Svalbard had a population of 2,753, of which 423 were Russian and Ukrainian, Wikipedia informs. In Barentsburg, mining is the only livelihood, while the neighboring Norwegian settlement of Longyearbyen in addition to mining also has a well-developed tourist industry and a significant presence of polar researchers.