Norwegian state-owned mining company Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani (SNSK) plans to close its last coal mine in the Arctic within two years. The end of coal mining would come after 120 years.
The last coal mine in the Arctic in the Svalbard Archipelago is expected to close by the end of 2023. About 80 employees could lose their jobs because of its closure. The state-owned SNSK has already closed several Arctic coal mines in the last 20 years. It left only a smaller mine in operation, which is primarily intended to provide coal supplies for the local power plant and cover part of the exports.
But by the time the last Norwegian-owned Arctic mine ceases operations, its mining capacity will rise from the current 90,000 tons to 125,000 tons per year. Nevertheless, it will still be only a fraction of the original coal production from the SNSK provenance, which amounted to several million tonnes of coal per year.
The population of the Svalbard archipelago will gradually switch to renewable energy supply. It is part of Norway’s strategy to combat climate change, noting that the Arctic is warming much faster than originally expected.