Norway delays closure of last coal mine – rts.ch

Norwegian coal operator Stor Norske has postponed the closure of its last coal mine on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard by two years, until mid-2025. Oslo wants to ensure supply of European steel producers.

In a country long opposed to fossil fuels, Stor Norske had planned to close the mine by 2023.

“There is a war and great uncertainty in access to key raw materials, especially in Europe which we depend on for steel production,” said Norwegian Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre.

“Norway must take responsibility for the security of supply of raw materials,” he said, referring to the energy crisis caused by the Ukrainian conflict.

A strategic area

Mine 7 produces about 125,000 tonnes per annum and supplies a local power plant.

Environmentalists have been calling for an end to coal mining in this strategic area for years, citing the effects of global warming, which weakens already fragile ecosystems on the Arctic islands.

Svalbard is the subject of a treaty signed in 1920 that gives Norway a share of sovereignty but authorizes all signatory countries to exploit its natural resources. Thus Russia operates a coal mine in Barandsburg.

Reuters/GMA

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