Norway delays closure of its last coal mine –

Norway delays closure of its last coal mine –

The Norwegian coal operator Store Norske has postponed the closure of its last coal mine in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard by two years, until mid-2025. Oslo wants to ensure the supply of European steelmakers.

In a country long opposed to fossil fuels, Store Norske had planned to close this mine in 2023.

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

“Norway must assume its share of responsibility for the security of the supply of raw materials,” he added, referring to the energy crisis caused by the Ukrainian conflict.

A strategic area

Mine 7 produces some 125,000 tons per year and supplies the local electricity plant.

Environmentalists have been calling for years to stop coal mining in this strategic area, citing the consequences of global warming which is weakening already fragile ecosystems in the Arctic islands.

Svalbard is the subject of a treaty signed in 1920 which confers a share of sovereignty on Norway but authorizes all the signatory nations to exploit its natural resources there. Russia thus operates a coal mine in Barentsbourg.


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