- We appreciate that our owner says we also can calculate potential profits from selling Svea coal, however, this is nevertheless still the end of the coalmining era on Svalbard.
Jan Morten Ertsaas, Managing Director of Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani (SNSK, the Svalbard coalmining company) takes note of yesterday’s message from State Secretary Daniel Bjarmann-Simonsen at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.
Bjarmann-Simonsen said the government will consider whether a potential selling of coal from the Svea mine can contribute to financing the cleanup after coalmining activities on Svalbard.
"If it proves cost effective" – in the words of Bjarmann-Simonsen.
Cleanup is our mandate
- We are working on the project and cleanup is our mandate and our task, says Managing Director Ertsaas.
- A large portion of the costs is keeping up infrastructure throughout the cleanup phase and if selling coal improves the bottom line, then that is something we will consider.
However, the SNSK Director emphasizes: - If we are to recommend it (extraction and sale of new coal from Svea, journ.note) as a part of the cleanup process, the upside should be rather significant.
It is nevertheless the end of coal
- Resuming extraction will also carry immediate costs?
- Yes, it will, even though it will only happen during a limited period of time. It will require both working capital and startup capital, which we currently do not have. However, like I said, we have not finished calculating these estimates yet, Ertsaas points out.
He is also clear that whatever the outcome of the estimate calculations, regular mining in Svea and Lunkefjell mines is over.
- If new extraction is to be viable, the upside needs to be rather significant, as previously stated. And it will only be for a limited period of time. However, it is good that we now have the opportunity to make those calculations, says Jan Morten Ertsaas of SNSK.
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- This is obviously a good idea, says Geir Pollestad of the Centre Party in a comment about using new coal from the Svea mine to pay the bill for cleaning up after mining activities on Svalbard. Pollestad is also Chair of the Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Trade and Industry.
- As the only party, the Centre Party voted against the decision to shut down the mines. Every day since has proven that we were right. The decision (to liquidate mining, journ. note) was made based on fallible foundations and without the alternatives being sufficiently explored. The explosive cost frame for cleaning up confirms the meaninglessness of the government’s behavior in this case, Pollestad says in a comment to High North News.
- We have argued for years that any decision to liquidate must be an informed political decision based on a thorough exploration of alternatives, not a moment’s panic over fluctuations in the world’s coal market prices.
We will follow up on this issue, says Geir Pollestad.