Repairs ordered for seed vault entrance

Climate change has been creating challenges for the area leading into the world’s so-called “doomsday vault” for seed storage on Svalbard. Now the Norwegian agency in charge of state property and maintenance plans to renovate the vault’s entrance, after warmer temperatures have weakened the permafrost around it. State and local officials on Svalbard, the Arctic […]

End of an era on Norway’s Svalbard

The Arctic territory of Svalbard has long been administered by Norway, with coal mining as it major source of income. Now Norway’s government has formally decided against bailing out the Svalbard coal mining operations it owns once again, marking the end of one era and, hope most involved, the beginning of another that will continue […]

Helicopter wreckage set to be retrieved

A remote-controlled submarine sent to Svalbard by the Norwegian military has located the wreckage of a Russian helicopter that crashed into the sea off Barentsburg in the Arctic island group last week. All eight on board the helicopter are presumed dead. Around 40 Russian search and rescue experts including 17 divers arrived in Barentsburg on […]

Search widened for missing helicopter

UPDATED: The search continued on Friday for a Russian MI-8 helicopter with eight people on board that crashed into the sea just off Svalbard’s Russian mining settlement of Barentsburg late Thursday afternoon. Norwegian authorities mounted a major search and rescue operation, but it’s believed the helicopter sank to the seafloor. The search was expanded Friday […]

Norway strikes new climate pact, with NASA

Last week Norway signed a climate pact with the state of California, to help it electrify driving. Now Norway has signed a new deal with the US’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to strengthen monitoring of climate change in the Arctic. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Tuesday that NASA and Norwegian mapping agency Kartverket will […]

Svalbard coal firm needs new bailout

Store Norske, the coal company that once dominated economic activity on Norway’s Arctic island group of Svalbard, claims that it’s once again teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. It’s seeking another major bailout from its owner, the Norwegian state. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that Store Norske Spitsbergen Grubekompani, a wholly owned coal mining subsidiary of Store Norske […]

Svalbard tackles ‘housing crisis’

Bulldozers rumbled onto the sites of abandoned housing in Norway’s Arctic city of Longyearbyen on Svalbard over the weekend. The homes were badly damaged in the latest avalanches to hit Longyearbyen last winter, adding to a housing shortage that some call a “crisis” in the booming outpost. “We have torn down six flats so far,” Frank […]

Celebrations warm the Svalbard chill

PHOTO FEATURE: While Norway’s royal family waved as usual to the 17th of May parade in Oslo, hardy residents of Norway’s main settlement on Svalbard braved the Artic chill and an uncertain economic future with a unique parade of their own. It included almost the entire town, neighbouring Russians from Barentsburg and visitors from around the world, in quite […]

Norway celebrates from north to south

LONGYEARBYEN: Flags were raised and events officially kicked off at 8am all over the country on Wednesday as Norwegians launched into their Constitution Day celebrations on the 17th of May. The holiday is known for its unabashed displays of patriotism, highlighted by children, flags, tradition and memorials to fallen heroes. Here in Norway’s most northern community on Svalbard, flags […]

Sounds from the 17th on Svalbard

VIDEO FEATURE: This was one of many busy brass bands in Norway on the 17th of May. Svalbard’s Longyearbyen Storband, all dressed in hardhats and working clothes from the state-owned coal company Store Norske, were out early for a wreath-laying at the town’s monument to miners, then marched in the parade and played at another tribute to […]