A small company’s plans to slice ice out of an arm of a Norwegian glacier has won support from a planning commission in Meløy. It voted unanimously on Thursday to move forward with plans to start up exclusive ice cube production, but any actual production is still a long way off.
The ice cube project has stirred debate in Norway and internationally (external link) for several years. Svaice AS, the firm formed to carry out the project, envisions sawing ice from part of the Svartisen glacier for sale as exclusive ice cubes to affluent customers abroad.
Municipal officials are encouraged by the roughly 50 jobs the project could create, while county officials have opposed the project. Environmental advocates are firmly opposed, while local tourism officials object to the helicopter traffic that would be needed to move workers and equipment to the remote site of the prospective ice mining. Svaice officials stress that the site is outside both the protected Svartisen National Park and the areas frequented by tourists.
The project will now be subject to negotiations with Nordland County officials and, ultimately, the state Climate and Environment Ministry. Since the municipality also is considering a new regulation plan for the entire mountain area around Svartisen, and municipal elections loom this fall, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported there can be no ice cube production until a plan is in place. That’s not expected until sometime between 2020 and 2025, if at all.