Norway’s state-owned coal company has extended production at its last coal mine in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago by two years to help meet industrial demand, reported Reuters.
The decision reverses a plan announced in September 2021 to close Mine 7 next year as Svalbard’s main settlement moves to a permanent renewable energy source. Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani (SNSK) said it will now keep the mine in operation until mid-2025, producing around 125,000 tonnes per year.
“There is war and significant uncertainty regarding access to critically important raw materials, including for Europe’s steel production on which we also depend,” Norwegian Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre said in a statement.
“Norway must take its part of the responsibility for the security of supply of commodities.”
Located around 700 kilometers north of the European mainland, Svalbard is governed under a 1920 treaty giving Norway sovereignty but also allowing all nations signing it to do business there and to use its natural resources.