Restoring Svalbard to its natural state
More than 100 years of mining history are currently being removed in Svalbard.
The Svea and Lunckefjell environmental project is intended to remove all traces of human activity in the Svea and Lunckefjell areas in Svalbard. Buildings and infrastructure are being removed, including roads, tank farm, power station and an airfield. When the area is cleared, the glaciers and mountainsides should appear as unaffected as possible.
NOK 70 million
Tonnes of steel will be removed
The history of the Svea mining community goes way back in time. First out were the Swedes, in the form of the Spetsbergens Svenska kolfält company in 1917. The area had large coal reserves, and in the first year about 70 Swedish workers were in full swing. In the 1930s, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani took over operations, and it was the start of the Norwegian industrial adventure in Svalbard.
Until 2016, there were full operations in the Svea North mine, and tens of millions of tonnes of coal had been extracted. The potential was even greater, and a brand new mine at Lunckefjell was ready to be used. But even before production got started properly, operations were was closed down. In 2017, the Storting decided to close the mines in Svea and Lunckefjell due to low coal prices. At its peak, there were more than 300 people in Svea at any given time. Now both the jobs and the mining community were to be shut down.
More than 100 years of mining history are currently being removed in Svalbard. Cultural heritage, polluted ground and vulnerable nature are the ingredients of the largest nature restoration project ever carried out in Norway.
The clean-up job in Svea will extend over four years through several contracts. So far, the mines at Lunckefjell and Svea Nord have been sealed and locked forever.
When the project is completed, only three protected buildings and artefacts from before the Second World War will be left behind. The rest will be removed, including barrack buildings, workshop halls, the harbour, the airfield and all roads. The price tag is NOK 2.2 billion.
In total, AF Decom will remove 2,000 tonnes of wood, 400 tonnes of combustible waste, 7,000-8,000 tonnes of steel and large quantities of concrete and send everything for recycling when the ice opens through its construction.